Minimalist/Zero-waste Grocery shopping

Okay guys, Zero-waste shopping is almost impossible where I live. Ninety-nine percent of the stores prohibit the use of your own jars and fabric bulk bags.

It can be frustrating at times.

Where I live, I still get strange looks when I bring my own reusable bag to put my groceries in.

I am determined though to minimize my harmful impact on the environment, as well as minimize my living in general.

So I proudly bring my bags to the store that I shop at every week, and even the butcher now knows me by name and knows that even though he doesn’t accept jars, he only puts my meat in paper (no little plastic lining papers, etc.)

The cashier knows me as well. I find that once people get over the initial strangeness of your bags and the fact that you refuse to use plastic produce bags, they are rather friendly.

When asked, I just say that I don’t like having plastic wrapped around my food. That’s it. I don’t go into all the zero-waste/minimalist stuff unless they ask why I don’t like plastic.

Anyways…here is the picture of my grocery haul from this week.


Okay, so even though the store doesn’t allow jars, I did a pretty good job avoiding plastic in general.

Let’s start with the bad news first…


  1. Paper produce stickers on all potatoes
  2. Plastic stickers on onions, spaghetti squash, shallots and oranges.
  3. Paper wrapper for meat- will be recycled
  4. Box from tea-which is actually my mothers lol
  5. Can from tuna- will be recycled
  6. Glass jars from juice, oil, and BBQ sauce- all will be recycled.
  7. Metal lids from juice and BBQ sauce- will be recycled.
  8. 1 plastic lid on the oil…I tried to avoid it, really I did. but all of the oils have plastic lids since they do not have a liquid bulk section. I use the oil for salad dressings and mayonnaise. I don’t think it can be recycled ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

Now for the good news…

  • All the produce that I bought was loose, without being wrapped in those plastic mesh bag thingies.
  • The lettuce had no stickers of any kind.
  • They forgot to label all the garlic too, so I got by without any packaging at all on those.
  • All of the food is healthy, organic, and more sustainably produced than it’s conventional counterparts ๐Ÿ™‚

Why? Why bother tallying up trash and limiting my shopping to pretty much package less food?

  1. I don’t like plastic. Period. I really think that having your food wrapped in a sheet of oil is kind of gross. Don’t even get me started on how the giant grocery store near me individually wraps all of the organic produce in plastic, even the peppers and zucchini, really? Is that necessary?
  2. I don’t like having to deal with trash.
  3. I really enjoy having my cupboards filled with glass jars that do not have tons of product names and labels on them, it is so pretty without all of the visual garbage. ๐Ÿ™‚
  4. I eat healthier. What can you get without packages? Whole foods. Healthy foods. Fruits, veggies, meats, etc.
  5. My life is easier in general, I know exactly what I am getting at the store before I go, I can be in and out in less than twenty minutes. Twice a week at most and I end up spending a max of forty minutes in the store.
  6. Less food waste, because I buy less food. It is really easy to see what you have when it is in Wicker baskets sitting by the table or in glass jars in the fridge and pantry.
  7. Last but certainly not least…I know exactly what I am buying, because there is no confusing packaging or mile long ingredients list, it is just real food. A banana is a banana, the end.

4 thoughts on “Minimalist/Zero-waste Grocery shopping

  1. Thanks for sharing your shopping experiences with us. I am going through the same, but living in Bangkok and the accessibility to organic food is very challenging and expensive. On top of that, I struggle to understand whether the suppliers are really organic as this is a trend which only recently started. I do get my veggies from the local farmers in order to avoid all the plastic packaging at regular supermarkets. By accident, I have found access to grains such as rice, beans, sesame seeds, etc. in Chinatown. I had to learn to get better organized with my shopping as Chinatown is a bit of trip for me. Through Facebook I have found communities, where we learn about making Kombucha, Kefir, fermentation and composting together, which kind of helps. However I am aware, that we are still light miles away in Bangkok. A city, which produces over 10,000 tons of waste per day and recycles only about 12% needs to start with more awareness for its people…. Really loved reading your article. This community inspires me to continue my quest on going ‘nearly’ zero waste.


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