GROCERY SHOPPING SUSTAINABLY

SHOPPING SUSTAINABILITY

WHERE TO START

 

We all want to change the current state of the environment, starting with our everyday habits, but where do we begin?

It can be an overwhelming and daunting thought: the enormity of climate change, the mass amount of plastics in our oceans, and the uncertainty of how we can contribute in a way that really makes a difference.

Sometimes it feels like no matter what we do, it won't be enough. With so much controversial news, we wonder what is true and what is not?!

Thankfully, there really is no act too small to play a part in transforming the world for the better. Even a simple task as grocery shopping can shift the scales in terms of how the food industry manufactures and sells goods.

Here are simple ways to transition your necessary grocery shopping task into one that can make a difference and help the greater cause.

LOOK FOR SEASONAL PRODUCE

 

Seasonal produce offers the same ecological benefits as regional goods. Foods that are grown in-season require less transportation to make it to your supermarket. We live on an island where transport of some food is necessary, but if products are in season, they have fewer environmental factors to grow, crop, and transport for sales.

Less transportation means less need for preservatives. Produce in season requires less of them, which is better for the natural environment and your body.

Long-distance foods may even lose some nutrients during transit, whereas local foods are usually sold within days of harvest. The more seasonal it is, the more nutritional clarity.

The local farmer’s market is a great place to source seasonal produce, though, in places like Cayman, your nearest grocery store will likely work just as well. It all makes a difference.

Look up which crops are in season when you head to the store and keep a list of them in hand to assist you as you shop. This practice can make a difference whether you do it with every shopping trip or just once a month.

We post a weekly market report with all seasonal produce. To see this week's list. 

 

CLICK HERE

BRING REUSABLE SHOPPING BAGS

 

One way to grocery shop sustainably is to skip the single-use plastic shopping and produce bags while in the store. You can opt for reusable shopping bags and produce carriers to tote your goods.

Plastic bags are difficult to recycle because they become tangled in the machinery at recycling facilities. They're also flimsy and thin, which isn't the most effective type of plastic for manufacturing new items.

Colored bags, in particular, may interfere with robotic sensors used to sort recyclables, which slows down the sorting line.

These bags can end up in landfills, sidewalks, or bodies of water, where they affect the environment in detrimental ways.

Local grocery stores sell reusable cloth bags or some bags that are even made of recycled plastics. As well as cloth and mesh produce bags are available at your local shops.

Cayman is shifting every day, with more and more options becoming available all the time. We now have multiple eco-friendly and plastic-free shops available to purchase reusable bags and other plastic-free lifestyle items. Including Plastic Free Caymans new shop EcoCay, which you can see 

 

HERE

CHOOSE FRESH FOODS

 

Whole, fresh foods are always a great choice when you’re trying to grocery shop sustainably. These products do not undergo the same heavy production methods as processed food items. This means that they also retain more nutrients and produce a smaller carbon footprint while typically using little to no packaging.

When purchasing your fresh food items, chose items that are not in packaging, and bring your reusable produce bags to keep them clean and separate.

One study by PNAS found that minimally processed plant-based foods had the lowest impacts across five environmental aspects. These include greenhouse gas emissions, land use, water scarcity, acidification, and eutrophication — two forms of nutrient pollution.

To read more about this.

 

CLICK HERE

TRY PLANT BASED EATING

 

You don't need to give up meat to eat sustainably; however, it's a good idea to incorporate fruits and vegetables into your current diet in certain areas. Though all mass-produced food products require some processing level, meat products consume more resources than fruits or vegetables do.

For example, beef alone used 28 times more farmland, 11 times more water, five times more greenhouse gases, and six times more reactive nitrogen than the average use for dairy, poultry, pork, and eggs combined.

In comparison, crops like potatoes, rice, and wheat required two to six times fewer resources than beef. 

This is a large and daunting thought to remove meat; don't feel that you need to be extreme. Making choices to eat more sustainable does not have to mean all or nothing; everything is about balance. Start small by substituting a couple of meals a week for vegetable-based recipes or adding more plants as side dishes. 

You do not need to be fully vegan to make a difference; you can find ways to incorporate more plant-based foods and reduce your meat or animal product intake. This alone can make a large difference not only in the environment but in your everyday health. 

A fun way to start being creative in the kitchen again, and once you notice the energy boost, you will want to continue incorporating more plant-based foods into your diet.

For some plant-based cooking tips for beginners

 

CLICK HERE

CHECK YOUR PLASTICS

 

Did you know that not all plastics can be recycled?

Plastic items are everywhere when you shop for your favorite foods, but that doesn't mean you have to give up the cause for being more environmentally conscious.

Being aware of what kinds of plastics you consume helps you ensure they make it to the recycling plant instead of the landfill.

If you buy an item with plastic packaging, check its resin identification code — a small number inside of a triangle. This symbol tells you which of these seven types of plastic it’s made from:

  1. Polystyrene (PS)
  2. Polypropylene (PP)
  3. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC)
  4. High-density polyethylene (HDPE)
  5. Low-density polyethylene (LDPE)
  6. Polyethylene terephthalate (PETE)
  7. All other plastics, including acrylic and nylon

HDPE and PETE products have a much better chance of seeing the recycling plant than others on this list. Their physical characteristics make them easier to recycle and reuse for subsequent items. By choosing HDPE and PETE goods whenever possible, you'll have an easier time recycling your single-use plastics.

We don't want to give up all of the things that we love, but we can enjoy it in a way that still makes a difference. 

 

BUY IN BULK

 

Bulk goods are excellent alternatives to individualized packaging, which uses more plastic to produce. 

You can buy in bulk from your local grocery stores.

Tip: Bring your own mason jars, reusable/recyclable small paper bags, or cloth pouches to put your bulk items in.

Did you know at Fosters Camana Bay, you can even make your own nut butter?

Many smaller shops locally are also now practicing zero-waste selling. Check out Eat Breathe Be Well Cayman and Kyklo Cayman, to name a few.

Your products like lotions, shampoo, dry beans, nuts, and much more can be bought in bulk and stored in large containers that you can select portions from.

It's fine to stick to pre-packaged bulk items — you're still making a difference by shrinking your resource consumption. Lifestyle changes take time, and everyone moves at their own pace. We are also aware that being on a small island is limiting, but even small steps can make a big difference.

Looking to purchase items in bulk locally? You can do so at our Cash & Carry.

 

CASH & CARRY

CLEVER STORAGE IDEAS

 

Buying everything in bulk can be a daunting task; What do you do with it all, and how do you store it?

If purchasing food items, you can use glass jars and storage containers or recycled plastic containers.

Make your food last longer by storing perishable goods front and center. It's easier to forget about them if they're in the back of the fridge or the freezer.

Glass and recycled plastic containers give you visibility into which foods you have, so you can plan meals around what you already have and know exactly what to buy on subsequent grocery store runs.

If you have purchased items that come in recyclable containers, save them and use them as storage containers for bulk items and leftovers.

You can also purchase wall-mounted dispensers.

If you want to purchase bulk items but aren't sure you'll finish them before they expire, put a portion of them in your freezer or preserve them. 

Looking to store other household items, use - hanging shoe organizers, over the door racks, airtight bins, under the bed storage, fridge and freezer bins, craft caddies, or baskets.

Many items are used for an organization that can be converted into storage for all of your bulk items.

Bonus- your house will be very organized and feel clutter-free...ZEN DEN!

 

START SMALL AND DO WHAT YOU CAN - LITTLE CHOICES MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE