Greening My Grocery Shopping

I read somewhere the average American throws away 25% of their groceries.  That’s due mostly to spoilage of meats, fruits, and vegetables.   No way around it, that’s wasteful.  It wastes money. No one likes to waste money.  It wastes food.  It wastes resources.  It costs energy, money, and creates environmental impacts to grow food and raise livestock.

I also read, the most efficient way to grocery shop to avoid wasting food is to shop every 2 weeks and buy only what you’ll use in those two weeks, clearing your pantry and refrigerator during that time.  It requires meal planning for two weeks at a time, which is a bit of a drag, but not so terrible as to prevent me from continuing.

So, I thought I’d give it a try.   I thought maybe I’d save some money and help reduce the amount of food our family uses.   Reduce, reuse, recycle, that’s my motto.

I’ve been doing it about 6 weeks now, and so far, so good.  I’m still working through my pantry to get rid of some of those things I bought, used part of, and then crammed back into the pantry and forgot about.

So far, I’m noticing quite a few benefits to the new system.  I am definitely throwing out less produce.  It’s not perfect, but it’s a lot better.

I’m getting better at improvising my cooking.  I get a CSA box every other week and I don’t know what I’ll be getting.  I’m using a lot more of the box and cooking a little more spontaneously.  I’m a cookbook kind of cook.  If it’s in a cookbook, I can make it, but I don’t often just make something based on what ingredients I have on hand.  I think that’s an improvement.

I’m spending less time in the grocery store.  I used to go every week, now it’s every other week.  That’s nice.  We do need to get a few things still every week, milk, orange juice, bananas.  I send Sean for those things.  I like that, too.

We’re saving money.  So far, we seem to be saving about 25% of our grocery bill.  Funny how if you’re not wasting 25% of your groceries, you save about 25% of your grocery bill.

My pantry and freezer are less packed.  They’re still packed at the beginning of the two weeks, and I still have some extra food I need to go through, but it’s much better.

The new system seems to be working out quite well.  I can’t wait to get to the point where I have virtually an empty pantry at the end of two weeks.

How often do you grocery shop?  How do you avoid wasting food?


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6 Responses to “Greening My Grocery Shopping”

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  1. Kristin @ Peace, Love and Muesli
    Twitter: kristinglas
    says:

    When our farmer’s market is open I’m there twice a week. I aim to be at the grocery store less than once a week. We just joined Costco so that helps.

    I might try the every 2 weeks plan when the market closes.
    Kristin @ Peace, Love and Muesli´s last post ..Waste Not, Want Not. Or Something.

    • Jessica Anne says:

      I think Farmer’s markets count as green. I get our produce through our CSA year round on the week I don’t go to the store. Don’t know how well it would work without some fresh produce weekly.

  2. Moomser
    Twitter: moomser
    says:

    Good to see you back with a vengeance!
    Question, why every two weeks? I mean, how does that help with reducing waste? I always end up buying fresh stuff (fruit, veggies, meat, milk, eggs…) at least once a week and household stuff like once a month (cleaning products, toilet paper…) and other foodstuff randomly when it finishes (like pasta, rice, canned goods). Do you get everything in just one shopping trip? All at the same place or do you schedule all the shopping in one day even if you have to go different places? Am I being really annoying with all the questions?? THANKS!
    Moomser´s last post ..Lucky in love

    • Jessica Anne says:

      The idea with the two weeks is you use everything in your cupboards/fridge/freezer/pantry instead of buying it, thinking you’ll use it, than shopping the next week and forgetting about what you already have at home. If you don’t use it right away, it’s more likely to go bad.

      I buy my fruits/veggies/meats/eggs every two weeks, but I get a CSA box of fruit and veggies on the week I don’t go. The idea is to use up all the dry goods too in the two weeks. I still have stuff in my pantry I’m trying to use up, so I’m not there yet. I think things like flour and rice might be hard to use up, but canned goods and pasta probably will work for us. The TP and stuff like that we get as needed and at a different place. All the other stuff I get on the same day at the same place.

      And not annoying at all. :)

  3. Amy Hacker says:

    Didn’t realize just how much food we had stored in our upright freezer until it stopped working this week & we were scrambling to find room for everything. Quite ridiculous really. Pretty sure I’ll be giving working through food we already have in the freezer & pantry for a while before I need to buy anything. Will be interesting to see how much I save when I only need to buy perishables for a while. I’ve been so ingrained to stock up when things are on sale, but pretty sure they’ll be on sale again and everyone can try adapting and eating other food we have on hand.

    • Jessica Anne says:

      I have the same thing. When I started doing this, I realized how much stuff I have that I haven’t been using. I actually had to throw out canned goods b/c they were expired. I think our grandparents and before were big on stocking up because of real financial concerns and supply issues. We still do it because we were taught to, but it isn’t as much of a need for us. I’m hoping to actually see the inside of my freezer and pantry in the near future.