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GREENER LIVING: Simple steps for more sustainable food shopping

February 24th, 2022 1:00 PM

By Niamh Hayes

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This article originally appeared in our GREENER LIVING magazine which is FREE in this week's Southern Star. Get your copy in shops across West Cork or online via the Southern Star digital edition ➡️  http://bit.ly/2Z9T9Z1

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Shopping more sustainably doesn’t have to be a difficut job. By making small changes to your buying habits, you can make a big difference to your carbon ‘food-print’, writes Niamh Hayes

MAKE A LIST

One of the easiest ways you can shop more sustainably is to write a shopping list before going to the grocery store. Have a look in your fridge, freezer and cupboards to see what you already have and pop down what you actually need on a piece of paper or as a note on your phone. This quick step will save you buying things that you don’t need and will prevent food waste and save you money in the long run, as it helps you to avoid impulse buying and buying too much.

SUPPORT LOCAL

When you buy food that has been produced in Ireland, you cut down on food miles – the distance the food has travelled from production to your plate. Not only will you be helping to cut down on the transport and associated emissions, but you will also be supporting local food producers and their livelihoods.

IN-SEASON

Look for seasonal produce. Food that isn’t in season will have to travel a long distance to get from a place where it is in season, to your local shop. Food that is in season will generally have less distance to travel and there will be less need to use preservatives to keep it fresh. These preservatives can be harmful to the environment so the less that is used, the better.

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This article originally appeared in our GREENER LIVING magazine which is FREE in this week's Southern Star. Get your copy in shops across West Cork or online via the Southern Star digital edition ➡️  http://bit.ly/2Z9T9Z1

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SHOP ORGANIC AND FAIR TRADE

If it is within your means, choosing organic food is usually the best environmental choice as the producers avoid pesticide use. Just be sure to check out where the produce has come from to again try and avoid huge food miles.

Fair trade labels indicate that the food producer is recognised and certified to follow fair trade standards, which means they use sustainable practices. By buying fair trade products, you are supporting these fair trade companies and therefore supporting sustainable and environmentally-friendly practices.

BUY TO COOK

Choosing fresh foods that you can cook a meal with is another way of shopping more sustainably because processed foods often have more packaging and the aforementioned preservatives.

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This article originally appeared in our GREENER LIVING magazine which is FREE in this week's Southern Star. Get your copy in shops across West Cork or online via the Southern Star digital edition ➡️  http://bit.ly/2Z9T9Z1

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FOOD WASTE

Cut down on food waste by eating everything you buy. In the first instance, be sensible with the quantities of food bought at the grocery store, but if you are a fan of buying in bulk, or just happen to overdo it some week in your shopping, prepare and cook the extra food and pop it in the freezer to be enjoyed later. Also, instead of throwing away leftovers and different odds and ends, make up a new meal with them – think hearty soups and curries!

MEAT CONSUMPTION

You don’t have to be fully vegetarian or vegan to make a difference when it comes to your ‘food-print’. Simply choosing to eat less meat can make a huge difference. When you are buying meat, look for the quality mark and buy from Irish producers. Supporting local meat producers is a way of getting more sustainable meat while also supporting local businesses.

PACKAGING

Another easy win when it comes to improving your grocery shopping sustainability is to avoid heavily packaged foods. If you have a choice between foods, aim to go for the one with less packaging. If the item is packaged, look on the label to see if it can be recycled. Also, if you are able to, buy a bigger version of the item to cut down on overall packaging.

Avoid using plastic bags for fruit and vegetables. There is generally no need to put a bunch of bananas or some peppers in a small plastic bag that you end up throwing away. Instead, keep them loose in your shopping trolley or bring reusable bags that can be used for fruit, vegetables and breads.

DON’T FORGET!

Remember to bring your reusable shopping bags! The easiest way to remember them is to put them straight back in your car once you’ve put your shopping away so that they’re ready and waiting for your next trip to the grocery store.

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This article originally appeared in our GREENER LIVING magazine which is FREE in this week's Southern Star. Get your copy in shops across West Cork or online via the Southern Star digital edition ➡️  http://bit.ly/2Z9T9Z1

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