For Earth Month this April, the Bulk is Green Council, a non-profit advocacy group that spreads awareness about the environmental and economical benefits of shopping in the bulk foods section, offers these five easy ways to “Go Green” at the grocery store.
● Reduce waste. Buy just the amount you need. Whether it’s a pound or a pinch, put a stomp on food waste by buying just the amount you’ll use. Pay attention to the amount you select (or scoop, in the bulk foods section) when experimenting with a new spice in your favorite spaghetti sauce recipe or stocking up on trail mix for children’s lunches. Overdoing it only means you’ll pay, literally, the next time you rid your cupboard of outdated food.
● Reuse it and get rewarded. Bring your own bags and containers. Whole Foods and top supermarket chains praise (and sometimes pay) shoppers who use their own bags. Invest in glass Tupperware or give that empty cottage cheese container a second use by filling it with brown rice from the bulk foods section or a quinoa salad from the deli counter. Just ask the cashier to weigh your container ahead of time. While you’re at it, BYOB (bring your own bag). If you must go with single-use, opt for paper.
● Buy natural and organic, whenever possible. Not only are the pesticides and synthetic chemicals used in non-natural and non-organic foods often toxic to our health – they’ve been linked to cancer and other diseases – they’re bad for the environment. Tainted runoff from conventional farms washes into rivers and lakes, which contaminates waterways and threatens wildlife. Plus, the added benefits of buying natural and organic don’t have to mean added costs. By buying natural and organic in the bulk foods section of the grocery store, shoppers can pay 30 percent to 96 percent less on their grocery bill.
● Make it a one-shop stop. Save gas, time and the environment by picking up all your groceries in one efficient trip. Visit your local all-in-one supermarket, or consider cooking recipes made almost entirely with ingredients from one section of the grocery store, such as the bulk foods aisle, to save time.
● Turn the shopping over to the children. Get your little ones excited about being green by allowing them to select natural, organic or Fair Trade treats and snacks themselves. Be it in the natural foods section or the bulk foods aisle, they’ll enjoy the freedom and you’ll enjoy getting healthy and eco-friendly food into the grocery cart without a fight.