5 Ways to Make Greener Trips to the Grocery Store

Posted on July 13, 2011 by Courtney

Please welcome today’s guest poster, Mike Barbre.

Going to the grocery store is something that almost everyone does, which means that small changes here can have a huge impact on the environment. Follow these five low-cost tips to make your next grocery shopping trip environmentally friendly. 

1) Make a List

Although it sounds simple, many people head out to the grocery store with no real idea of what they are shopping for. By planning ahead at home, you can cut down on waste by checking the fridge and pantry for items you already have to cut down on spoiled and expired food. If you really want to make the most of your grocery shopping trips, try doing some meal planning using a free grocery list app for your mobile device like KitchenMonki or ZipList.

2) Eco-Friendly Dish Soap

Switching to an environmentally friendly dishwashing soap is an easy way to make a big reduction in
the amount of harmful chemicals in your kitchen. Most conventional dishwashing detergents include
petroleum-based compounds such as diethanolamine and sodium lauryl sulfate, plus preservatives
like DMDM hydantoin that release formaldehyde. Automatic dishwasher detergents often contain
hypochlorite, also known as chlorine bleach.

At the grocery store, look for dish soap that contains plant-based ingredients and uses natural oils like
orange and lemon for both cleaning power and a great fresh smell. Although eco-friendly dish soap is
sometimes priced higher than conventional products, it’s usually highly concentrated and lasts a long
time
.

3) Travel Green

When you are planning your trip to the grocery store, consider the environmental impact of your travel. Walking to the local corner store for a gallon of milk instead of driving an SUV to a big-box store is an easy green choice, and by pre-planning your shopping trips, you can save both carbon emissions and money. For ideas on alternatives to fossil fuel burning cars and SUVs, check out our post on environmentally friendly transportation.

4) Watch Out For “Greenwashing”

These days, it seems like all the major brands have produced “green” products. When you want to check out just how eco-friendly a product is, GoodGuide is a free iPhone app that allows consumers to scan the item bar code for information on ingredients and environmental friendliness.

5) Recycle Packaging Materials

For even the most eco-conscientious consumer, completely avoiding products packaged in plastic is
pretty much impossible. The next best thing to a total plastic boycott is making sure that plastic waste
gets recycled. We’ve discussed four innovative green companies that are recycling milk jugs and plastic bags.

By following these five simple tips on your next grocery shopping trip, you’ll save money and lighten your environmental impact. When consumers purchase eco-friendly products, manufacturers tend to respond to market trends by producing more green items, which is great for you and the environment!

5 Comments +

  1. Oh my ESPECIALLY number 4. The marketing depts. of the world have really latched onto the interest in environmentally products. Thanks for the reminder (and for all of these good tips)

    July 13th, 2011 at 2:57 pm
    Comment by Deborah Adams
  2. I definitely stick with eco-friendly soaps. Even if they are more expensive, that’s something that I don’t need to buy too frequently anyway.

    July 13th, 2011 at 6:45 pm
    Comment by mickey
  3. [...] Going to the grocery store is something that almost everyone does, which means that small changes here can have a huge impact on the environment. Follow these five low-cost tips to make your next grocery shopping trip environmentally friendly. [...]

    July 15th, 2011 at 9:01 am
    Pingback by Quick Green Reads For The Weekend Volume 219 | The Good Human
  4. Don’t forget to bring your own bags, even produce bags! You can even try to bring your own container for meat, but I haven’t tried that yet.

    July 18th, 2011 at 11:03 am
    Comment by Melissa
  5. I try to use my own bags, but I forget more often than I like. It is getting into a habit and sticking to it. I also bring the plastic bags back to the grocery store for recycling.

    August 10th, 2011 at 7:50 am
    Comment by K Prince

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Tip of the Day

If It Doesn’t Smell, Don’t Wash It

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According to Real Simple, if every American made an effort to launder less — cutting out just one load of laundry a week per household — we’d save enough water to fill seven million swimming pools each year.

So if it looks clean, and it smells clean, call it clean and wear it again. Consider hanging worn clothes out on your clothesline to freshen them up between wearings.


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