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Four easy ways to avoid plastic in grocery shopping

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Four easy ways to avoid plastic in grocery shopping

Even when I lived alone, my bin filled up unbelievably fast. When I paid more attention, I found that it was mostly plastic wrapping from produce, dairies and meat packaging. Although, my diet had become greener and more diverse, plastic was still part of the equation, which didn’t align with my goal of living a greener, eco-friendlier lifestyle, at all!

When Leon and I moved in together, we made it our mission to avoid plastic wherever we possibly could, and to be completely transparent, zero waste grocery shopping felt like one of the hardest, most unpleasant things to do, at first. However, we found these four easy ways to effectively avoid plastic when shopping. Here’s how:

1. Buy linen bags

We bought some cool linen bags. They are light (quite trendy 😉) and help us say “no” to any plastic bags at the till. Additionally, we have 3-4 cotton and mesh bags that we use for any loose vegetables, fruits or nuts. We reuse glass jars from e.g. olives, peanut butter or pesto for herbs and spices and other refillable goods. Everything is stuffed in one linen bag and hangs at our entrance door, so that it’s almost impossible to miss it when we leave for our regular grocery shopping.

2. Shop at a local market and reuse packaging

What we love about Durbanville is that they have a market in the centre of town. All their fruits and vegetables are sourced from local farms, and most items are loose, making it easy for us to use our basket or mesh and cotton bags. The market has a refill station for nuts and certain sweets, as well as feta and pickles. Where one would usually make us of the provided plastic bags and plastic boxes, we bring along our old yogurt containers or glass jars for any refills.

3. Find local bakeries and butchers

We buy our bread at an artisan bakery. We bring our used paper bags so that we don’t need to purchase new ones or the cotton bread bag. When we visit our local butcher, we make sure to pack in our own food containers. This keeps food fresh and helps us avoid any unnecessary plastic and polystyrene packaging. Don´t forget to prepack the containers if you are planning to buy meat 😊

4. Choose the right supermarket

Large supermarkets such as Pick n Pay, have loose produce corners and offer brown paper bags. Although, this isn’t a complete waste-free solution, paper is still much better for recycling. You could always bring along your mesh bags & reuse the paper bags. When buying loose herbs and spices at supermarkets like Food Lovers Market, if you are not too concerned with these mixing, you can ask them to use the same bag when weighing or refill using your own (reused) glass jars. Every unused single-use plastic piece count.

Plastic free shopping requires a bit more research, planning and patience, but it is definitely worth it. Together, we can save the planet one plastic at a time! 🌍💚

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