Is Zero Waste Grocery Shopping a Reality?
The world is rapidly changing due to human activity, and that is evident in the climate changes that have led to unusual weather across the globe over the past few years. This has led to a conscious call on better environmental conservation efforts and reduced carbon emissions. At the individual level, concepts such as zero-waste grocery shopping will likely become a popular trend.
What is zero waste grocery shopping?
This is probably the first time you have come across the concept. Before diving into the meaning, it is first important to understand why the concept exists. Plastic waste is currently one of the major problems that many countries experience. Plastic has been one of the major pollutants of our oceans. In this era of changing global climate, it is important to solve these issues as early as possible.
To combat the issue of plastic waste, one would have to reduce the use of plastics such as bottles and plastic paper bags. Zero waste grocery shopping refers to shopping practices that aim to reduce the negative environmental impacts that result from the consumer habits of humans. For example, Plastic paper bags have traditionally been a part of the shopping experience. However, zero waste shopping aims to eliminate or reduce the use of such bags, thus contributing to a cleaner environment.
Every visit to the grocery store often involves a lot of plastic which is used for packaging the purchased products. Chances are that every visit to the grocery store is the same. New plastic papers are used, and that is their only purpose at that particular shopping trip. After that, they are usually discarded.
Think about the number of people that make such trips to the grocery store every other day! It means that there are a lot of plastic paper bags discarded as trash. Zero waste grocery shopping exists to try and reduce the use of plastic paper bags and other types of plastics that are easily discarded as trash.
Do zero-waste grocery shopping stores exist, and who are they for?
There has been a notable increase in the number of stores that are embracing the zero waste grocery shopping approach. They are also bound to continue increasing as the push for environmental conservation practices intensifies. Such stores already exist in some major markets, including the U.S.
Singapore is also one of the countries that have seen rise of zero waste grocery stores; examples Scoop Wholefoods and Unpackt, major grocery stores in the country. The approach used by these eco-friendly stores involves packaging products in clear bins rather than using plastic paper bags. Fortunately, the food prices are not so different from the regular supermarkets or grocery stores, meaning that they are just as accessible as their regular counterparts.
Below is a comparison of the prices offered by Unpackt, The Source, and Scoop. Pricing is based on 100 grams or 100 ml of the indicated product.
Zero waste grocery stores might be the future of the retail space as more countries join the push towards a cleaner environment. More grocery and retail stores will likely adopt similar measures in the future, especially when plastic paper bags become outlawed. Many might even go down the road to boost their appeal to customers; brands that are conscious about the preservation of environment.
How to do zero waste grocery shopping
It takes two to tangle, and in this case, zero-waste grocery shopping is something that both the stores and the consumers should plan for. What this means is that you as a consumer have to undertake various steps to align with the measures taken by the stores.
- Make your purchases in bulk– You should consider purchasing products at a zero-waste grocery store in bulk to maximize your convenience. For example, you can purchase, flour, nuts, sugar, beans, or grains that can last you an entire month before you need to shop again. The idea here is to utilize the bulk bins made available at such stores fully. Most of the stores that do the zero waste concept also happen to deal with bulk sales.
Zero waste grocery shopping is also designed to allow shoppers to purchase just the right amount of products that they need. This means that you can control the amount you buy to the exact amount you need for a specific duration of time. Avoid buying too much to avoid wastage as a result of products going bad.
- Carry your own containers– The point of zero waste grocery shopping is to reduce the use of disposable plastics drastically. The plastics used in pre-packaged products are often thrown away, or even burned, thus contributing to environmental pollution. You should consider having your reusable containers which you can use every time you visit the grocery store. This will allow you to cut down the use of disposable plastics.
Also, consider having your containers weighed so that the grocery store attendants adjust for the right measure of the products that you are paying for. You can consider using glass or metal containers for products or even cloth bags for things like fruits.
- Expand your habit beyond zero-waste grocery stores– Once you get used to zero waste grocery shopping at zero waste stores, why not consider expanding that habit to other areas. Example, you can consider having a cloth back in your pocket, handbag, or backpack in case you find yourself near a shop and wish to purchase some things. That way you can put the products you purchase in that cloth bag.
The farmers’ market is also an excellent place to extend the zero waste shopping habit. This way, you get to hit two birds with one stone by shopping without the use of disposable plastics while also supporting the local farmers. Your efforts compounded with those of others like you will surely go a long way in helping to reduce environmental pollution.