Green Shopping 101

Green Shopping – Common Sense

Green ShoppingGreen Shopping is only using common sense to better health for your family. Using common sense is a must if you want to lead a green lifestyle. Always keep in mind to go green shopping for grocery your groceries as well as any other shopping you need to do. If you combine shopping for clothes and other item, then do your grocery shopping you save time and money by making only one trip into town instead of several trips. Here are some tips and suggestions for making your supermarket experience as green as possible.

Green Shopping – Use Cloth bags

Most grocery stores sell these for a low price. If not, simply use your own cloth totes or re-use those brown paper shopping bags with handles. You can even make your own shopping bag from old clothes, blankets, or other materials. Using your own totes reduces the use of plastic grocery bags, which endanger sea life when dumped in oceans and do not biodegrade in landfills.

Green Shopping – Choose your grocery store wisely

Look for a grocery store that sells local produce, or, if possible, shop at a locally owned grocery. Food that is grown locally does not require a lot of gasoline or jet fuel to get from the farm across the globe to your store. Check with the policies of your grocery store regarding recycling as well. Do they have a recycling bin for customers to put their used plastic bags in?

Green Shopping means you should choose stores that sell organic produce, too. Organically grown produce is far better for the environment, as it does not involve the use of dangerous agrochemicals. Organic grown produce can be better for you because there are no harmful chemicals that are going into your body. My wife and I buy our produce at a local farm here in Virginia, only 4 miles away. We have also checked out a new local produce store near our soon to be retirement home in Arkansas that is really within walking distance.

Green Shopping – Only pay for what’s necessary

This is an important aspect in green shopping, and it is one of the most neglected. We often pay for unnecessary things without thinking, but everything from packaging to preservatives are not necessary for a healthy diet and can generate a lot of waste when packaging is thrown away. Here are some things to keep in mind when trying to make your dollar go as far as possible and reduce waste.

-Buy in bulk. Bulk foods sold in bins do not have packaging, so you are paying for the food only. Bulk buying can also include large containers of canned goods or cereal that can be divided up into individual serving containers at home (re-usable containers of course). Not buying individualized portions reduces your consumption of packaging materials such as plastic, metal and paper.

-Whole foods are foods in their most basic form, with no additives or unwanted ingredients to deal with. When you buy whole foods, you are not paying for the preparation and packaging. Whole foods are also best if you plan to do canning, drying food or vacuum packaging.

-Read labels – don’t pay for ingredients you don’t need or that are bad for the environment.

Green Shopping – Plan your meals and make a list

Meal planning can reduce your waste quite a bit. My mother also shopped with a list when we were growing up. I found out that she was still making a shopping list covering each meal when I was taking care of mom and dad before they passed away. When you plan meals, make a list according to what you’ll need for those meals and nothing more. This prevents impulsive spending and over-buying, and generates less waste than simply buying whatever looks good.

Green Shopping – Sales and stocking up

Although sticking to your list has many advantages, keep an eye out for sales and stock up when you can. While you are shopping for your meals you have planned for the week, you can do a bit of the reverse – plan your next week’s meals based on what was on sale! The more you can buy in one trip, the less gas you will use making multiple trips to the grocery store.

My wife and I don’t particularly like to go grocery shopping, so we shop for several weeks using sales and coupons to sometime buying many items with longer shelf life. It is alway good to have a full pantry in case of emergencies.

Whether you are just getting started with your green shopping commitment or are looking for ways to improve your green lifestyle, keeping the above tips in mind should help.

Jay Mueller | JayLynne Enterprises

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