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Green Shopping

By Lexi Rollins

Even something as everyday as grocery shopping can impact the environment, and we can all influence that impact for better or worse by how we shop.  It’s not tricky to start saving the planet in the supermarket.

These little ideas will help you make a big difference.

Plastic bags might seem handy and harmless but they are really a serious form of pollution.  Australians use almost seven billion plastic bags every year and many of them end up polluting our air, earth, and waterways. 

Plastic bags are responsible for the deaths of one billion seabirds and marine mammals every year, and because each one takes 1000 years to fully decompose, it’s no wonder that our landfills are swimming in plastic.

You can reduce the environmental impact of your shopping by switching to eco-friendly alternatives.  Many companies, like Aussie brands Envirosax, are making stylish reusable bags in synthetic or cotton.   These chic sacks make fantastic alternatives for all kinds of shopping (not just groceries) and roll or fold up for easy storage in your handbag or glove box, so you’ll always be prepared.

If you’re likely to forget your multi-use bags, try packing a large box or tub in the back of your car.  At the checkout, there’s no need to bag your groceries, just transfer them from your trolley to the tub.  When you get home, you can bring the box inside and unpack straight into your kitchen.

Just like plastic bags, extra packaging on food products can have negative consequences for the environment.

Encasing items in multiple layers of wrapping doesn’t just create extra rubbish; it also wastes our natural resources.  Cut back on waste by choosing products with less packaging or by buying non-perishable items in bulk.  You’ll probably save a couple of pennies too.

When it comes to fruit and vegetables, pare back by keeping them loose rather than putting them in plastic bags.  Larger produce, such as apples or capsicum, can be packed together into one reusable bag.  For produce that does need to be bagged, like mushrooms or beans, swap plastic for a recyclable paper bag.

Anything we can do to reduce fuel emissions and their toll on our Earth is worth it so when you pick an item up off the shelf, think about how it got there.

The further a product had to travel to get to the shop, the more fuel was required to get it there, contributing to the production of greenhouse gases.  By choosing goods that are made in Australia, you are choosing a smaller environmental impact.

Keep an eye out for items that are labelled ‘Produced in Australia’.  Products that are ‘Australian Made’ are also good, but may contain significant ingredients that have been transported from overseas.

To buy products that have been produced even closer to home, head down to your local farmers’ market.  Here you can buy fruit, vegies, cheese, eggs, and other things that have been grown or made not far from your front door.  Plus eating seasonal foods, as are likely to be found in markets, reduces the energy spent on greenhouses and refrigeration required to grow food out of season.

All it takes is a little extra effort to revamp your shopping style and help save the planet.

If we all do our part, we can pave the way to a brighter future for our environment.


Comments (8)

Sam
Said this on 1-2-2010 At 06:10 pm
I can't stress the best thing one can do is buy local seasonal produce. Also ASK about where things come from and demand local produce.
Penny
Said this on 1-2-2010 At 06:12 pm
The majority of the Apple juice Australians drink comes from China! Look on the label it says made with local and imported ingredients - the local ingredient is the water added the concentrated pulp from China.
Sharron
Said this on 1-2-2010 At 06:13 pm
We need better packaging laws on our food products. I think they are misleading us!
Steph
Said this on 1-2-2010 At 06:28 pm
Is this true about the Apple juice? I just looked in my fridge at the label and it says local and imported ingredients!
Trudy
Said this on 2-2-2010 At 10:11 pm
Same thing happens here in the USA with apple juice too.
Greetings to all my Aussie friends!
Sam
Said this on 8-3-2010 At 09:48 am
I can't stress the best thing one can do is buy local seasonal produce. Also ASK about where things come from and demand local produce.
Kaye
Said this on 8-3-2010 At 09:49 am
The majority of the Apple juice Australians drink comes from China! Look on the label it says made with local and imported ingredients - the local ingredient is the water added the concentrated pulp from China.
Trudy
Said this on 9-3-2010 At 11:08 pm
Same thing happens here in the USA with apple juice too.
Greetings to all my Aussie friends!
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