Not everyone has the privilege of living near a bulk store. Others don’t have the time to visit the farmer’s market. I am one of those people. Besides running our online shop, we also go to school and work. After I'm done with the day, the supermarket near my home is the quickest stop to buy groceries. I try my best to keep my plastic buying as minimal possible, and I found some easy ways to do this. Of course, I want to share the plastic free spirit, so here are some tips for shopping plastic free at the supermarket.
First things first
Before you go to the supermarket; be prepared. Bring along your reusable bags, for veggies & fruits and everything else. It’s also a good idea to bring your reusable containers, when you’re buying meat & dairy.
Fresh vs. frozen
At the fresh section, try to look for unpackaged fruits and veggies. Not only is this plastic free, but you get to choose how much you actually need, which means less chance that food will be wasted.
Try to also look in the frozen section where a lot of fruits and veggies are cardboard-packaged. Broccoli, spinach, berries and other fresh products from the frozen section, are harvested and frozen when they are at their ripest. That way, it tastes better and doesn’t come in a plastic package. Seems like a win-win situation to me.
Try looking for glass jarred foods. You'd be surprised at how much food comes in jars. You can easily recycle the glass jar and the metal lids, or you can reuse it yourself for storage purposes. Some products that come in glass are pasta sauce, tapenade, yoghurt (Pur Natur), mayonaise, ketchup, olive oil, apple juice and even hummus (but the easiest is to make this yourself).
Just as with glass alternatives, there are also a lot of cardboard alternatives. You just have to look for them. But watch out for hidden plastic bags in cardboard packaging, because I've been surprised with a plastic bag quite a few times. A tip is looking for the cutting marks on the corners. Some products that come in cardboard are: oatmeal, laundry detergent, grains, frozen snacks & fish.
I've even spotted plastic free toilet paper from The Good Roll in cardboard packaging. So far it is only available at Jumbo, but hopefully other supermarkets will start to stock them too.
Meat & dairy
Some supermarkets have a meat and dairy counter. You could just ask if they could wrap it in paper, your own beeswax wrap or in your own container. It might seem awkward but asking can never hurt, right? Besides, butter is something you can always find wrapped in paper!
Some supermarkets now contain an in-store bakery, like Albert Heijn or Lidl, where you can bring your own bag for bread. A lot of supermarkets also have a fresh baked section for sandwiches, croissants and cookies. If you are looking for stuff like crackers, some crackers come wrapped in paper.
Unfortunately, there is still too many products wrapped in unnecessary plastic and there is just no avoiding them. Some products do not even have a plastic free option at the supermarket such as, ice cream, fresh greens, tofu and tempeh (which are one of my favorite foods). All in all, it matters that we are conscious about what we buy and try to reduce our plastic waste as much as possible.
Do you have any awesome tips for shopping plastic free at the supermarket? Let us know in the comments below :)