Shopping green isn’t just about remembering your reusable bag. There are many other choices while grocery shopping that benefit the environment and your health.
The very first green choice you can make comes before you grab your reusable bags and head to the store; it starts with making your grocery list! As you make your list, check kitchen cupboards and your refrigerator. You may still have vegetables that can be incorporated into the upcoming week’s menu. Not only will you save money by not having to buy extra items, you will be helping to reduce food waste. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that we waste 30-40 percent of our food in the U.S.
Once you head into the grocery store and walk your cart to the produce aisle, there are two more sustainable choices that can be made. The first choice is to say no to the unnecessary the produce bag or produce wrapped in excessive packaging. The second green choice you can make is to buy fruits and veggies that are local and organic. Organic produce will reduce your exposure to harmful pesticides found in fruits like strawberries that have been linked to cancer and reproductive damage. Local produce is green because it reduces the amount of gas miles traveled for that vegetable or fruit to make it onto your dinner plate. For a list of the top 12 fruits and vegetables with the greatest pesticide health hazards, download the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean Fifteen” list here, or visit their website here.
As you head from the produce aisle to the seafood counter you can make ocean-friendly purchasing choices by referring to the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s “Sustainable Seafood” Guide. The guide assists you in being able to easily identify “best choice” options for seafood that is caught or farmed in ways that have little to no impact on the environment. To download the free mobile app, click here. Click here to learn more about the Seafood Watch program.
If seafood isn’t on your menu, congratulations, you are already making the biggest impact toward reducing your carbon footprint! However, if you are a meat lover, you can still reduce your carbon footprint by committing to a “Meatless Monday,” or limiting the majority of your menu to chicken or turkey. What’s all the fuss with red meat? Red meat not only uses 28 times more land to produce than pork or chicken, it consumes 11 times more water, and creates five times more climate-warming emissions.
Another sustainable choice at grocery stores is the cleaning products you decide to put in your cart. Keep your family safe by choosing to skip the conventional cleaners that are jam packed with harmful chemicals and try making your own cleaning products. Safer cleaning recipes can be made using only vinegar, baking soda, lemon, and dish soap. For a list of some great recipes, read our Safer Cleaning blog here.
Are there other ways you shop for your health and the environment while at the store? Comment and let us know what sustainable choices you have committed to!