Grocery shopping is something most everyone does, however, making the decision to shop greener isn’t. Learning the ins and outs of green shopping is not only beneficial for the health of you and your family, but for the environment too. While shopping green when you’re buying groceries is great overall, it can be expensive and at times overwhelming. So, here are some green shopping tips to make your next trip to the grocery greener without breaking the bank or losing your sanity!
1) Don’t be fooled by labeling. Just because a food item is labeled organic doesn’t mean it’s actually 100% organic. How can you tell? Well, the USDA established three levels of organic food labels to show how organic a food item is (information courtesy of The Daily Green), and they are as follows:
- 100% Organic: A food product can only be labeled 100% Organic if it contains ONLY organic ingredients, which means the ingredients are free from antibiotics, hormones, genetic engineering, radiation, synthetic pesticides, or fertilizers.
- Organic: A food can only be labeled Organic if it contains 95% organic ingredients with the “nonorganic” ingredients coming from the approved National List.
- Made with Organic Ingredients: These items must be made with at least 70% organic ingredients, three of which must be listed on the package, with the remaining “nonorganic” ingredients coming from the approved National List.
2) Take inventory. Before writing your list for a trip to the grocery store, take inventory of your pantry, refrigerator and freezer to see what you can use for the week. It saves on waste and emissions from making several trips to the store.
3) Prioritize your list based on necessity. If there are certain items that aren’t on sale that you don’t necessarily HAVE to have for the week then wait until they are on sale. Also, know your “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean Fifteen” so you don’t overspend on buying certain organic items that are safe to eat not organic. http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/.
4) Support your local farmers. Instead of heading to the grocery store, try your local farmers market. The food is incredibly fresh and you save on emissions from global shipping. You also can find good deals depending on the crop. One thing to note, just because it’s local doesn’t mean that it’s organic so be sure to ask.
5) Plan your weekly meals around what’s in season. Foods that are “in season” tend to be cheaper and have great flavors because they are ready to eat today.
6) When you can, buy in bulk from the bulk bins. By doing so, it can save money, it’s less processed and is good for the environment because there is less packaging.
7) Less is more. If you are like many and still purchase processed foods, a good and healthy rule of thumb is to look for foods that contain five ingredients or less. Also, it’s always a good idea to stay away from ingredients you can’t even pronounce.
Do you have any helpful green shopping tips you use when buying the groceries for your home?
Grocery Shopping image courtesy of sashafatcat.