Green Grocery Hacks

Tips for Greener Grocery Runs

Our everyday shopping habits can have a big impact on the environment. Here are a few ‘hacks’ that I encourage you to adopt every time you go to the grocery store.

Paper or Plastic (or polystyrene)?

Eggs

Eggs are packaged in all three. Which is the most eco-friendly? Well, if you are in an area that recycles all rigid plastics, you can purchase the plastic container without too much guilt. But when given a choice, go with the cardboard packaging. It is 100% recyclable no matter where you live. Even if the eggs are 50 cents cheaper in the polystyrene packaging, PLEASE don’t buy them! Polystyrene is a toxic, non-biodegradable, non-recyclable material that will end up in the landfill.

Super-size it

If you’re a regular yogurt eater, or even Gold Fish crackers for that matter, why not get the largest sized container? It’s the most cost effective and easier on the environment. A reusable container can help you ‘on the go’. All those individual serving sized packages are brutal on the planet. One, larger container creates less recyclable material to be processed.

Flushing MaterialTP

Please look for and become loyal to a toilet paper brand that is made from 100% post consumer recycled paper. Let’s not flush our forests down the toilet. As I say repeatedly in this blog – trees are our salvation. Oh, and this goes for paper towels and napkins as well.

The Produce Dilemma

Let’s get real, does that asparagus really need its own plastic bag? Odds are, you are going to rinse your produce before consuming. What’s with all the plastic produce bags? Some markets offer paper towels to wrap your lettuce in. I personally don’t use anything. Yep, all my limes and apples go willy-nilly on the belt. Who cares?! Ok, if naked fruits and veggies aren’t your style, pick up a pack of reusable produce bags. They can ride along to the store in your reusable shopping bags.

Sponge – it’s a cake!

SpongesThose brightly colored sponges in the grocery store are not natural. They’re plastic. And don’t get me started on the sponges that claim to be anti-bacterial – which contain triclosan, a pesticide that is particularly harmful to aquatic life. Cellulose sponges, although a bit more pricey, are fairly easy to find. Made from wood fibers, they are biodegradable, but make sure that they don’t have a plastic, scrubbing back – which makes them landfill bound as well. Until recently (because of my guilt), the sponges in my sink look like they’ve been in service since the early 80’s. But no more! I’ve discovered completely biodegradable bamboo sponges. Just cut them up and throw them in the compost when they’ve run their coarse. And remember, to get the longest life from a sponge, regularly run them thru the dishwasher or microwave (2 mins. tops) to disinfect.

A few additional reminders:

FlowerIconTiny  Buy local and organic whenever possible

FlowerIconTiny  Shop your green market if available to you

FlowerIconTiny  Buy only what you need – no hoarding! That extra food is more likely to  go to waste

FlowerIconTiny  Bring your own shopping bags

About the Author

Here at Jenny Green Jeans, by sharing success stories and easy-to- implement tips, I hope to inspire and empower you to continue to make sustainable choices in your life and watch how far the impact goes. Contact me with any questions or suggestions you may have.

4 Enlightened Replies

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  1. elizgwolf@gmail.com' Elizabeth says:

    Thank you for this. To assuage my guilt further, did you hear LEGO is changing the composition of its bricks? Think JGJ might want to do an eco toy post? I feel like I can’t avoid the plastic.

    • Jennifer says:

      OK. One Eco-Toy post coming right up! And as for Lego, you are correct. As most plastic is petroleum-based, Lego has divested from a 50-year relationship with Shell while planning to invest $150 million in transition to a bio-based material. They are also implementing more sustainable packaging. Bio-Plastics are out there, but with a production rate of 60 billion pieces a year, I’m sure they want to get it right. This is really an encouraging example, because if a company with such an established legacy as Lego can turn their gigantic boat around, anyone can.

  2. leodenborg@gmail.com' linda Odenborg says:

    Jennygreenjeans, I learned a lot this morning. Your article on grocery store items
    very good information…information that relates to my shopping needs. Thank you!

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