Going green has never seemed easier and more economical in 2009, thanks to these simple, but practical grocery shopping tips from celeb chef and mom Susannah Locketti.
Ditch the Paper & Plastic
For years, I needlessly purchased paper plates and plastic cups out of sheer convenience of having two kids. I purchased hot travel cups with lids for my morning coffee and plastic cutlery for the kids' lunches. This convenience costs around $10 dollars weekly and leaves way too much post consumer waste for my family now. Washing dishes is a simple chore -- we limit our water use and it has taught our kids to help out in the kitchen. I send the kids to school with a reusable fork or spoon and each child has a reusable water bottle. This is a savings of roughly $520.00 yearly.
Bring Your Own Bags
Many grocery stores offer a monetary discount per bag you reuse. My grocery store deducts five cents for every cloth bag I reuse. Many of these bags must be purchased at the store and run under two dollars. They are spacious, super sturdy, have strong handles and hold up to anything packed in them. Store the bags in your trunk so you don't forget to bring them with you. Sometimes you have to remind the cashiers for the discount, but this little tip saves me $13.00 per year and allows me to bid farewell to plastic bags for good.
Pass on Paper Towels
Over the past year, I gradually phased paper towels out of my life. I used to buy two to three rolls per week which added up to about $3.00 weekly when buying the store brand on sale and upwards of $5.00 when buying a sturdier name brand. Now, I use dish rags, dish towels and small crocheted cleaning cloths my mother makes. I wash cleaning cloths separately in the laundry and even cut old t-shirts into dusting cloths and worn towels into cleaning cloths. So easy -- and this saves me over $150.00 a year.
Return Those Cans
We pay for the can or bottle at the register, so it seems foolish not to want that money back -- right? I save and recycle leftover cans, bottles and glass containers from parties and put the cash towards my grocery bill when weeks are tight. I bought an 8 lb. chicken for a little over $2 -- thanks to this simple recycling. When at parties, I always ask the homeowner if they recycle to avoid throwing away bottles and cans. I admit, it's a messy job, but most grocery stores supply sanitizers or sanitizing wipes near the recycling area to make up for it.
Buy Concentrated vs. Full Size
You can apply this principle to cleaning products or even juices for that matter. If you can't afford all natural cleaning products, do your part for the environment by purchasing smaller bottles of concentrated products like laundry or dish detergent. You get just as many loads as the full size with less plastic. After cleaning the bottles thoroughly, I like to reuse them for pouring bird seed in my feeders or watering plants on the deck in the warmer months.