Updated: May 25, 2020
By Lara Valles
Now more than ever, we recognize the importance of our grocery stores, truck drivers and farmers in our daily lives. Going to get groceries has become somewhat of an event. This week we are challenging you to start thinking about ways to reduce waste when it comes to grocery shopping. Some of these suggestions will have to wait until the quarantine is over, but you can also see what you can do safely and give it a try!
Check your pantry and fridge and do some meal planning. This will help you avoid wasting the food you do have and make sure you buy only what you need. Another good tip for those with cars, bikes or if you often carry the same bag is to put a reusable bag in there right now before you forget. This helps last-minute trips to the store. You should also wash or sanitize your bags however you can after each use during this time. If you have the financial means, you can purchase reusable produce bags or see if there are any on the Bunz mobile app you can trade for.
Bring your reusable bags, produce bags and hand sanitizer before you head out and brace yourselves for lineups that rivals Canada's Wonderland's on a long weekend.
When you're at the grocery store, try to buy food without packaging or with minimal packaging. Like that spinach that comes in the massive plastic box? Ditch it for the more eco-friendly (and way cheaper) bunch of spinach.
If you can, buy the larger container: Instead of buying several small containers, you are purchasing a larger one and reducing waste. However, you should buy smaller amounts if you know you'll end up wasting half of it. Be realistic with yourself on how much food you need. Pick up a "lonely banana:" Single bananas often get thrown away by the grocery stores.
And once Bulk Barn and other zero waste free stores are able to lift cross-contamination preventive measures, you can bring your own produce bags and jars. You can also swap tea bags for loose leaf tea and other food items you get in packaging for the usually more inexpensive or plastic-free alternative.
Do you have other tips for a less wasteful grocery run? Share with us on social media with the #RotaractTO and #MinimalWasteToronto or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for any ideas or suggestions.
Lara Valles is the community service director for the Rotaract Club of Toronto. She started her minimal waste journey a year ago and is excited to be a part of this community that not only cares about the environment but is doing their best to fix it.