Trying to reduce your plastic waste can be entirely overwhelming. When you look at your shopping, the majority of it is likely wrapped in plastic. So how do you still find something to eat yet stop producing massive amounts of trash?

I’d say start with tiny baby steps. You do not have to overhaul your entire lifestyle or even shop at the bulk store to make a difference.

When I started reducing my plastic waste, I made a few simple swaps to test out if this was something I could implement without making it the centre of my life.

I wanted to avoid waste, but I didn’t want to spend hours making everything myself to avoid the last bit of plastic packaging.

Here’s a list of a few simple swaps you can try next time you find yourself at a grocery store:

1. Glass over plastic. This was the very first swap I did, because it’s so simple. Instead of buying items like ketchup, mustard, olives, dried tomatoes or broth in plastic packaging, I chose brands stored in a glass container. This is not hard to do l and doesn’t even necessarily affect the price of the product.

2. Canned over plastic. This is the same idea. If you find yourself buying items in plastic that you know are available in cans, opt for the cans. Metal is a much better waste than plastic.

3. Loose veggies over packaged veggies. When shopping in the produce isle, choose loose veggies over packaged ones. I have found that this makes me value my produce more, plus I get to decide how many carrots or tomatoes I need, instead of buying a huge package with too many leftovers!

4. Buy meat at the butcher vs. in plastic packaging. This will still create waste, but you are getting more delicious, higher quality food that you are more likely to use up than the cheap salami you throw into your shopping cart.

5. Carry a small canvas bag in your purse so you never have to buy a plastic one. This is such a simple swap. If you are a woman, you likely have a purse with you most of the time, so throw in a little fold-up bag. It’s a no brainer and makes it easy to say no to plastic bags.

6. Shop at the Farmer’s Market with your friends. Whenever I have friends visit me, I take them to our Farmer’s Market and it’s such a fun activity. We sit down to taste the fresh apples or olives we have selected. Doing some good for the environment doesn’t have to be all serious business – sometimes you get to have more fun than doing things the conventional way!

Changing your shopping habits and doing some good for the planet doesn’t have to be a big hassle. A few simple swaps can have a great impact. Our rubbish bins fill up quickly, but when you try these changes, you might even notice that you have to take out less trash.

There is so much to consider when you’re trying to be a good consumer – buying organic, avoiding slavery, reducing your trash – it can feel so stressful that it seems easier to stick your head in the sand and avoid trying at all.

I’d ask you to consider the idea of not having to do ‘it all’ and that you definitely don’t have to do everything perfectly. So before you decide to do nothing because it feels too hard or you wait until you have time to overhaul your entire life, consider bringing a canvas bag to your next trip to the grocery store.

Because that already counts for something.
**Photography: Visual Hunt
{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Daniel Chrisendo January 4, 2017, 9:58 pm

    The idea to shop at the Farmer’s Market with friends can also be away to spread this issue. Thanks for writing this Iris. I want to be a fully conscious buyer, too!

    • Iris Barzen April 29, 2017, 5:59 pm

      Daniel, thanks so much for your kind words. Great goal – I’d say baby steps really are the way forward with that.

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