The first step to not feeling weird about bringing your own bags to the grocery store is, simply not to use them. There, I said it. You can start by looking out for the big bulky items that don’t need one: butternut, bunch of spinach, pumpkin, cabbage, pineapple, watermelon (whole), lettuce and sometimes cucumber. Just see what there is. I bought a sweet melon for the first time one day – it was package-free and cheap, so I got it. Now you are buying it whole hey – not cut up in plastic! Yes. Get intimate with your fruit and veg.
Get a good compost going that will rejuvenate your garden – win win! It only takes an extra 5-10 minutes to cut and prepare. I really believe that we worry so much about saving time at the cost of saving our planet! It’s our responsibility to manage our time better. We live in such a rushed world, leaving no time to enjoy the moments we are in. Get the kids involved
– With a knife like my middle child Claire is using, the green plastic one, and they can do some easy chopping, and then put the scraps in the compost you have just started!
Step 2 of getting into the habit of using your own bags for groceries is to keep it all in your car! Then when you have an impromptu stop you are prepared. I’d suggest maybe starting with buying bananas and bread, along with the bulky items again. Go to your nearest Food Lovers – that’s the easiest way – I felt a little awkward at first, but knowing that they are a little bit used to it I felt ok. Fill a drawstring bag with each and when you get home you will feel the joy of not throwing bags in the bin, I promise. Then instead of dumping bags in the bin you dump them in bag to put back in the car and hang it by the door or on floor so you have trip over it! Oh – Don’t forget to take a shopping bag with you – to put all your items in.
- On your next trip buy the bananas, bread and bulky items again and then add something like tomatoes or another item you buy a lot.
- Try not to buy anything in plastic for these three steps – so that you can feel the joy of no waste on a shopping trip. Throwing nothing away!
Next up – head for the nuts and sweet (although I put blinkers on for the sweets, dried fruit will do) dispensers! Stand and look at it all – tap your fingertips at the nice selection and see what tickles your fancy.
I’d suggest using hot chocolate containers or those like it. But the trick with them is that they don’t fit around the nozzle where the stuff comes out. You can use the scoop and pour it into the smaller bottles but just see what you have! Yoghurt containers work really well!
Find a healthy snack you and the kids will like and go for it! Our favourite snack these days are the corn nibs! It’s cheap, it’s crunchy, it’s tasty and most importantly it’s Gluten free! My hubby can’t eat Gluten – he has a very bad allergy to it, so biscuits won’t do. (more on that another time). Take your container to the weigher, ask them to Tare it for you, then fill it up and take it back to her. Done. oh – and stick the price with just the corner on the lid – so its easier to get off or else they stick real good and messy!
Did you know you can also get spices in your own containers – and it’s cheaper! I’d recommend a wider-rimmed jar of sorts again for the scoop to not make a mess.
With all these decanted items – you can reuse the same useful container and then when you get home put it in its permanent home. If you do researching on zero-wasting, you will see lots of images of glass containers, kind of like this.
Don’t let them scare you! You don’t need to buy a whole load – that’s a lot of money and waste! I would recommend see through ones though so you don’t forget things you have! You can buy a spray paint to spray the lids all the same if you like that look!
You can get a collection of glass, without spending extra money, by buying non-perishables like mayo, peanut butter, gerkins, jams, etc in glass . See what you can find!
I actually look forward to seeing what I can discover package-free, it’s like a treasure hunt! Believe it or not, but it’s not all more expensive than the packaged things. You just have to look. Also – if you buy in season it will be a lot cheaper and most likely locally produced, and even more likely to be package free. Support the locals!
Just remember – you don’t have to get it perfect from the start. It’s a slow process, and it’s OK to not get it right all the time. Heck – I don’t! It’s not easy at all when we don’t have the right shops around to make it all waste free. Hopefully one day we will get there: the more people that do it, the more the demand, the easier it will be. Get ahead.
And don’t forget to EcoBrick the stuff you can’t avoid!!!!
Try it out – go slow, get the feeling, get hooked, inspire others!
If you’ve been trying it out let me know how it’s going. Comment below, ask questions, let’s do this together!