Go green by being a picky eater. Each stage of the process, from growing the food to processing, packaging, transporting it to the store and even getting it home has several alternatives, some of which are much greener than others. There are several things households can do to make their grocery strategies greener.
Growing fruits and vegetables at home is one of the most effective ways to go green with groceries. Even a small garden can produce a lot of food. In areas of the country with longer growing seasons, planting several rounds of crops in the same space can produce even more. Not only does gardening cut grocery costs, but it also reduces the number of grocery store trips needed, which results in less pollution. As a bonus, using organic gardening methods reduces environmental harm from pesticides.
Rather than purchasing bottled water, households can get water of a very similar quality with a water filter installed in the refrigerator. Having a filter means fresh water without the plastic bottle waste. Even when recycling plastic bottles, this still requires transportation and processing that’s easy to avoid by having a replaceable water filter. Enjoy clean and pure water without environmental waste or expense.
Most stores sell reusable shopping bags near the checkout counter for just a dollar or two, which can have a huge impact over time. In some cases, they even pay for themselves through use at stores that offer nominal cash incentives to bring the bags on the next trip. Reusable bags are bigger and stronger than their plastic counterparts, allowing people to carry more groceries in each trip. They also prevent plastic bags that don’t get recycled from clogging up landfills. Taking reusable bags back out to the car soon after each use ensures they’re accessible whenever a shopping trip comes up.
Rather than shopping at big supermarkets, shoppers can go to a wide range of local farmers’ markets, which are often open from early spring to mid-fall. Buying local food means it hasn’t traveled as far, is likely fresher and tastes better. Many sellers at farmers’ markets have organic produce, which also reduces pesticide use, as well as natural health-and-beauty products and specialty items like candles.
The more food in the fridge and freezer, the less energy it takes to maintain the appliance’s temperature. Many households like to buy seasonal food in bulk and freeze it for the winter. When doing this, remember a full freezer is much more energy-efficient than one that’s nearly empty. Freezing big containers of water can help fill space during seasons when there’s not as much food to store.
Transitioning from a kitchen full of processed, packaged and store-bought foods to one that contains more organic and homegrown foods takes time, but most households find it’s worth the effort. Even implementing one or two of the strategies on a small scale can make a difference for the environment. Over time, the effects of less plastic waste, fewer pesticides and reduced transportation from farm to table has significant results.
Free images from FreeDigitalPhotos.net