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☆ 10 Easy Zero Waste Food Hacks [Part 4/4] ☆

If you've been following my zero waste food series, you've probably learned a little bit on food conservation by now. Today I'm sharing some tips on eco-conscious grocery shopping, providing sustainable alternatives, ways to save money while purchasing food and some great hacks for when you think you can't avoid packaging or excess plastic.

1. Make a list of what you need and purchase food in bulk.  
Buy what you need in the bulk section as the outcome is usually still cheaper. You're reducing the chances of impulse purchases and focusing on what you really need at home.

Opt for cotton produce bags instead of plastic
2. Use canvas, produce bags or glass jars. Especially if you're going to the local farmer's market as people give you a plastic bag for everything. If you're in a supermarket, use glass jars  or produce bags for items that need to be weighed.  Unfortunately you'll still get the sticker but that can be eco-bricked. 

Bamboo cup which I take with me to refill for coffee or tea
3. Refill when you can. Repeat after me: glass jars and bamboo cups are my friend. Refill on juice or milk if your supermarket offers the opportunity. Glass jars are great for refills, whether that's for solids such as dried fruit or liquids like milk or juice. Local breweries also usually accept refillable beer jugs, so you really don't have an excuse!
4. Use a cloth bag for bread. Easy peasy - wash, dry and reuse. No waste necessary. 

Plastic straws are for suckers
 5. Refuse small items that will end up in trash, especially after first use. Bread tags, receipts, straws, plastic stickers. Purchase bread in paper bags at the grocery store if the option is available, otherwise if you're at the farmer's market just use a cloth bag. Bamboo or stainless steel straws are great investments as they save so many straws from just ending up in landfill. Stickers can't be recycled, so if you can't avoid them, perhaps eco-brick them. When you're purchasing something, refuse the receipt or ask the cashier not to give it to you, unless you need it if you're monitoring finances, but if you're paying by card you can use an apps to see how much you're spending and where you're spending it.
8. Try to shop at supermarkets that are eco-friendly. They'll often have what you're looking for. Granted, they can be a tad pricey so rather invest in items that will last you a while. Markets are a much cheaper alternative to the supermarket and they're eco-friendly too as all produce is locally grown - just take your own bag and you're good to go.

8. Try to choose recyclable packaging. Cardboard, metal, paper. Plastic can never really be recycled as its a material designed to last. 

Stainless steel over styrofoam

9. Bring your own cup/glass/straw/container etc. You never know if you're going to feel hungry and some grocery stores have built in cafés as well as vending machines or coffee machines. I like to keep a stainless steel container for leftovers if I'm at university or at a restaurant that offers leftovers. Most don't have the leftover option in the Netherlands but if they do I ask for my food to be put in this container instead of styrofoam packaging.  Reduce your carbon footprint by being prepared. 

10. Compost! I struggle with this as I have roommates who don't want to start composting. Some people freeze produce suitable for compost as to avoid the smells and then compost it later. Do what works for you, but try to minimize your waste as this is our goal. 

What did you think of this series so far? Is there anything you'd like to know? If you liked this, check out the previous 3 zero waste posts about food consumption!

1. Zero Waste Food: Starter Kit
2. Zero Waste Food: Grocery Shopping 
3. Zero Waste Food: Avoiding Plastic

All my love,



  1. Love the post! I try my best to minimize my waste as well! I also have the same stainless steel straws and they are amazing!


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