Let’s make our 2015 New Year’s resolutions green and easy to achieve. I propose we get started by heading off to our local grocery markets.
Grocery markets are ideal venues for undertaking our New Year’s resolutions for several reasons. First, we already shop for groceries on a regular basis so will not need to squeeze another activity into our already busy schedules. Second, grocery shopping is a recurring task giving us plenty of opportunities to practice and reinforce our new habits. Third, grocery shopping involves making straightforward decisions like to buy or not buy a particular food or item, switch to a different product, or try something new.
10 Green New Year’s Resolutions We Can Accomplish at the Grocery Market
We grocery shoppers are more powerful than we may realize. Each time we buy or do not buy a product we contribute to the data pool that farmers, manufacturers, and retailers analyze and use to make decisions about what to grow, make, and sell.
When millions of people make a change, even a small one, it all adds up. Take organic food, for instance, once considered a niche market, organic food is now available at national grocery chain stores and even some big box retailers. In part, this is due to a few people requesting and buying organic food, then more people, then many people, and eventually millions of people.
Imagine the positive impact we can achieve if each one of us chooses one of the ten green New Year’s resolutions below and incorporates it into our weekly grocery shopping. We can cut carbon emissions and reduce waste, make healthier food choices and even save money.
Making single-use disposable aluminum beverage cans is a wasteful application for a valuable material with a huge environmental impact. Since we are likely to buy beverages during each shopping trip, eliminating drinks that come in aluminum cans from our grocery lists is a green choice that keeps on giving week after week.
Bring Your Own Bags
Bringing our own reusable bags to the grocery market gives us an opportunity to be on the leading edge of a growing trend of people, municipalities, and even states saying no to single-use plastic bags, which are wasteful on so many levels. If we can remember to grab our wallets, we can remember our bags.
Pass on Packaging
Skipping single serve packages, buying in bulk, and bringing our own reusable produce bags are just a few of the options available for cutting down on the amount of throwaway packaging we bring home and later toss in the trash or recycle bin. Recycling is a good habit, but not having a package to recycle is even better.
Opt for Organic
Opting for organic fruits and vegetables over their conventionally grown counterparts supports environmentally and people friendly farming practices. If millions of shoppers purchased just one organic fruit or vegetable a week, surely produce department managers across the country would take notice.
Recycled Fiber is all the Rage
Soap Switch Up
Manufacturers have spent millions of dollars on advertising trying to convince us that we need to buy liquid soap in decorative plastic dispensers, even though it does not clean any better than bar soap. Spending less by switching to bar soap makes sense economically and environmentally.
Ban Bottled Water
Bottled water is not an environmentally friendly product and recycling the plastic bottles, which few people do, does not make it so. Banning bottled water from our shopping carts is green and good for our wallets.
Look for Local
Looking for and buying locally and regionally produced foods cut carbon emissions by reducing the number of miles our food travels. Locally grown produce is fresher (often picked the day we buy it) so it will last longer in our fridges and fruit bowls. Trying new local food products instead of buying our usual national brands can be fun and tasty too.
Fair Trade Fan
Purchasing fair trade products ensures farmers receive a fair price for the food they grow like cacao beans, coffee beans, and bananas. Farmers receiving fair trade certification are required to follow eco-friendly and sustainable agricultural practices, making buying fair trade products good for people and the planet.
Make More Meals Meatless
Buying less meat (especially beef) is perhaps the greenest New Year’s resolution we can accomplish at the grocery market. Growing grain for livestock feed and raising animals for meat has an enormous environmental footprint, which is growing as more people around the world eat more meat. Implementing meatless Mondays is an easy way to remember to eat less meat but any meal or day will work.
Hopefully, you found at least one of the above New Year’s resolution ideas appealing and decided to go for it. To increase your chances of success keep it simple, specific, and doable. For instance, make a resolution to buy bar soap for your shower, switch to recycled fiber toilet paper, or make one dinner a week meatless.
Let’s do it!
- 10 Green New Year’s Resolutions for 2013
- Aluminum Beverage Cans – Environmental Impact
- America Recycles Day – Start at the Store
- A New Take on the Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions for 2014
- Bags – Paper, Plastic, or Reusable?
- Eco-Friendly and Ethical Chocolate – Fair Trade
- Environmental Impact of Eating Meat
- Green Investing – New Year’s Resolution
- Keeping Clean – Bar Soap vs. Liquid
- Meatless Monday – More Fruits and Veggies Monday
- New Year’s Celebrations – Go Green
- New Year’s Resolution – Make it SMARTER
- Organic Food – What Does the USDA Organic Label Mean?
- Paper Facial Tissue – Green Alternatives
- Paper Towels – Green Alternatives
- Paper vs. Cloth Table Napkins – Which are Greener?
- What is the Environmental Impact of Bottled Water?