My zero waste food shopping routine

mason jars with bulk dry goods

After a long break, I am back in Berlin and trying to make the most out of the remaining summer season. That mostly means going to a lake, open air cinema, free concerts at a park, as well as the afternoon ice cream dates.  I am also happy to return to my zero waste food shopping routine.

zero waste lifestyle shopping store home

Heading out to the food market

I organise my food shopping according to the local market schedule, which is there on Wednesday afternoons and Saturday mornings. If we are not eating at home that much, we visit the market on the weekend. Otherwise, it’s twice a week. We mostly live on our fruits and veggies, so we need to buy an awful lot and market has a lot to offer. It is also a lovely event and I enjoy visiting on (bi-)weekly basis.

My common goal is to just bring home a basket full of fresh produce. We pick them up spontaneously according to what is offered at the best price. I give produce loosely to the market sellers to weigh, or in my cotton bags if there are many smaller fruits and veggies. I usually grab zucchini, carrots, bananas, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, paprika, plus something I haven’t had in awhile.

Tiny delicate things like mushrooms, cherry potatoes and berries are often offered in open plastic containers. I usually ask for the price of one container, then fill the produce in my own bag and return the container for reuse. I carry the bag with delicate fruits and veggies in my free hand or in the basket, on top of everything else.

zero waste lifestyle shopping store home fresh tomatoes

On the weekends, there is also my favourite stall, ready with soft cheese and olives of all sorts. Lovely people there are always happy to fill up my container and jar (I seem to grab a bigger one each time). No need to weigh them forehand, as they will do it themselves.

We seem to be incapable of eating pasta (or anything else for that matter) without these two crucial ingredients!

zero waste lifestyle shopping store home olives and cheese

Filling up my jars in the store

Once a week (or sometimes every two weeks, as it happens) I also go to a local store with bulk goods to fill up my jars and buy some other products that I like. Pure luck that I have a store like that in my neighbourhood, and I enjoy those visits too. I usually fill my jars with pasta, our morning oatmeal, rice, nuts, chickpeas and whatever else draws my attention.

Often I buy a couple of packaged products. This time it’s yeast in paper and syrup in a glass bottle. Other time it will be eggs in a carton box, flour in a paper bag or chocolate bar in a carton wrapping. Or olive oil, sauces, antipasti and spreads in a glass. I try my best to avoid plastic, but that can happen too if I run out of cheese or decide to have some meat.

We mostly bake our own bread and make nut milk ourselves. It’s just practical to not need to run to the store as we run out of those two things.

There is always room for improvement. I could find a better place to get certain products or make some sauces myself. But I like to take it slowly and make sure that my routine is easy, rather than perfect. If there is some waste at the end of the day, then let it be.

zero waste lifestyle shopping store home mason jars bulk

Every month or two I also make a little trip to a zero waste store. I stock up on bulk baking soda, spices and other rarely found bulk items. Alternatively, I buy those spices in bigger paper bags in my store.

Long gone are the days of waiting in the line of a supermarket, filled with plastic wrapped products. Now I actually enjoy grocery shopping – anyone else?

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4 Comments Add yours

  1. Liz says:

    Those tomatoes! The colour! I agree, it feels so good to avoid the supermarkets 🙂

    1. Sara @ untrashified says:

      yes <3

  2. Lisa Cole says:

    I go to the market on Friday, 2 days away but I’m excited about it now after seeing your pics! At my local food market you can grab a cardboard box to fill which works well if you forget reusable bags. Thanks for the info about zero waste shopping with your own jars too.

    1. Sara @ untrashified says:

      Hey Lisa, I’m so glad to hear that 😀

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