New to zero-waste shopping, or want to start? Great, I have 3 tips for your first zero-waste shopping trip.
If you are new here (who am I kidding, this is a new blog, everyone is new here), then you might want to read about my “Zero-waste experiment“. I’m challenging my family and myself to work towards being more eco-friendly, with an emphasis on going zero waste, starting by reducing our use of plastics.
In my effort so far, I’ve stopped buying plastic wraps and baggies. I’m using beeswax food wraps that I made myself instead. We are trying to buy local when possible. And, when we do shop, we bring our reusable grocery bags.
In my research, I’ve sourced out a few sustainable or no-waste stores, here in Niagara. The Bulk Barn (which now allows you to bring in your containers) and Garden City Essentials, a little boutique shop downtown St. Catharines.
So, my next step in my zero waste experiment is to start buying from bulk using reusable containers.
I was excited about my first visit to Garden City Essentials. As I have never been to this type of store, I didn’t know what to expect. I also didn’t buy anything in bulk, in reusable containers. I used my first visit to get acquainted with their products and talked to them about their procedures so that next time, I can be prepared.
Based on my visit, and my research from the Bulk Barn, I have a few tips that you need to know about before shopping in bulk using your containers.
Tips for new zero-waste shoppers:
Make a list
The whole point of being more “sustainable”, eco-friendly, or “green”, is to buy only what you need. So, before you head out, make a list of what you need and how much you need. If buying food, you will want to avoid buying too much. You won’t want it getting stale, or spoil before you get to use it.
Also, sometimes the sticker shock of the of price the products might hit you hard. I touch on this subject in my post about the inconvenient truth of going green. Remember, less is more!
What to bring when zero-waste shopping
- reusable glass or ceramic jars with lid
- reusable produce bags
- reusable grocery bags
If shopping for food, you might want to read up on the store’s policies for bringing in containers. For example, at Bulk Barn, reusable containers must be designed to carry food. Containers must be free of chips or cracks. Bags or jars will need to be free of any food residue.
Containers must have resealable lids. Bags must clip closures or drawstrings. They also note they will not allow you to reuse paper or plastic bags.
At Garden City Essential, they don’t carry food, so they only stressed that the containers must be clean and dry.
When buying in bulk your clean and dry containers will be weighed by staff before you start filling them, then again after filling them so that you are not paying for the weight of the jar, just the product.
How to wash your containers/bags:
You can either wash your containers (don’t forget the lid too) in a dishwasher or hand wash them with soap. Rinse your containers with some diluted vinegar and follow with a final rinse of hot water. Let air-dry overnight.
As for your bags, since they are delicate, I suggest hand washing them and letting them air dry.
So, now that I’ve done my research, I’ll be better equipped next time to come with my reusable containers to shop. Are you a zero-waste shopper? What tips do you have for a beginner’s First zero-waste shopping trip? Write them in the comments below, I’d like to hear from you.
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