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Ways to Reduce Waste in Day-to-Day Shopping

written by: 00orange00•edited by: Laurie Patsalides•updated: 3/2/2010

We can change the way we impact the environment just by shopping with a waste aware attitude. Reduce waste in your day to day shopping by considering where products come from, how they are packaged, and how long they will last. This is all part of taking care of the earth and our fellow earthlings.

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    Examples of Reducing Shopping Waste

    Before you buy anything that you need, first ask yourself if you could buy it used. When you buy a used item, from an ecological footprint point of view, it's almost like not buying anything at all. You are preventing the used item that you are purchasing from becoming disposed of and turning into waste. You are also avoiding the production of manufacturing waste that would otherwise accompany the production of the new item which you can buy used.

    Some good places to find local used items are:

    • local charities
    • Ebay

    Other examples of ways you can reduce waste when shopping are listed below:

    • Buy items made from recycled materials
    • Buy re-conditioned items
    • Bring your own containers and buy bulk
    • Bring your own re-usable shopping bags
    • Buy local
    • Buy organic
    • Join a buying club
    • Connect with a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) venture
    • Do not purchase factory farmed eggs and meat
    • Buy range fed beef only

    Buy your groceries in bulk, as often as possible to avoid the purchase of un-necessary packaging material. Also think about how far the food or materials you are looking at in the store had to travel before they got to the shelf. Choose foods that are grown as close to home as possible and support local industries. Close to sixteen percent of America's energy bill is dedicated to the production, handling and transportation of food. You might think that this energy cost arises from the farming practices employed. Current corporate farming methods are very energy intensive. However, most of the West's food energy costs actually arise from transportation use. Food stuffs tends to be transported great distances from field, to production facility, and then to market. And for this reason, as a consumer, you can significantly reduce your environmental footprint simply by insisting upon buying local produce.

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    Getting Access to Local Farm Produce to Reduce Food Transport Wastes

    As our culture becomes more energy and waste conscious it will become easier to gain access to locally grown foods. In the mean time, doing your part to purchase as many locally grown foods as possible may take some work. Here are a few suggestions as to how this can be accomplished.

    • Buy foods when they are in season.
    • Avoid buying imported foods.
    • Find out if the smaller grocers in your area are buying locally, many probably are.
    • Visit the Farmers Markets in your area.
    • Ask your local grocer to buy local, and to label locally grown produce so you can can select it.
    • Join a buyer's club and encourage purchasing from Local Producers.
    • Contact a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) organization in your area.
    • Look for a local Organic Foods Delivery Service.
    • Make some summer time trips to pick-your-own fruit and vegetables.
    • Tell others about the importance of buying locally grown food.

    Do what you can to get local foods into your shopping bag. Make sure you tell others about the issue. When people know that there is a want, then the market has a place to expand. Consumer demand is what encourages a market to grow. As more and more people become interested in acquiring local produce, the local produce that you are looking for will start to become a lot more abundant. As demand for locally grown food rises, then availability also increases, and eventually, prices decrease, as marketing improves for the local producers.

Reduce Waste, the first of the Three R's of Recycling

When we made the three R's of Recycling ( reduce, reuse, recycle) we put Reduce first. That is because there is much more to waste than meets the eye. Reducing waste does not begin or end at the land fill. The question is: where is all the waste, and what can we do to reduce it.
  1. Why It is Important to Reduce our Waste
  2. Ways to Reduce Waste in Day-to-Day Shopping
  3. How Buying Locally Grown Organic Foods Helps the Environment
  4. Effective Ways to Reduce Waste