Welcome back! Here it is, my second Sustainable Living post and this time it's all about the weekly shop.
Living on Islay really limits where we can shop and ultimately makes it harder to buy green. On the other hand, it makes it incredibly easy to support local businesses, every cloud has a silver lining after all!
So, my weekly shop is relatively small, there's only two of us. We do our main shop at the Co-op (our only food store on Islay), we buy our meat at the butchers and our local produce comes from the Spa. Your shop will probably be very different, especially for those of you on the mainland, but here's my guide on how I try, really really try, to do my bit. Everyone can help change climate change, and rethinking what you pop in the trolley is a great way to start.
So here it goes, here's my shopping habits.
"I forgot my bags"
First things first, always remember your own reusable bags. Whether this is a bag for life or your favourite rucksack, remember that single use carriers are NOT recyclable and will still be kicking around the dump or ocean long after you're 6ft under.
I hear of many people claiming to 'recycle' or 'reuse' their single use carries as bin liners or to empty the litter tray. This is not recycling, nor is it reusing the product in an environmentally friendly way. Just say no. Stop accepting them as part of daily life.
I'll be making a post about my favourite eco-friendly carriers soon. Keep your eyes peeled.
In the Co-op
Here's where we buy most of our weekly supplies. It's our super little supermarket. However, like most stores, it's overflowing with unsustainable products and almost everything is over packaged. But the way we chose to shop can make our own basket that little bit greener.
- Say NO to fruit and veg that comes pre-packed. Or if you have one, support your greengrocer.
- AVOID those pesky little plastic bags provided for your loose fruit and veg.
- Try to REFUSE the meat products. There's a butchers for that.
- Pre prepared ready meal or pre prepared natural DISASTER? It's time to cook your own food.
- LIMIT your sweet treats. Unsustainable packaging with food that isn't too good for you either.
This is just the tip of the iceberg, but practice the above an you'll soon start to see a change in the way you look at the shelf.
At the butchers
I buy my meat products at our local butchers, it feels great to know your shopping and supporting local. Most butchers will be able to tell you where your food has come from, and how it was prepared making you more aware of your food footprint on the environment.
Try not to be put off by butchers prices. Ours feels expensive. But it isn't. If we bought our meat from the Co-op, or other supermarket, it's processed, the food doesn't go far. But from the butchers, it's fresh and goes further. So that extra penny you spent is eaten instead of shrunk into fatty water. I find that one butchers chicken breast compares to two or even three supermarket ones meaning you need to buy/cook less.
Our local Spa, like many corner shops, sells a variety of local produce. My new favourite is their Gigha milk. It's sooooo good! It's from a neighbouring island and delivered in traditional glass bottles, which the shop takes back to be reused. Brilliant.
We can also buy locally produced honey, jam, chutney, tablet. The list goes on. If you've not visited your small local shops lately it's time to pop in. You never know what you'll find!
So while my guide is small, it's a start. Small decisions make a big difference when your conscious of the of the consequences.
Are you changing the way you shop? Share your small supermarket decisions in the comments!