There is nothing better than coming home to a fully stocked refrigerator especially now a days when you’r e waiting in line to just enter a store for over an hour. Some people love food shopping excursions, but between the lines and the ubiquity of plastic containers, bags and wasteful packaging, the grocery store can become a Green Monster’s worst nightmare.
Understanding that our food habits has an impact on the planet and animals, we should try to be as mindful as possible when selecting what we eat to decrease our water and carbon footprint. However, we rarely think about the impact that the waste we create in the form of all this packaging causes. Bringing cloth bags for groceries is a great way to reduce the footprint of our food shopping waste, but what about all the other bits and pieces of plastic and packaging that are involved in these weekly treks? Here are my green-tips for grocery shopping mindfully.
Choosing the Right Grocery Bags
- Make sure you always have a bag with you when you go grocery shopping, whether it’s in your handbag, your backpack, in the glove compartment or trunk of your car or attached to your key chain; even a secondhand plastic bag will do just fine. It’s better than no bag at all, and you save a bag from going to the landfill. If, however, you want to go a step further and invest in the purchase of reusable bags, you might want to consider a few important factors. There are some really cute shopping bags out there that are great
Life Without Plastic is a great site that has all the bags, jars, everything you could ever need. Here are some of my favorites:
- Organic Cotton Flat-Bottom Bulk Bag – SmallBulk bags are essential for plastic-free, zero-waste grocery shopping and have immense potential to reduce plastic waste. We were disappointed with existing bulk bags that were hard to fill up at the bulk store so we took it upon ourselves to design the ultimate bulk bag from natural, organic and safe materials.
This bulk bag is made from certified GOTS organic cotton and is completely free of any plastic. It has a double drawstring so you can pull the two ends and tie a bow to prevent your food from falling out. It is machine washable, unbreakable (unlike the Mason jar) and can be folded to be extremely compact to carry.
The tare weight is printed on the bag which makes it easy at the cash of bulk and zero-waste stores.
This medium sized bag is much easier to fill than a mason jar or the average bulk bag because of its large opening and its ability to stand on its bottom! Most bulk bags have a seam in the middle of the bottom which makes the bag fall to either side when filling it up but this Life Without Plastic bulk bag was designed with a flat bottom to make filling easy. Simply put it on the counter and scoop your goodies into the bag, it will hold itself up and not tumble over.
Opening diameter: 11.45cm / 4.5″
Base diameter: 8.9cm / 3.5″
Bag Height: 15.24cm / 6″
Capacity: around 3.3 cups / 0.78 Litres
Tare weight: 16 g / 0.6oz
Materials: GOTS certified organic cotton
Care Instructions: Machine washable
Country of Manufacture: India
Health & Environment: BPA Free
- Adjustable Juco Sandwich Bag
This exclusive sandwich bag is made of juco, a new eco fabric composed of 75% jute and 25% cotton. It offers the best properties of jute, such as durability and water resistance, while having a finer weave and softer texture thanks to the presence of cotton. It is strong and reusable and its high jute content – the production of which has a low carbon and water footprint – makes its overall environmental impact very low. Jute is one of the most important natural fibres in the world and is a completely sustainable resource. Jute crops are mainly rain-fed with little need for fertilizers or pesticides.
This juco sandwich bag is completely plastic-free. No velcro, no nylon lining, just juco fabric, a cotton string loop and two wooden buttons to adjust the size of the bag to either a large sandwich or a small snack of nuts or fruits.
Dimensions: Length x Width x Height: 17.5 X 23 cm / 6.9″ X 9.1″
Materials: Juco (75% jute, 25% cotton), wooden buttons.
Care Instructions: Machine washable in cold water. Line dry.
Country of Manufacture: India.
Health and Environment: BPA-free, phthalate-free, PVC-free and lead-free. Compostable
- Hemp and Organic Cotton Bread BagThis Canadian-made bag is comprised of 45% certified organic cotton and 55% hemp.
It replaces the plastic or paper disposable bags you usually receive from a bakery. The bag breathes and is not airtight so your bread will dry up unless you also keep it in an airtight container. Out it in one of these bags, and then store it in a large rectangular stainless steel airtight container. Works beautifully!
Length: 41cm / 16″
Width : 24 cm / 9.5″
Materials: Made of hemp (45%) and certified organic cotton (55%).
Care Instructions: Machine washable and can be put in the dryer, but hand washing and line drying is recommended for durability.
Country of Manufacture: Canada.
Health and Environment: BPA-free, phthalate-free, PVC-free and lead-free. Compostable.
There are many round airtight options for taking your food to go, but very few rectangular or square options with a tight silicone seal. This container made in South Korea is rectangular and can hold a sandwich and more. With its 2 removable dividers, you can create 3 spaces to separate your various food items. This plastic-free, eco-friendly container replaces the need for disposable ziplock bags, styrofoam containers, and so much more by providing a reusable solution to throwaway food packaging.
The container is made of stainless steel 304, 18-10 and is lightweight and durable. The lid was designed with a silicone seal to make it airtight and it has a clamp on each side to hold it in place. Pack snacks, lunches, or even your restaurant leftovers in this nifty Earth-friendly and plastic-free container!
Length: 17.5cm / 6.89″
Width: 9.5cm / 3.74″
Height: 4cm / 1.57″
Capacity: 2 cups / 473 ml full to the brim
Materials: Stainless Steel 304, 18-10
Care Instructions: Base container is dishwasher-safe and oven-safe; lid should be washed by hand in warm soapy water, and is not oven-safe
Packaging: Carboard Box
Country of manufacture: South Korea
Health & Environment: BPA-free, phthalate-free, PVC-free and lead-free.
Ideally, you want to prioritize materials that close the loop of the bag’s life cycle and go back to the Earth, and are not just recycled into a lower quality item (i.e., down-cycled). Cotton, jute and hemp are all natural materials that can be composted back into the Earth.
Capabunga is my personal fav. It has little compartments so you can organize your groceries.
Durability and Repairability
Not only will a reusable bag be a solid long-term investment, but its durability and repairability are also determining factors in how soon it will end up in a landfill. Can you repair a hole that forms at the bottom of the bag? If the bag is made of plastic, it will be harder to repair. A cotton canvas bag is easy to repair with a needle and thread or a sewing machine.
To ensure your bag is durable and solid, inspect the pressure areas. Seams are more likely to break at the top of the handles and at the bottom of the bag. Are these seams reinforced? Is the design flawed because of where the seams are positioned? Over time, seams located at high pressure points will weaken and may give out due to the pressure of constantly supporting the bag and its contents.
Package Free is an online store doing what they can to “make the world less trashy.” Founded by Laura Singer, the company help’s people try and live waste free and do their party in taking simple steps to reduce our waste. Since opening their brand, they have help over 4 million plastic straws, over 3 million plastic bags, and over 1.5 million recyclable bottles and cups out of landfill.
Not only do they excel in grocery shopping but they promote zero waste in all aspects of life. Hair, oral care, kitchenware, towels, skin care, feminine products, you name it, they have it.
Here are some of my favorite products of theirs:
This is everything you’ll ever need next time you head out grocery shopping.
This Kit Includes:
- 100% Natural Cotton Produce Bag
- 100% Organic Cotton Net Produce Bag
- 16oz Reusable Jar with Tare Weight
- 32oz Reusable Jar with Tare Weight
- String Bag
- 100% Natural Cotton Produce Bag
- 100% Organic Cotton Net Produce Bag
- 2 x 16oz Mason Jars
- String Bag
All of these great products come in a complimentary Package Free drawstring produce bag to make carrying all your new zero waste items a breeze! The super versatile cotton produce bag can be used for everything from bulk rice, to bread, to leafy greens, and the cotton net produce bag makes sure that your apples get home in the same pristine condition you found them in. You also get a beautiful stylish string bag to bring all your waste free goodies home in.
Did you know that cling wrap isn’t typically recycled because the material has no value on the market once it’s broken down? With this wrap, that’s not even a concern as it’s 100% compostable. Plus, unlike traditional cling wrap, this Vegan Food Wrap will last over a year.
Mini: 6×6 in.
Small: 7×8 in.
Medium: 11×11 in.
Large: 13×13 in.
XL: 14×19 in.
This zero waste kit is small but powerful. The insulated Package Free tumbler with straw or the 18 oz Package Free water bottle are the perfect vessels for beverages on-the-go or sippin’ at home! The bamboo utensils and stainless steel straw pair up to create the ultimate plastic free takeout duo. Never use a plastic fork or plastic straw again! Even your oral care routine can take a step to be plastic free with this bamboo toothbrush.
Whether you are snacking, sandwich-ing, or storing food for later, never use a single-use plastic bag again! These self-sealing, airtight, reusable and plastic-free, platinum food-grade silicone storage bag are perfect. They are also dishwasher, microwave, boiling water, freezer (recommended to be placed upright), and oven safe-up to 400F!
Reusable Silicone Snack Bag:
Dimensions: 7.5” x 4.5”
Volume: 293.5 ml / 9.9 fl. oz.
Reusable Silicone Sandwich Bag:
Dimensions: 7.5” x 7”
Volume: 450 ml / 15 fl. oz.
Reusable Silicone Half Gallon Bag:
Dimensions: 8.5” x 10”
Volume: 1.95 L / 64.2 fl. oz.
The Package Free Insulated Water Bottle and Reusable Silicone Snack Bags are some of my all time favorite Zero Waste swaps for all ages, and the Organic Cotton Bandana Bib and Cloth Napkins keep everyone and everything clean. Lastly, the Natural Rubber Pacifier helps keep your little one calm without putting plastic in their mouth!
Each Kit Includes:
- 17 oz Insulated Water Bottle
- Grey Organic Cotton Bandana Bib
- Don’t Mess With Mama Tote
- Wash Cloths
- Clear Reusable Silicone Snack Bag
- Natural Rubber Pacifier 0-6 mo
Plus, you have the option to add on a Baby Comb or Silver Nursing Cups!
These hold everything! They are perfect for produce, bulk dry ingredients, groceries, and other miscellaneous items. These easy to use, lightweight bags eliminate the need for disposable plastic bags all together.
Cotton Produce Bags: Organic cotton drawstring Produce Bag with drawstring closure.
Medium: 8.5″W x 11″H* with tare weight 1.1oz..
Large: 12″W x 15″H* with tare weight 1.1oz
Net Produce Bags: Organic cotton net produce sack with drawstring closure.
Medium: 10″w x 12″h* / Tare Weight .9oz
Large: 12″W x 15″H* / Tare Weight .9oz
*These are handmade products so slight variations in size may occur.
The best way to keep those wrinkles at bay is to exercise and eat a healthy, plant based diet. The next best thing is to use this organic serum! As we age, our skin’s natural oil production decreases, but ingredients such as rosehip and carrot seed oil are packed with vitamins to help your skin retain moisture and repair cell damage. You’ll be smooth as butter in no time!
This kit kicks dirt to the curb! No more smelly plastic sponges for your dishes. With this tampico fiber dish brush and the copper pot scrubbers, your cookware will look brand new. This spray bottle has 5 different cleaning solution recipes with measurements printed on the bottle. Mix up a solution spray, and wipe up any mess with the 100% organic cotton unpaper towels. They are much more absorbent than a standard paper towel and can stand the test of time. The mason jar soap dispenser makes using your bulk liquid soap a breeze!
Cleaning out your desk drawer? Me too. Now there is a solution for your fifteen empty pens.
P.S. they have reusable and multi use alternatives for nearly every product. Take note of everything you throw in these TerraCycle boxes as a good place to start reducing your waste.
Use this box to recycle any non-electronic item or tool used in your office. This includes tape dispensers, desk organizers, card and document filers, binders, calendars, labels, staplers, hole punchers, dividers, paper cutters, correction supplies, pens/pencils/markers, fasteners, paper clips, staples, binder clips, sticker and label sheet backing.
This box is shipped directly from TerraCycle and will have a recyclable plastic wrapper that can be placed directly into the box!
Small 11″ x 11″ x 20″
Medium 11″ x 11″ x 40″
Large 15″ x 15″ x 37″
Clean and balance your skin with this Rose Water toner. Rose Water is antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and works to reduce redness. The antioxidants in the rose water helps to hydrate and strengthen skin. Use the spray and wipe away excess to capture additional dirt and clogged pores.