Why Zero-Waste Grocery Shopping Matters

Food shopping seems like one of the most wasteful aspects of our society — especially when it comes to plastic.

According to the EPA, 23% of the trash Americans are sending to landfills comes from containers and packaging — a good portion of which is food packaging. The average American creates 4.4 pounds of waste every day, which means we’re using roughly a pound of plastic daily.  

Fortunately, the zero-waste grocery movement is making it easier to cut back on grocery packaging. There’s no pre-packaged or premade foods at these stores, instead they offer bulk items that you can put in your own reusable containers. Along with vegetables and grains, stores like Precycle in Bushwick sell liquids to buy in bulk like olive oil and honey.

According to the Food Marketing Institute, 8% of the price of our food comes from packaging, so shopping plastic-free is actually a more budget-friendly option.

But if you do have to shop at a conventional grocery stores, make sure to avoid unnecessary packaging. Look for unwrapped produce and put them in your own produce bag instead of using a plastic bag to store them while shopping. A lot of grocery stores also have bulk sections, that allow you to buy the portion of food you prefer and store it in a reusable container.