How to Grocery Shop Sustainably + Zero Waste

What does your shopping routine look like? Be honest. Mine used to involve driving to my local supermarket, collecting up the items I needed in my reusable bags, then driving on home. I would hardly buy organic as there was only one tiny section at our local store with very limited options, and I’d never go to the markets for food (as it seemed too much of a hassle to get up early and go on my weekends off).

It’s only been since I moved out of home and up the coast to Queensland that I’ve really put in the time, effort and research to make my shopping routine as low-waste, sustainable, and ethical as possible. I looked at this move as a fresh start, and I wanted to make all areas of my life line up with my values of living a natural, zero-waste and planet-friendly life.

So, here are a few ways to grocery shop sustainably, ethically, and completely zero waste!

My fresh food grocery haul (all organic and with no plastic packaging!!)

Note: Before we begin – if you like what you’re seeing, subscribe to my email newsletter at the bottom of the page to keep up to date on the latest recipes, DIYs, gardening and health tips I share!!

Also! Let me know if you’d like me to make another segment on how to shop sustainably, ethically and with zero-waste online or when in store (for e.g. clothes shopping, homeware, kitchen, bathroom etc)!

If you try out any of these tips, please let me know! Leave a comment below, and if you take a picture and share it, please tag me on Instagram @simplynaturalnessa or use the hashtag #simplynaturalnessa so I can see! I’d love to know how you go!

Your guide to Grocery Shopping for People & Planet…

Remember: only buy if you NEED it.

Everything in bulk, no plastic, no chemicals, all organic, all zero-waste.

The Source Bulk Foods

Values: ~ Zero-waste ~ Organic ~ Affordable (because they believe buying quality products shouldn’t cost the earth) ~ Waste conscious ~ Natural ~

Products: Selected grains, beans, oils, baking, wellness, health, cleaning products, snacks, and more!

WHO ARE THEY?

The Source Bulk Foods allows you to buy as much or as little as you need in bulk. This style of shopping not only reduces the use of unnecessary packaging, but also reduces food wastage. You can bring your own containers and glass jars to collect the food items you need, or they supply brown paper bags and jars for you to use if you don’t have any containers with you! You can also do your bulk food shopping all online!

They also donate a part of their profits to the organisation Sea Shepherd, who help to defend, conserve and protect the world’s oceans. So far they’ve managed to donate over $75,000 AUD.

The Source Bulk Foods view this type of shopping as a way to “contribute to the sustainability of the environment and support organisations, charities and communities that are leading the push for a better, cleaner world.”

MY EXPERIENCE

I’ve just started shopping at my local bulk foods store and LOVED how easy and simple the process was to collect the food items I needed. They honestly have EVERYTHING there (except for fresh produce) so the local farmer’s market on the weekends will be my go-to for fresh goods.

My personal favourites are their organic nut and seed range, gluten-free flours (I use them for baking), legumes, lentils, local raw honey, organic dark chocolate, dried fruits, superfood powders… pretty much everything 😉 .

Now, once having collected all the dry bulk food items I need, this is how I store them…

HOW TO STORE DRY BULK FOODS

When you shop bulk, stock up on your healthy flours, seeds, nuts, legumes, etc. so your pantry is full of the things you need, ready for meal preps. You do end up spending a little more up front, but you can save LOADS over the long run. 

How I do this…

The most common way: Schedule a time to go to the bulk foods store nearest you with your reusable bags & jars. Fill up. Bring home & store in air-tight, bug-proof jars. Then use your ingredients as needed! Keep an updated list of the things you need restocked for the next bulk store run. 

Today’s shop; I now have all the ingredients I need to whip up some healthy-ish vegan, gluten-free double choc cookies!!

Local Organic Farmer’s Market

To find the nearest organic farmer’s market to me, I simply used Google search (I go to the Gold Coast Organic Farmers Market; on every Sunday morning).

This organic farmer’s market has everything one could want; all organic, all seasonally grown, and freshly picked!!

Values: ~ Zero-waste ~ Organic ~ Affordable ~ Natural ~ Australian sourced ingredients (all locally grown)

Products: 100% organic certified fresh, seasonal and local produce.

ABOUT THE MARKET…

They only ever sell 100% certified organic produce (at this particular market). They guarantee truly chemical-free, clean, healthy, nutrient-dense food. They fully support the Certified Organic industry (“100%“) as it’s the ONLY food production system that is policed. Their Certified Organic farmers are regularly inspected, soils are tested, environmental care and animal care are guaranteed, and they pay fees to be classified as “CERTIFIED ORGANIC.”

During the course of each month, this Market also arranges different community stalls which promote environmental awareness, and natural health practices and activities.

They also have a number of stalls that are set up at different intervals (rather than on a weekly basis), e.g. organic clothing and bedding, wild Alaskan salmon, etc.

MY EXPERIENCE

I was just absolutely in my element here at the organic farmer’s market. If I could have taken everything home with me, I would have (I ended up filling 3 giant bagfuls of groceries – which I then had to carry on the bus home… my arms were like lead by the end). The only downside I found (which I’m sure you all know already) was that organic produce is much more pricey than conventionally-grown foods. However, I’ve managed to make my grocery hauls last a couple of weeks, so it’s ended up being around the same price anyway! (The perks of buying for one 😉 ).

A little flat-lay before and after; the fresh produce I gathered from my shop at the organic farmer’s market was transformed into my meal prep for the week (consisting of falafel, baked potato chips with red onion, sweet potato chips with baked pumpkin, and some fresh fruit – papaya, pineapple & rock melon).

Have you shopped at a bulk foods store or local farmer’s market before? What was your experience?! Share below!

Lots of love,

🖤 Vanessa