Options for Zero Waste Grocery Shopping

bulk nuts in cloth bags

One of the most visible sources of household trash is the packaging that our food comes in. These days it is hard to avoid plastic and other single-use packaging while shopping because it’s used to package nearly everything. However, there are certain services and grocery shopping techniques that can help cut way back on packaging.

Zero Waste Grocery Delivery Services

Some companies have jumped on the increasing popularity of grocery delivery services, but with a twist — everything that is delivered to your door comes in completely reusable packaging and there is no waste.

It’s been likened to the modern-day version of the milkman, as essentially, you order your food online, receive it at your doorstep in reusable containers, and then return those same containers to receive more upon your next order. This greatly cuts down on packaging waste because the same material can be used many times before being disposed of. In addition, grocery delivery is also — on average — more eco-friendly from a transportation perspective, than driving to the store.

Zero Grocery, Loop and The Wally Shop are a few examples of these emerging online grocery services. While these services are not yet available in all areas, they continue to serve more communities and offer more products all the time.

Community Supported Agriculture

Another option that has existed for decades is Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), which allows you to receive deliveries of fresh produce from a local farm. Some companies such as Imperfect Foods even reclaim millions of pounds of perfectly good “ugly” produce that would normally be tossed out and deliver it to consumers at a reduced cost.

Local Stores

The grocery store you already shop at can even be a place to find zero waste packaged foods. For instance, almost the entire produce area of the store can be zero waste if you bring a reusable produce bag instead of using the store provided plastic bags. Bulk bins are another zero waste option for daily staples without any packaging waste. Call ahead because not all stores are using bulk bins during the pandemic or allowing reusable bags.

Ultimately, zero waste grocery delivery services, CSAs and even your local store provide ways to get the food you need while reducing your waste footprint.