4 years ago1,000+ Views

1.) Bring your own reusable bags.

Many things have already been said about the dangers of plastic’s pervasiveness in our culture. According to the Wall Street Journal, Americans use and throw away 100 billion plastic bags every year. Many find their way into the ocean, where they can harm and kill marine life. Plus, they can take decades – even centuries – to break down. Reusable bags are a great way to reduce your contribution to landfill waste. Chances are you already have some at home, but if not, there are tons of cute ones that make the daily chore of grocery shopping into a fun, chic activity! Check out the great selection here.

2.) Don’t use produce bags.

Some organic grocers offer biodegradable paper baggies for produce, but the best choice is simple – don’t use a bag at all! Fruits and vegetables can be placed loose straight into your shopping cart, or into a reusable bag. If you want to learn how to store your veggies so they’ll stay fresh for a long time without the help of a plastic bag, check out this column by HuffPo columnist Jennifer Grayson.

3.) Walk or take public transportation to the grocery store.

Public transportation is one of the best ways to contribute to energy conservation. Riding the bus reduces your carbon footprint and even saves you money. “But how will I get all my heavy groceries home?” you ask. Never fear! Wheeled grocery trolleys like this one
are an affordable investment that make transporting groceries incredibly easy.

4.) Buy local.

First of all, local produce is better for you. In the time it takes for produce to travel from farm to table, nutrients begin to break down and are lost (GrowNYC). The shorter the travel time, the better. Shopping at farmers markets and buying only what’s in season ensures that your food hasn’t been flown in from across the world, contributing to greenhouse gas pollution. Plus, you’ll be supporting your local community! To learn more about how transportation affects our food and our environment, you can check out this highly informative article by the National Resources Defense Organization.

5.) Cut down on meat products.

Livestock farming is a huge contributor to the depletion of natural resources (including water, fossil fuels, and topsoil) and to air and water pollution. Reducing your consumption of meat (or cutting out of your diet completely) is a powerful way to minimize your carbon footprint. Experts say that giving up beef will have a bigger impact on the environment than giving up cars. If you still want to eat meat, TIME says, “The most climate-friendly meat comes from pigs and poultry, which account for only 10% of total livestock greenhouse-gas emissions while contributing more than three times as much meat globally as cattle.”

The best way we can help conserve our planet is by changing the way we do everyday activities like grocery shopping. Do you have other ideas for reducing consumer carbon footprints or conserving natural resources? Share them in the comments!
Image: Amber Locke at AMBA Living

I actually never thought about the produce bags. I thought I was eliminating plastic because of my reusable bags but I didn't think about the little plastic bags I'm putting all my fruits in!
I'm a huuuuuuge fan of farmers markets and actually have a serious problem when it comes to buying cute reusable bags :) These are great tips!
I've found that more and more retail shops are sending you off with a bag that can be reused these days. I know I use my old Urban Outfitter shopping bags for pretty much everything.