When you go to the grocery store, you expend many resources to get the food you need to sustain your family for the week. While you cannot completely cut out waste production, use the following tips to lower your environmental impact.

Bring Reusable Bags

Most grocery stores provide free single-use plastic bags. These bags are not easily recyclable and tear easily, so most people have to use two to carry heavy items. Some grocery stores have eliminated these bags and require patrons to purchase paper bags or sturdier, reusable plastic bags. This approach is better because customers must think carefully about how many bags they use and because they can recycle unneeded bags. Still, the best and most cost-effective option is to bring your own bags, such as biaxially oriented polypropylene (BOPP) bags, since you can reuse them as many times as you like.

Consolidate Trips

Although people have tried to limit their shopping trips recently because of the novel coronavirus pandemic, usually, you visit stores multiple times a week. It’s tempting to drive to the store every time you realize that you’ve forgotten something. However, unless you have an electric car, this practice consumes lots of gasoline and other fossil fuels. To reduce your carbon footprint, carefully plan your menu before you go to the grocery store and outline all the items you need. Check items off your list as you add them to your cart so that you don’t forget any of them. Rather than driving to large stores, consider patronizing local shops to further reduce your gas consumption.

Go Organic

If a food is organic, then no pesticides, chemicals or hormones have been added to it or used in its production. While most people think of produce when they hear the word “organic,” the term also applies to meat and dairy products. You may hesitate to purchase organic food because it is usually more expensive than the regular version. If so, think of the price as an investment in your wellbeing; organic food is healthier because it does not contain harmful chemicals. It is also better for the environment.

When you rely on grocery stores, it’s easy to become overwhelmed at how much waste goes into the food you eat. While the big-picture issues are out of your control, you can control your shopping habits. By using reusable bags, limiting your trips and purchasing organic products, you can make a positive difference.