The (Com) Post: 7 easy tips to reduce your carbon footprint while food shopping

Follow this guide to buy food in D.C. more sustainably

The (Com) Post: 7 easy tips to reduce your carbon footprint while food shopping
From what you bring to what you buy, there are many easy ways to be sustainable while food shopping.

Being eco-friendly when food shopping is a great way to start helping out the planet. Here are a few tips on how to shop for food with sustainable style.

Use reusable linen bags

Buying reusable linen bags for the supermarket is an easy, cheap, accessible and incredibly helpful way to start shopping sustainably. Bringing these reusable bags every time you shop for food will help the environment by decreasing the number of used plastic bags. Shopping with linen bags also eliminates the need to buy foods in plastic packaging and cuts down on extra waste. Plastic bags often end up in the ocean, and the amount of bags used by Americans each year require millions of gallons of oil to manufacture. Plus, D.C. has a tax on every bag you take and use from most shopping facilities, so bringing your own bags each time is not only good for the environment, it’s also good for your wallet. 

Buy seasonal foods

Seasonal vegetables and fruits can save resources such as water and oil. Seasonal food is fresher, tastier and more nutritious than food planted out of season. Generally, out-of-season food will spend more human and material resources. Buying seasonal products, such as apricots and corn, can be cheaper, so it will save you an extra few bucks as well. 

Shop local

Buying foods from local vendors benefits the environment and the local farming community. Direct-to-consumer food has fewer pesticides and herbicides, which are toxic to surrounding organisms and can contaminate soil and vegetation. Shopping locally can also help support the  local economy by creating jobs in the agricultural and service industry and allow local restaurants to serve higher quality meals. Students can turn to D.C.’s many farmers’ markets for locally grown food, many of which are easy to get to from campus.

Buy imperfect produce

Imperfect food cannot be sold out, leading to large amounts of food waste. More than 20 percent of the fruits and vegetables grown in the United States never leave the farm because they are not perfect enough to meet supermarkets’ standards. Try to buy imperfect food or sign up for a produce rescue delivery service to prevent unnecessary waste and reduce your carbon footprint. 

Choose glass, not plastic

Glass packaging is better for the environment than plastic packaging since glass is more easily recycled. Make sure that when you go to recycle your used glass products, they are clean, because otherwise, they can compromise the rest of the recycling.

To be even more sustainable in your food practices, you can also reuse your glass products for food storage at home. Glass cans and jars can become great holders for teas, coffee, rice, candy or any other food items in your kitchen that need a place.

Buy in bulk

Buying in bulk can offer many great waste-saving and money-saving opportunities for food shoppers. Bulk boxes are a good design for saving plastics and glass jars. Consumers can buy a greater amount of food while using their own boxes and bags as well. Buying in bulk also helps customers save money. People can buy food based on the amount that they need, which reduces how much they spend on the added cost of packaging.

Eat less meat and fish

Eating less meat reduces the amount of carbon dioxide that is produced by raising poultry. Animal agriculture accounts for about 14.5 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. By eating more beans, tofu and nuts to obtain vegetable protein, you can eliminate this unsustainable portion of your diet and shopping list.

Fishing also contributes to ocean pollution and the degradation of marine life. Overfishing and unsustainable fishing continue to threaten fish in both freshwater and marine ecosystems. When shopping, make sure to buy fish that is ethically sourced. Avoiding buying fish, or only buying eco-friendly fish, can immensely help lighten the burden that this product places on the environment.

Trying these tips will reduce your carbon footprint and help you to start leading a sustainable lifestyle.

zyuan@theeagleonline.com 

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