What you can do to become a more waste-wise shopper:
- Bring and reuse your own bags! Bring large shopping bags or a rolling cart (ideal for public transit users), as well as previously used produce bags for items like lettuce and green beans.
- Bring and reuse your own containers! Delicate items, such as strawberries, will get home safely in a plastic (or glass or metal) container. Reusable containers, like plastic yogurt or cottage cheese containers are also a good option for bulk nuts and dried fruit, salad mix, etc. Your container can double as a bowl or plate for lunch at the market.
- Bring and reuse your own utensils! Avoid single use cutlery whenever possible.
- Bring and reuse your own beverage container. A travel mug, glass jar, or water bottle is a reusable alternative to disposable coffee cups and water bottles.
- Assemble a farmers market shopping kit. Keep all of these items together in one place (such as your closet) so you can grab and go when you’re ready to head to the market.
- Look for sellers that make waste-free shopping easy. Ask if packaging can be returned for reuse or credit. Ask if the packaging should be recycled or composted when you are done. (jam jars, yogurt crocks, berry baskets, etc.). If disposable plastic packaging is the only option, look for minimal packaging. Thank and acknowledge sellers for their waste-wise practices.
- Refrigerate (or prepare and eat) your produce as soon as you get home, to keep it fresh longer.
- Buy only what you can reasonably eat. Wasted food can be composted, but it is still a waste.
- To further minimize food waste, use all parts of the vegetable. For example, instead of throwing away chard stems or turnip greens, try a quick stir fry. Vegetable scraps can also be saved in a bag in the freezer for later use in soup stock.
- Recycle and compost at the market and at home!
CUESA (Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture) is dedicated to cultivating a sustainable food system through the operation of farmers markets and educational programs. Learn More »