As a passionate chef, you pour your creativity and prowess into thoughtfully selected recipes. You care about your ingredients and where they came from, and this mindfulness drives your grocery shopping. Weekly grocery trips provide a great opportunity to scout quality ingredients and practice sustainability in small and large ways.
The United Nations defines sustainability as actions that meet present needs without jeopardizing the ability of future generations to meet their needs. You can incorporate sustainability into the ways you shop, the places you shop and the foods you choose. The following are some sustainable grocery shopping tips to help you reduce your carbon footprint and support a better future.
1. Shop With Sustainable Containers
The average American family collects roughly 1,500 plastic grocery bags every year. An unfortunate amount of these bags end up in landfills or waterways, endangering both the environment and wildlife. You can help cut down your plastic bag consumption by switching to sustainable shopping containers.
Opt for a shopping bag that is long-lasting and can be recycled or re-purposed when you are done with it. Cotton or jute totes are durable and recyclable options. You can also make your own bags out of old t-shirts with a simple DIY project.
When you first transition from plastic bags to reusable bags, you add an extra consideration to your shopping prep: remembering the bags. Here are some tips to help you adjust and establish your new habit:
- Stash reusable bags in multiple locations that are convenient and easy to access.
- Keep bags in your kitchen, purse and the trunk of your car, so you have options.
- Hang your bags on a door handle the night before you shop, so you do not forget to bring them.
2. Choose Stores That Are Close to Home
The average passenger vehicle produces 404 grams of carbon dioxide each mile and a total of 4.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide each year. Grocery shopping trips are a weekly contribution to this carbon dioxide total — especially if you are driving a long distance.
Choosing a grocery store that is closer to home cuts down on your overall vehicle carbon emissions. In addition, it may allow you to support your local economy. When possible, shopping at farmer's markets is an excellent alternative. Many farmer's markets allow you to buy produce without any plastic packaging. The produce you find at a farmer's market may also be locally grown, which shortens the distance the food travels and reduces its carbon footprint.
3. Buy Only What You Need
Buying more food than you need contributes to an unsustainable food cycle wherein:
- Consumers overbuy and throw out uneaten or spoiled food.
- The energy and carbon emissions used to plant, grow, harvest and transport that food is wasted.
- Food rots in landfills and emits methane gas into the atmosphere.
- Greenhouse gases from wasted food contribute to further climate change.
Cutting down your wasted food can help make your food consumption as sustainable as possible. To help with this task, try planning your shopping trips ahead of time. Map out recipes you want to cook throughout the week, and make a conscious effort to buy only the ingredients you need. You can maximize your efforts by incorporating leftovers into new dishes when possible.
As you get a better sense of how your family eats leftovers and what types of foods you typically throw out, adjust your shopping accordingly. Try using a whiteboard or chalkboard to write out and display your menu for the week. You can get your family excited for the food to come, and you can use the board to help you remember the plan for the week while you cook each night.
4. Say No to Receipts
When grocery shopping, you can rack up a collection of receipts rather quickly. Many of these receipts are made from shiny paper that uses heat transfer rather than ink. This thermal paper includes the chemical bisphenol A (BPA), which makes it hazardous for your health and the environment. Though you can technically recycle thermal paper receipts, mixing these receipts with normal paper can taint recycled paper with BPA.
If you need a grocery receipt for your records, that is okay. Many retailers offer an environmentally friendly option that sends the receipt to your email instead of physically printing it out. If you know a retailer uses actual paper receipts, you can ask for one and recycle it normally when you are finished.
If you do not need a record, however, simply say no to a receipt. It may take some practice to develop a habit of refusing a receipt before the cashier has printed one. Try putting a note in your wallet that reminds you to ask for no receipt. Place the note in a spot that is visible when grabbing your payment method, so you can be sure to mention your preference before it is too late.
5. Shop for In-Season Foods
Shopping in season refers to purchasing and consuming foods around the same time they are harvested. In-season shopping helps to align your menu with produce that is readily available in your area. Choosing in-season foods that are available nearby requires significantly less transportation — and greenhouse gases — than buying foods that have to be imported or driven across the country.
In addition to sustainability benefits, in-season shopping has several other advantages:
- In-season produce is fresher and tastes better than out-of-season food.
- You may be able to purchase in-season food directly from a local farmer, which allows you to support eco-friendly growing practices.
- In-season food purchases can help support your local farmers and economy.
- Supporting local farmers helps to encourage farmland and open spaces in your community.
- You can look forward to eating certain fruits and vegetables each season.
Keep in mind that it may be challenging to shop solely in season, depending on where you live. The most important consideration is to be intentional about your choices. When you make an effort to plan most of your meals around in-season produce, you can support sustainability while satisfying your cravings.
Support Sustainability With La Tourangelle Artisan Oil
Every purchase and action counts as a vote for the kind of sustainability you want to see in the world. When you choose La Tourangelle artisan oil, you are supporting sustainable ingredients and business practices as well as transparent production processes. We commit ourselves to authenticity and quality at every step, which sets our artisan oils apart from the rest.
As you create in your kitchen, you have the power to choose ingredients that reflect your values and enhance your dishes. We are proud to offer a wide range of high-quality oils that fulfill this goal. Experience the difference with our selection of intentionally crafted artisan oils today.