Whether you live in one of America's greenest cities such as Eugene Oregon, or in a place where the infrastructure isn't so environmentally friendly, there is still a place where you can have a positive impact on the environment- at the grocery store. Let's examine a few ways that you can make your food choices better for the environment.
Bring Your Own Grocery Bags
One of the worst things for the environment is plastic. Most plastics take hundreds, if not thousands of years to decompose. An easy way to limit the amount of plastic bags that you use, and ultimately throw away, is to purchase reusable grocery bags.
Purchase Less Packaging
Buy products with as little packaging as possible. Instead of multi-packs, purchase large jugs of juice and use your own containers. Look for a block of cheese instead of individually wrapped slices.
Organic foods are grown without the use of chemicals or other pesticidal agents that harm the environment. If you are purchasing organic meats, in theory, these have been raised apart from the ecologically destructive factory farming system.
Supporting your local farmers market can save a significant amount of carbon emissions. Instead of foods being shipped hundreds or even thousands of miles, most farmers market offer fruits, vegetables, and other goods produced by members of your own community.
Eating a vegetarian meal is a great way to help the environment. Commercial animal agriculture is the largest producer of greenhouse gases.
In addition to being responsible for some eighteen to twenty percent of total greenhouse emissions, animal farms are the number one producer of methane gas. Methane has twenty one times the warming potential of carbon dioxide. Additionally, meat production uses up to twenty times more energy and ten times more water than producing a similar quantity of grain.
Don't fall into the trap of making random trips to the grocery store. Make a list and plan your meals accordingly. By planning ahead for grocery shopping and making less frequent trips you will save on both fuel and the associated greenhouse gas emissions. Planning also helps to eliminate waste. By sticking to your planned grocery list you are less likely to make sporadic purchases that will possibly go uneaten and have to be discarded.
A great benefit of "green" grocery shopping is that most ecologically friendly food items are quite healthy. You will often find yourself eating foods that are both nutritious and tasty, while also being low in harmful additives, artificial flavors, and fat. Combine your newfound healthy eating habits with thirty minutes of daily exercise and chances are, you'll be around long enough to see the positive effects that both you and others like you are having on the environment.
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