Published: Oct. 20, 2021 By

One of the most impactful ways we can reduce waste is by being mindful while grocery shopping. 40 percent of food production becomes food waste in landfills and causes the release of methane gas, an even more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. Food packaging makes up 45% of landfilled materials in the United States. Follow these tips to be a part of the solution!

Plan, Plan, Plan

  • Take inventory of your kitchen before you leave for the store to avoid purchasing items you already have!

  • Plan your breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the week and only buy ingredients necessary for those meals.

  • Have a specific day of the week that you go grocery shopping, and ensure that you get everything you need on that one trip to avoid unnecessary car rides. 

  • Combine your grocery trips with other errands to reduce your driving time.

Bring Reusable Bags

  • Plastic bags take years to decompose, and release toxic chemicals in soil when they decompose and in the air when they are burned. 

    •  Avoid using plastic shopping bags at all costs. 

  • Keep reusable bags by your front door and in your car so you don’t forget them.

  • No reusable bags? No problem! Keep a laundry basket or box in your car, bring groceries out to the car in your cart, and transfer groceries to the boxes straight from the cart!

  • If you still find yourself with a plastic bag or two, reuse them as trash liners in your bathroom or for pet waste! They can also be recycled at special locations such as CHaRM and King Soopers.

Avoid Unnecessary Packaging

  • Find products with cardboard, paper, aluminum, or glass (all easy to recycle) packaging instead of plastic packaging.

  • Try stores with a bulk section, like Sprouts! You can bring in your own containers, fill them, and reuse them with snacks, spices, and more. There is also a fully bulk store in Longmont called Simply Bulk Market.

  • Nude Foods is a completely zero-waste grocery store that just opened on Walnut St in Boulder! They make zero-waste grocery shopping easy!

    • Food is local and organic

    • Return empty boxes, containers, bags, or egg cartons, when you pick up, take delivery, or shop in-store. They will take them back, clean, sanitize and reuse them for future orders.

    • Pay a jar deposit that is used for cleaning, and will be returned to you for credit!

  • Look for high recyclable and consumer recycled content.

Storage Tips to Preserve

  • See photo for how to store produce

  • Re-use a sealable plastic tortilla bag instead of a Ziploc!

  • Store bread in the freezer/fridge to keep it from molding.

  • Freeze food for meals that are later in the week so they don’t go bad.

  • Here are some other resources for food storage

  • Don’t throw away your leftovers! If you can’t finish a meal

    • Share with a roommate 

    • Store in Tupperware for the next day

    • Share with a houseless neighbor


  • Inedible food waste (eggshells, veggie skins, bones, etc) can be composted.

  • If you want to learn more about composting, check out our Composting 101 article