The next step on my journey to minimise my plastic waste (after taking the simple steps such as reusable cup, straws, and plastic bags), was to start avoiding plastic in the food that I buy from the supermarkets. This was an interesting and somewhat challenging thing for me to do, and even though I am not fully plastic free, I am cutting down a lot by just shopping smarter and at different shops.
To reduce your waste while shopping, you’ll need:
- Jars (no need to buy any, old pasta or curry jars will do!)
- Reusable containers (preferably stainless steel or glass)
- Reusable produce bags (available here)
Coles and Woolworths
I do my regular grocery shopping at Woolworths, and find that I save a lot of money and reduce both plastic and food waste, by buying loose produce, and putting it in my reusable bags. I mainly do this with baby spinach, mushrooms and tomatoes. I only buy what I need and will use. If you do decide to do this, I would suggest putting the spinach in a container when you put it in the fridge, because it goes a little funny if you don’t take it out of the reusable produce bag.
Most Coles and Woolies have self serve nut and dried fruit area, in which the same principle above can be used. Just put them in your reusable bag, print of the label as usual and thats it. It saves money because you only buy what you need, whereas with the prepackaged ones, they usually come in such a large size! I also do the same with the bakery section, buy buying two bread roles and putting them into my reusable bag. This again saves food and plastic waste, because I hardly ever finish a loaf of bread to myself!
Another thing you can do, which seems a little daunting at first, but will eventually become normal, is to bring your own reusable container to the deli. This will save those flimsy takeaway containers that you usually get with olives, cheese, and meat! If they refuse, simply tell them that it is not against any law, or health code violation. If you want to read more about your rights to bring in your own container, read this article from Gippsland Unwrapped.
Bulk Food Stores
This is something that I have only started using in the past few weeks, and have pretty much fallen in love with it! It is such an easy way to save plastic packaging, in so many foods and drinks. There are bulk food stores everywhere, all around Australia, the most popular being The Source Bulk Foods. They sell a whole range of foods, such as flour, grains, nut, dried fruits, chips, cereals, coconut oil, peanut butter, kombucha, sweets, and so much more! They have all their food in big tubs, so when you go in, you can either bring in your own jars and containers (make sure they weigh them before you put stuff in them) or use the paper bags they provide, write down the number on the item, and bring it to the front, where they will weigh it again.
The benefit to this, is that you only buy as much or as little as you want! It really is a good way to save money, and reduce food and plastic waste! I often do this with muesli, sweets and rice crackers! And because you can buy flour, sugar, salt ect. for someone like me who bakes maybe once every few months, I can bring in the recipe, and only buy how much it asks for!
I know my readers are mainly based in Canberra and Brisbane, so below I’ve included a list of bulk food stores below:
- The Source Bulk Foods, Dickson shop 7, 30-42 Dickson Place, Dickson
- Naked Foods Organic Health Foods, 60/30 Lonsdale St, Braddon
- Mountain Creek Wholefoods, 14 Barker St, Griffith (Griffith Shops)
- The Food Co-op, 3 Kingsley St, Canberra
- The Source Bulk Foods, 404 Montague Road (The Stores), West End
- The Source Bulk Foods, 3/134 Oxford St, Bulimba
- Also coming soon to Bowen Hill and New Farm
- The Produce Wholefood Pantry, 230 Waterworks Road, Ashgrove
- Fundies Wholefoods Market, 219 Given Terrace, Paddington
Those are just a few, there are so many in Brisbane, so if you want to find one near you, google bulk food stores near me, and google should give you the answer! Thats my next step to living waste free! If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to email me via the contact page, or find me on Instagram @The_BlueScientist