A different way of grocery shopping is an important step in the journey towards less waste. This is how I started (apart from recycling).
In the first article of the Less Waste series I mentioned figuring out how to make this new lifestyle work, and I still am.
In this article you’ll come shopping with me (exciting, isn’t it?).
The picture above shows what I’ve purchased, I’ll run you through it clockwise starting with the rectangular little box on the upper left (rosa mosqueta). This is a skin cleansing cream in a plastic tube and cardboard packaging. My previous cleansing cream came in an aluminum tube but it contains alcohol, which I was advised not to use due to my skin’s tendency to break out. The other products in the store that were alcohol free also came in plastic wrapping, so it looks like I have to research this a bit better.
2. peanut butter in a glass jar (if or when I ever make nut butter you’ll be notified)
3. scouring sponges. I previously used fully synthetic sponges that were wrapped in plastic, because they cost very little. However, the scouring sponges in the picture are a better ecological choice, and they don’t cost that much. The sponge is natural, and the scouring pad is made from recycled material.
4. bread in a re-used paper bag + a panda licorice bar, wrapped in plastic (my little sin)
5. medjool dates in a re-used paper bag. In organic stores and on markets you can often buy these without pre-packaging. They taste awesome by the way…
6. rice ‘milk’ in a pmd package . It is possible to make your own plant based ‘milk’ – I’ll share more of this in a next article – but you have to prep a day ahead and it doesn’t stay fresh more than 3 days.
In the middle: hummus (humous) in a plastic container.
Conclusion: Although there is still room for improvement there are some simple steps I could integrate right away into my trips to the supermarket: re-use paper bags for bread and for items you can buy in bulk (e.g. dates). You can also use glass jars for some products. The items I bought with plastic wrapping either didn’t come in a package that’s recyclable and I didn’t look for an alternative online (face cream). Plastic package for the hummus could have been avoided by making it at home, I realize the importance of meal prepping now.
Thirdly: candy bars. When watching Youtube or documentaries about Zero Waste I noticed that people who live this way avoid plastic wrapped candy bars. I’m not quite willing to avoid them completely (when I want panda licorice few things can change my mind) due to, well…stubbornness. One way to compensate this is by going to the store by bicycle.
The cost: the items in the picture were purchased in the local organic shop, mainly because they sell several items in bulk. I usually buy most groceries in a regular local shop because I want to watch my budget. So at the moment Less Waste is more expensive for me than ‘regular shopping’. I could for instance visit the market more often, or go to smaller shops where items aren’t always pre-packaged (a cheese shop for instance) but weekly shopping at different places doesn’t fit into my schedule at the moment. However, I’m going to keep trying and keep you posted!
Next month: Less Waste recipes/trial&error in the kitchen