Earth Day, an international event inspired by college students, started in 1970 to call all people to focus on ongoing environmental issues. Currently, over a billion people take part in celebrating Earth Day by calling attention to conservation and sustainability. Luckily you can help celebrate Earth Day by making simple grocery store shopping changes!
Plastic vs. Glass
Ditch the plastic packaging and switch to glass! Some types of plastic contain a potentially harmful chemical known as BPA that poses threat to both human and environment health. Glass packaging is a great alternative with no health threat and can be reused later! If you do decide to use plastic packaging, always recycle.
Look for products that are compostable! Many companies are pushing to have their products display a claim of earth-friendly packaging. Look for words like “compostable”, “recyclable”, “low carbon footprint”, “renewable material” or “light-weight/ reduced packaging.” Biodegradable packaging is a huge step for cutting back on environmental waste!
Mother nature’s packaging is the best option. Fill your pantry and fridge with foods like fruits and vegetables that don’t require any packaging. Buying foods like oats, granola, rice, pasta, flour, sugar, legumes, and dried fruits (amongst others) can be bought in grocery stores in bulk with minimal packaging. Another idea is to bring your refillable containers to your local farmer market and buy bulk ingredients.
Rainforest Alliance Certified
Products like coffee, tea, bananas, cocoa, and pineapples are usually grown in tropical rainforest-like environments that need extra protection. This certification displays a tiny little green frog, which is a reliable label to show that the environment and the workers are meeting strict standards of care.
Fair Trade Certified
This certification promises that workers and farmers are being paid fair prices. The fair trade initiative is a social movement working to promote just global representation, while also working to protect the environment. Anything from hair care products to sugar to honey can display the Fair Trade stamp of approval.
Most commonly displayed on tuna products, this label guarantees that no dolphins are harmed by fishing nets or accidentally killed. This label also promises that no dolphin meat is in the product.
Marine Stewardship Certified
Purchasing sustainably sourced and caught fish should be a priority to all consumers. The seafood industry can be extremely tolling on the environment if proper levels of care are not followed. The MSC label is a credible organization that recognizes products for protecting habitats and ecosystems, along with other strict protocol.
The carbon and water footprint of many types of foods can be extremely costly to the
environment. Buying locally sourced foods is a great way to support local farmers and
businesses, while being a good steward of Mother Nature. Check out your local farmer markets, bakeries, and meat markets to see what seasonal options are available in your neighborhood. Try out local restaurants that support and use locally sourced foods as well!
Reducing your food waste weekly should be your new goal! You can cut back on the amount of food wasted by shopping only for a week at a time. Otherwise you may run the risk of buying too much food that goes bad. If your food does go bad, then have no fear! Try composting your peels and rotten fruits and vegetables, so that nutrients can be recycled into the soil or maybe your home garden.
Eat More Plants
Besides the obvious health benefits of eating plant-based foods, eating more plants helps the planet drastically! Cutting down on meat can significantly help reduce carbon emissions and water usage. Hop on the Meatless Monday bandwagon and explore the endless recipes that don’t require meat.
Bottom line is to know who made your food and where it came from, and how your decisions impact the environment. Take your new wealth of knowledge and reusable grocery bag to the supermarket!
Being a conscious and earth-friendly consumer will help support Earth Day’s vision. Starting these simple shopping habits will lead to a life of environmentally responsible decisions that might inspire others to jump on board!