How to have a plastic-free supermarket shop

Six simple steps to a greener trip
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When it comes to avoiding plastic, the grocery store can resemble something of a minefield. With plastic at every turn and aisle, we chat with waste warrior Lottie Dalziel of Banish just in time for Plastic Free July to help demystify the supermarket and turn your grocery trip green. 

“We can look to major governments and organisations to make changes, like banning plastic bags but as individuals, we have the power to say no and influence their decisions from a grass-roots level.”

Lottie Dalziel, Banish founder

“With 1580kg of plastic dumped in Australia’s oceans every hour, there’s no time left to bury your head in the sand,” says Lottie.

Here are six ways to go beyond shopping bags and cut down your plastic consumption to make lasting change for the better:

1. Good onya

Produce bags are a great tool to help cut out plastic in your shop. Not only are they great for small finicky vegetables like beans and brussel sprouts but they’re also great for dry stores like lentils and rice. Leave a couple inside your shopping bags so you’re always prepared.

2. In the bag

Say ‘see-ya-later’ to plastic bread packaging and tags by bringing your own bread bag. Onya’s bread bags are made from 10 recycled plastic bottles and fit even the biggest sourdough loaves. Plus they also help prevent freezer burn – it’s a win-win!

How to have a plastic-free supermarket shop
Put your small fruit & veggies in these (Credit: Banish)

3. Bring your own container

Popping your meat straight into a container or jar is a simple way to slash your plastic packaging. Whilst, unfortunately, most supermarkets won’t allow you to bring your own container to the deli, most independent butchers and delicatessens will.

4. Package power

As much as a 100% zero waste shop sounds appealing it isn’t realistic for everyone. When you are purchasing products in packaging evaluate their environmental impact as well as economic value. For example, buy pasta in boxes and cheese and milk in jars when you can over plastic. Sometimes an innocent box will have a plastic bag inside (i.e a box of cereal) give it a shake test so you can hear if there’s any plastic inside.

How to have a plastic-free supermarket shop
Hidden plastic is a trap

6. If in doubt go without

Food waste is an astronomical issue in Australia, costing the Australian economy 20 billion each year and each household around $1,500. Extend the shelf-life of your fruit and veg with The Swag Bags, their three-layer moisture-locking technology allows your produce to breathe and keeps carrots fresh for up to 3 weeks.

Not sure how your food waste measures up? Check our guide.

6. Big softie

If you do come home with some soft plastic, don’t stress. Give it a good rinse and clean and take it back to your local Coles and Woolworths. If you’re unsure what should end up in your recycling or soft plastics bin, check out REDCycle’s guide.

If you’ve slain your plastic free shop and are ready to take the plastic-free challenge to the kitchen. Read our eco-kitchen swaps. 


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These women swapped their kitchen plastic for sustainable options

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