Most shoppers care greatly about the environment, and when viable options are presented, many choose the eco-friendly route. But supermarkets need to do more to help customers realise their carbon goals.
Recently, Sainsbury’s became the first supermarket brand to get rid of plastic bags for their fruit, veg and bakery items. But there’s still so much that needs to change in the industry, and until then customers must take responsibility.
Do you want to do your bit? Here are 4 supermarket tips to make every shopping trip as eco-friendly as possible.
1. Eat seasonally
Eating food that is ‘in-season’ has a multitude of benefits. Not only is it better for the environment, but it also packs more nutrients and more flavour! Seasonal produce tends to be local food, which means lower greenhouse gas emissions.
It may seem rather complicated at first, but once you know what’s in season you’ll be able to build a complete seasonal recipe book that can serve you and your family for years. You’ll learn some wonderful food pairings along the way, and discover new ingredients that you may never have used before.
2. Go plastic-free
Choose a supermarket that doesn’t use single-use plastics for packaging. Sainsbury’s has already made a huge step to change their attitude towards plastic materials, and others have their own ongoing projects for tackling the issue (such as Tesco or Waitrose). But you may also be able to find smaller local grocers where they ask customers to bring reusable jars and containers to get their produce. This has been a popular trend in cities such as London and products are sold based on weight.
It’s also important for customers to bring their own reusable shopping bags. It’s all about habit-forming and always keeping a spare shopper with you in case you need to swing by a shop.
3. Buy British
Whenever you can, buy British and buy local. Not only does this support local businesses and pump money back into your community, but it also reduces the stress on the environment. Fruits and vegetables harvested in the UK, or meat and fish farmed here, clock up fewer food miles. They don’t need to be flown in from anywhere, like so many of the things we see in the supermarket.
In fact, you may be surprised to know that some of the UK’s biggest imports include crustaceans from Greenland, bananas from Colombia, tropical fruits from Gambia, and vegetables from Uganda. The further they’ve come, the more pollution there is in the air or ocean.
4. Be a bulk shopper
Sometimes, avoiding plastics and packaging can be hard. If there are some products that you buy regularly, try to buy them in bulk. This will reduce the amount of packaging being used. For instance, instead of buying individually wrapped cheese, buy a larger block and divide it up yourself. The same applies to cakes or biscuits. Food that has been individually wrapped may be handy for lunchboxes, but the plastic waste is excessive. Get an airtight lunch box container instead. The best lunchboxes on the market have multiple compartments to keep your savoury snacks separated from your sweet treats.