Before you throw something in your trolley ask yourself:

? How far did this travel?

? How much energy did it take to process and package this?

? How much nutrients am I getting from this?

With these questions in mind, here are some tips to make your trolley greener:

  1. Limit the amount of packaging you buy and recycle the packaging that you do use (Tuffy refuse bags are made of recycled plastic). Bottled drinks are a good example of unnecessary packaging, as is pre-prepared food.  Make your own tasty juices – try some of mine! Instead of buying pre-prepared meals, try to make some meals in advance to freeze or have a good, quick meal in the back of your mind for those emergency situations.
  2. Organic doesn’t mean it didn’t travel around the world. Opt for local organic produce, preferably bulk packaged. Many products, despite being organic are imported and therefore have a large carbon footprint.
  3. Seasonal, local, unpackaged fruit and veg is the way to go!  Choose fruits that are in season and have not been imported. Opt for the loose fruit and veg at the supermarket to cut down on packaging or support an urban gardening project like Harvest of Hope by buying a box of locally grown vegetables. Even better, grow your own veggies!
  4. Buy store-baked bread in a brown paper bag. This cuts down on packets of branded bread being trucked around the country.
  5. Buy locally produced pasta in bulk packs.
  6. Buying spices, rice and legumes from a wholesaler cuts down on transport and packaging. Atlas Traders in Bo Kaap, Cape Town is a dark cave of enticing aromas. Boxes of spices, rice and legumes line the shop and friendly shop helpers will scoop these into brown paper bags for you, folding the bags tightly closed with a practised flick of the fingers.
  7. When buying your rice opt for a quick cooking variety so that you use less energy when preparing it!
  8. Cut down on tinned products. A can of tinned beans or tomatoes means that the fresh items were transported to a central production area, processed, packaged, sent to a central distribution area, and then trucked to the shop. Make your own tomato pasta sauces instead of using tins of tomato. Try this delicious recipe.

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