My Zero-Waste Shopping Routine: How to Grocery Shop Sustainably + Zero-Waste

how to grocery shop zero waste

Since I’ve moved out of home and up the coast to Queensland, 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!

What does your shopping routine look like? Be honest. Mine involved driving to my local supermarket, buying the items I needed, then driving on home again. I would barely buy anything organic, as there was only one tiny section at our local store with very limited options, and I never went 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 since I moved out of home that I’ve really put in the effort to make my shopping routine as low-waste, sustainable, and ethical as possible.

So, here are a few tips I’ve learnt along the way to grocery shop sustainably, ethically, and plastic-free.

Before we get started in learning how to grocery shop zero-waste – 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!!

Your Guide to Grocery Shopping for People and Planet

Remember: Only buy if you NEED it.

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 is a retail store that 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!

This retail company donates 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 have loved how easy and simple the process is to collect the food items I need. They have all the dry goods you could possibly need, so I only need to go to the local farmer’s market on the weekends to collect fresh goods.

My personal favourites are their organic nut and seed range, gluten-free flours, nut butters, legumes, lentils, local raw honey, organic dark chocolate, dried fruits, superfood powders… Pretty much everything.

Once having collected as much of the dry food items as I can – and still be able to ride my bike home – 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-term. 

How I do this…

The most common way: Schedule a time to go to the bulk foods store nearest you with your reusable bags and jars. Fill up. Bring home and store in airtight, 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. 

Local Organic Farmer’s Market

To find the nearest organic farmer’s market to me, I simply use Google search.

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), which is the ONLY food production system that is policed. They guarantee truly chemical-free, clean, healthy, nutrient-dense food. 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 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 three giant bagfuls of groceries – which I then had to carry home on a bus…). The only downside I’ve found is that organic produce is way 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 (the perks of buying for one).

Before and after.

As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor before trying or using any new products. I am not a doctor. All opinions expressed are my own personal thoughts and feelings of the products mentioned. Check with your doctor or health practitioner if you are uncertain about trying out any of the products, recipes or tips mentioned in this post.

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

Lots of love,

🖤 Vanessa

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