Depending on where you live, package-free shopping is either your new grocery standard or a completely foreign idea. If you’re in a bigger city, we bet that a quick Google search will take you to the closest package-free store! But if there’s nothing like that around you, zero waste shopping might be trickier, but don’t worry; it’s not impossible!
When it comes to reducing your packaging waste in grocery stores, it’s important to keep in mind that you won’t always be perfect, and that’s okay! Sometimes, it’s out of your control, and all you can do is reduce rather than eliminate all packaging. That being said, here’s our guide to package-free shopping and all the tips you need for a stress-free experience!
What’s Considered Package-Free?
Since consumers have become increasingly aware of the damage that plastic has on our environment, there’s been a higher demand for plastic-free and package-free items. In fact, most cities have either already implemented local package-free grocery stores or are in the process of doing so, simply because consumers are making an effort to cut down on their own waste.
If you’re not familiar with the concept of package-free shopping, it’s essentially a grocery store that offers refill centers for everything you buy on a weekly basis, or they offer an alternative packaging to plastic. Alternative packaging can be recycled, biodegradable, or reusable to protect the food from exposure yet eliminating the need for plastic waste.
Bring Your Bottles, Bags, and Containers
If you have a completely package-free shop near you, then all you need to do is bring your own bottles, containers, and bags to refill your grocery essentials! If that’s not an option, you can either order your groceries from packaged free online shops or find a local grocery store with a bulk section. Online stores like Thrive Market and Tare Grocery offer delivery services, dropping off everything you need for the week in zero-waste packaging!
If your grocery store has a bulk section, refill as many goods as you can to reduce the amount of packaged items you’ll need. For produce, bring your own reusable produce bags so that you don’t need to use any plastic.
Find a Local Farmers Market
Another option for package-free grocery shopping is to find a local farmers market! A farmers market is usually the most eco-friendly way to grocery shop since most items are unpackaged or in glass containers. Beyond that, it’s a great way to shop local and support community farmers!
Weigh Your Containers Beforehand
If you’re bringing your own jars, make sure to tare them before heading to the checkout counter. To tare your jars, weigh each one on a kitchen scale and write down the weight of the jar when it’s empty. This step is important so that when you’re ready to pay for your food, the cashier knows how much weight to subtract from each jar.
Choose Cardboard or Glass
If there’s an item you need, but you don’t see a refill station, or it’s not available at a farmers market, make sure to choose the option that comes in cardboard, glass, or any recyclable material if it’s available. Anytime you can avoid purchasing items wrapped in plastic, you’re making a positive impact on the environment and progress on your zero waste journey!