Contrary to popular opinion you do not need to calculate your carbon footprint as an individual to find out if you are meeting the parameters of a greener low footprint lifestyle – you can just look into your shopping trolley next time you go to the store and see right away how you are doing. Here are some gauges that you can apply in this self-assessment:
How much plastic is in your trolley besides those things you cannot avoid? Do you still have plastic wrap in there? Toss it out… you can find other creative ways to cover food that has less impact on your health and the environment.
If you buy cleaning liquids then buy in bulk as it is cheaper and there is less plastic used in one big bottle as versus many smalls.
Choose products that are packaged in paper over plastic as the paper can go to your wormery or compost heap whereas plastic ends up in landfill.
250ml cans are a waste of money and time particularly if you can buy fresh vegetables or dried beans. Canned tomatoes can easily be replaced with fresh and it will cost you less in money even though a little more in preparation time.
Dried beans are easy to soak and cook and are much healthier for you than ones that are massed produced.
Organic Vegetables –
Do you just buy whatever vegetables you find on the shelf or do you look to see what is imported and thus out of season for your area? Go one step further and buy locally grown vegetables and fruit in season at your local farmers markets which are cropping up all over the world.
Free range beef –
Weigh the price of cheap red meat and the quality of life that the animal has had against your green conscience. While feedlot beef is cheaper the meat is contaminated with the routine medication and hormonal supplement the animal is given. On top of this they are fed corn and grain which is not what they were created to eat, that being grass.
Find a local butcher who can source grass fed beef for you instead and buy in bulk every month on your own or with a group of friends.
Cleaning products –
Reduce your plastic further by making your own cleaning products and save the environment by using biodegradable bicarbonate of soda and vinegar for your household cleaning. There is no need to buy a cleaning product for each room and surface in your home – that is just an advertising gimmick to rob you of your hard earned money!
Personal hygiene products –
Similarly you do not need 10 different products for personal hygiene. If you prefer shop bought personal products, make sure the ones in your grocery trolley are free of petrochemicals and are biodegradable.
Feminine hygiene products can be replaced with a once off purchase of a menstrual cup which is healthier for you and the environment.
Grocery bags –
Lastly, when you come to pay at the till have you remembered your cloth grocery bags? It is no excuse that you forgot them at home… keep them in the car, replacing them as soon as you have unpacked your stash at home. Keep one small one in your handbag all the time for small shops too.