Tips to Reduce Waste – Buy Local

Does your concern for the environment extend to your food shopping? Read on to learn how to reduce your footprint while shopping:

Everybody needs to eat and whether you pop out to the store every few days, order your goods online or frequent local markets, everybody has to shop. Grocery shopping is a chore that can’t be ignored, but it doesn’t have to be a bad habit – there are many ways to make your food purchases better for the environment.

Bring your own bags
How it helps: Canadians use about 10 billion plastic bags every year, each of which takes hundreds of years to decompose once it reaches a landfill. Buying reusable bags or bins eliminates the need for plastic. Have the best intentions but always forget your bags at home? Try string or mesh carryalls instead of store-brand canvas or reusable bags. They roll up small enough to fit in a coat pocket or the bottom of your purse, so you’ll never be without a bag. Find out more:

Buy local and in season
How it helps: On average, the food we eat in North America has traveled about 2,400 kilometres before it gets to our plates. Buying strawberries from farmer Julie’s roadside stand on the way home from work requires far less carbon than purchasing the imported-from-California equivalent (which they certainly aren’t, since they’re picked far before they ripen). Learn your local growing seasons, get out those jars and make room in the freezer to preserve local produce for the rest of the year. Watch signs and labels for country of origin and keep in mind that “Canadian-made” doesn’t necessarily mean local: not only is Canada huge, but some Canadian companies import raw goods and process them into new products. Find out more:

Avoid packaging when possible
How it helps: If you think about what’s filling your garbage can every week, you’ll notice a recurring theme: packaging, packaging, packaging. Much like plastic bags, food packaging clogs our landfills, so seek out products with as little wrap as possible, like blocks of cheese instead of individually wrapped slices, large jugs of juice you can pour into your own containers instead of juice boxes, and yogurt tubs or pudding mixes you can separate into individual servings at home.

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