Zero Waste Shopping Tips During a Pandemic [or other Emergencies]

First and foremost YOUR safety is the most important thing.
Not only your physical health, but also your mental health.
Online strangers in Zero Waste groups may say differently.
Rest assured, compassionate people will understand that some people may face challenges.

Shopping Bags and Checking Out
I personally prefer self checkouts.
I always preferred to use self check out as I hate small talk and I like to pack my own groceries. All those years of Tetris have paid off.
Right now, it limits how close and how long I need to be around people.
It allows me to use my own bags as some stores aren’t allowing you to use your own shopping bags. The ones that do let you use them at a regular check out make you pack your own bags. I prefer to save my time and just use the self checkout.
When I get home, I wipe off and clean my bags.
An alternative… they may even just let you put all the items back in your cart without a bag. This would require showing a receipt, which many people are saying not to accept.

shopping bags

If you end up with having to use plastic bags… Don’t feel too bad.
You can use them as trash bags around the house.
Use them to collect your dog’s poop on walks, or give them to someone with a dog. Take them on your nature walks to collect litter. Use them to stuff your shoes when you store them.
When the world gets back to normal you can go back to refusing the bags.
In my city, shopping bags are recyclable.

Grocery Items
Items in the grocery store can be limited right now.
I know we have had to make last minute changes to our meal plans and shopping lists. Some bigger stores that offer bulk items are not allowing you to use your own containers. Bulk Barn is not allowing your personal containers, and for safety reasons are only allowing associates to get your items. This means you end up with plastic bags. These bags could be reused and repurposed. One local store, MultiServices Vert (which I call the milk store) still allows your personal containers. If you can, check out businesses online. Call or email them to see what their polices are. It’s always better to choose local stores over large national chain stores. But at this time, YOUR survival and mental well being is the most important!

As you’re selecting items go for those with the least packaging.
Choose glass or cardboard over plastic.
If you have to get plastic, try to make sure it’s recyclable in your area or try to reuse it.
Feeding your family is the goal.

Learn How To Make It
If you’re having trouble finding items you want, in the packing you want … you can always try and make it yourself! Recipes can be found for almost everything online.
Since we’re all supposed to be staying at home, take the time to learn how to make your favourite items. Have some fruit that isn’t going to be eaten in a timely manner? Look up a recipe for a cobbler or bread.
Some basics to try and keep on hand:
– all purpose flour
– baking powder
– salt
– sugar
– eggs or applesauce to replace the eggs
– vanilla

Don’t beat yourself up.
No one is perfect.
Do the best you can and keep trying to reduce your impact!




14 thoughts on “Zero Waste Shopping Tips During a Pandemic [or other Emergencies]

  1. Great tips. I feel you so much on the self-check out. I’m totally like that. Lol. I’ve always loved and now it’s much more of a life saver. Wish all the stores had them. But I am happy that stores that I go to that don’t have self-check out now have Plexiglas between you and the cashier and most staff are wearing masks. I do appreciate it. And we always reuse our plastic bags for other trash around the house.

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  2. We have our own bags for produce and all groceries but I don’t want to wash them down after every trip. We use our grocery sacks as garbage sacks in the bathrooms and car. Or I’ll take them back to the store to be recycled. Great tips! Thanks for sharing.

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  3. Thanks for all these great tips and reminding us that despite all that’s happening, it’s so important to change our habits to incorporate zero-waste. As a family, we ensure we don’t waste any food supplies and no matter what’s in the fridge, even if it’s reaching its expiry date, we find something to whip up so that it all gets used.

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  4. Great tips! I always have my reusable bags handy for shopping trips, and I prefer to use self checkout too when I don’t have too much stuff!

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  5. We have been trying a lot of veg and fruit boxes that get delivered to our house and there is literally zero waste. Thank you for linking up with us for #kcacols and we hope to see you next time.

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  6. Thanks for the tips. I agree it is so important to do our best to be more zero waste. We always bring our shopping bags when we go to the supermarket. We try not to use plastic bags. Thanks for sharing these tips at #kcacols x

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  7. I always use reusable bags and I can see how they’re even more important right now! I wish I could use them for when I bought my groceries online. Instacart should start offering a service like that! thanks for these tips 🙂

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