We’ve been writing blogs over the last few months in a series all about ways to be more eco friendly. With climate change and environment chat being talked about more than ever (THANKFULLY), we have been trying to come up with ways to help you make your day to day more eco friendly and sustainable.
This week we are going to talk about eco friendly supermarket shopping. Is it possible? How can you shop at the big supermarkets while keeping your carbon footprint low?
We’ve got some ideas. These have been tried and tested by yours truly. A little background to me, I love food shopping. I love the supermarket. I love ordering food shops online. I am not committed to one shop so I have some experience in what each supermarket does well, and what it does badly. Now, I don’t think that’s information that will be going on my CV, or will win me any awards, but it might give me some credit when writing this blog.
Becky Spencer-Davies, supermarket enthusiast.
Here are my 7 top tips for eco-friendly supermarket shopping.
Choose time slots online
When you are shopping online you will get options for timeslots. Some stores such as Tesco and Waitrose offer eco slots or the choice to have it at some point that day. This means that the vans can fit you in on their route rather than going out of the way to drop your shopping off. Often this is more economical.
Take back your soft plastics
Co-op and Tesco will now take soft plastics. I’m sure other stores will follow suit soon too. Soft plastics include things like bread bags, sweet and crisp packets and so on. Keep a bin in your house for soft plastics to return to the store when you next go.
Take your own bags to the store
Yawn. Obvious. But I am putting it in here anyway. If you forget your bags simply load everything back in your trolly then pop it in your car. When you get home you can transfer the shopping from the car to the house using boxes, washing up baskets or reusable bags.
If you order online the shopping is unlikely to come bagged, I know Asda, Tesco and Waitrose have gone bag free. The last time I shopped with Ocado it came in bags, which you can return for 10p per bag.
It is annoying though when you shop online and they send you a single pepper in a plastic bag.
Choose loose fruit and veg
Why bananas are stored in plastic bags makes absolutely no sense to me. Choose fruit and veg that is not pre packed. Sometimes you pay less and it gives you the option to select the exact carrots, apples and potatoes you want. You can pop these in a reusable drawstring bag, or I just weigh them and stick the sticker to the item for scanning. You’ll wash it before you eat it anyway.
Things like mushrooms you might want to contain in a bag or container, just make sure it is reusable for absolute eco-friendly points.
Reduce items in plastic
Where possible, try to buy products that come in minimal or zero plastic. One example that springs to mind here is oats. Cheaper oats, often supermarket own, come in plastic bags. However, Quaker Oats come in boxes, no plastic.
If you have a Waitrose with a refill shop near you then take your own containers. If the store has a deli counter then buy cold meats and cheeses from there asking them to use your Tupperware and reusable pots.
Ask yourself, do you need to do a big shop?
Do you really need to fill up your cupboards once a week, or could you do a local shop every other day? You could walk to your local Co-op or supermarket every few days and pick up only what you need. This will help to reduce your carbon footprint and food waste too.
Write a list
On the subject of food waste, a great way to avoid so much waste is to plan meals. Write a list of all the meals you plan on eating that week and the ingredients you need for them. When you have done your food shopping online or in-store, sort out what you will be eating in order of when things are going out of date. I got really good at this during lockdown when I was doing minimal supermarket trips and trying to get the most out of each food shop.
How to have the ULTIMATE Eco Friendly Shop
This is for those who have time and want to really level up their eco friendly food shop.
You might want to scrap some of the items off your shopping list and go elsewhere. Refill shops are great for nuts, rice, oats, refills of laundry detergent, shampoo and so much more. We love The Refill Room in Leigh. You could even pop to the local fruit and veg market for locally grown food that you don’t have to put in a plastic bag.