The Ultimate Guide to Grocery Shopping with Zero Waste

Grocery shopping is an essential part of our lives, but it often results in an overwhelming amount of plastic packaging and unnecessary waste. However, with a few simple changes to your shopping habits, you can reduce your environmental impact and shop more sustainably. In this article, I will share with you how to do grocery shopping with zero waste and make more conscious choices.

Why Zero Waste Grocery Shopping Matters?

When we shop, we contribute to the waste problem that is suffocating our planet. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) reports that the worldwide production of plastic waste has more than doubled from 2000 to 2019, reaching a staggering 353 million tonnes. The majority of this waste (approximately two-thirds) is composed of plastics with a lifespan of under five years, with 40% originating from packaging, 12% from consumer goods, and 11% from clothing and textiles. By reducing our consumption of single-use plastics and packaging, we can help reduce the environmental impact of our daily activities.

Is 100% zero waste grocery shopping possible? 

Yes! Since the 2000s, a ton of awesome plastic-free stores have popped up and gained a huge following. These stores are all about minimizing waste by using reusable containers, offering bulk goods, and ditching single-use packaging. So, you can bring your own groovy reusable bags, containers, and jars to fill up with whatever you need, without the excess packaging. How cool is that? 

Here you can find a list of zero waste grocery stores in the US, but let me tell you about some super cool grocery options you might not have heard of. First up, there’s Rainbow Grocery in San Francisco, which is a grocery cooperative that lets customers choose the products they want to buy – and they’ve got over 800 bulk products, making zero-waste shopping a breeze!

Then, there’s Precycle in New York, which is a zero-waste supermarket that sells package-free produce and bulk goods like pasta, rice, and spices. Their goal is to help people reduce their food and packaging waste, so all their products are fresh, natural, and waste-free.

If you’re more into online shopping, I definitely recommend you to check out Loop, where you can buy food and household products waste free. Products are shipped in reusable containers, which you can return to get refills!

How to shop without waste at regular stores

Shopping without waste at regular stores can be a challenge, but there are several things you can do to minimize your waste and help protect the environment.

Plan Ahead and Make a List

Before heading to the store, take a few minutes to plan your meals for the week and make a shopping list. This will help you avoid buying items you don’t need and reduce the risk of food waste. Additionally, it will help you stay on track and avoid impulse purchases that contribute to unnecessary waste.

Bring Reusable Shopping Bags and Containers

One of the simplest ways to reduce waste when grocery shopping is to bring your reusable shopping bags and containers. Many grocery stores now offer reusable bags at checkout, but bringing your own is a great way to reduce plastic waste. Additionally, you can bring your containers for bulk items like grains, pasta, and nuts, which reduces packaging waste.

Buy in Bulk

Buying in bulk is a great way to reduce packaging waste and save money. By purchasing items like grains, beans, and nuts in bulk, you can avoid single-use plastic packaging and reduce the amount of waste you generate. Additionally, many bulk items are cheaper than their packaged counterparts, which saves you money in the long run.

Choose Package-Free Produce

When selecting fruits and vegetables, choose those that don’t come in packaging. Many stores now offer loose produce options that allow you to choose the amount you need and avoid plastic packaging. Additionally, consider shopping at farmers’ markets or joining a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program to support local farms and reduce the environmental impact of transporting produce.

Avoid Single-Use Plastics

Single-use plastics like plastic bags, straws, and utensils contribute significantly to the waste problem. To reduce your plastic consumption, consider using reusable options like cloth bags, metal straws, and bamboo utensils. Additionally, avoid purchasing products that come in single-use plastic packaging whenever possible.

Learn to Cook from Scratch

Cooking from scratch is an excellent way to reduce waste and make healthier, more sustainable food choices. By cooking at home, you can avoid the packaging and waste associated with pre-packaged meals and processed foods. Additionally, you can use up ingredients before they go bad, which reduces food waste and saves you money.

Choose plant based over meat

Veganism only is it great for your health, but it can also help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and lower your carbon footprint. Just look for the Certified Vegan or Certified Plant-Based stamp on the label, or check that the ingredients don’t include non-plant-based items like meat, eggs, or dairy. One brand we recommend is Plant Boss, which has easy-to-read labels and is transparent about its ingredients. Plus, their products are super tasty!

Reduce Food Waste

Reducing food waste is an essential part of zero-waste grocery shopping. To minimize food waste, plan your meals and shop for ingredients accordingly. Additionally, store your food properly to prevent spoilage and consider composting any food scraps. By reducing food waste, you not only reduce your environmental impact but also save money on groceries.

Support Local and Sustainable Farms

Supporting local and sustainable farms is a great way to reduce the carbon footprint of your food and support your community. By purchasing products from these farms, you can reduce the environmental impact of transportation and support ethical farming practices. Additionally, local and sustainable farms often offer fresher and more nutritious produce than conventional farms.

Spread the Word and Inspire Others

Once you’ve adopted zero-waste grocery shopping habits, it’s important to spread the word and inspire others. Share your experiences on social media, talk to your friends and family, and encourage others to make more sustainable choices. By working together, we can create a more sustainable future and reduce our environmental impact.


Zero waste grocery shopping is an excellent way to reduce your environmental impact and make more conscious choices. By planning ahead, bringing reusable bags and containers, shopping at zero waste grocery stores, buying in bulk, choosing package-free produce, avoiding single-use plastics, learning to cook from scratch, reducing food waste, supporting local and sustainable farms, and inspiring others, you can make a significant impact on the planet. Remember that every small change counts, and together, we can create a more sustainable future.