5 simple ways to Shop Well for the Planet
Inspiring others to change up their shopping habits for the good of the planet, has always been at the very core of the Local Zero mission, so we were enthused to see the new BBC One series, Shop Well for the Planet?, encouraging people to consider the impact their everyday actions are having on the environment.
Scientists state that we should be aiming to cut our carbon footprint by more than half. With diet accounting for 25 percent of our footprint the challenge we face is reducing our environmental impact without increasing the cost of our food shop. Chris Bavin, co-presenter of Shop Well for the Planet suggests that families try and test a variety of eco or more sustainable versions of the products they already buy “You can make some big carbon reductions without completely altering your lifestyle.”
At Local Zero we wholeheartedly agree with this idea, which is why we offer our refill products in a range of sizing, enabling our customers to try small amounts before committing to purchasing the larger and more cost-effective and wasted-reducing ‘bulk’ sizes.
So, inspired by the programme, the Local Zero team have been looking at simple changes you can make to your shopping habits…
1. Eat Everything You buy
“Food Waste is bad for the environment, bad for your pocket, and unnecessary,” says Chris Bavin. “The best way to reduce it is by planning.” He suggests working out what you’re going to eat for the week, crucially involving everyone in your family or household in the decisions, then writing a shopping list and sticking to it. You can also cut household food waste by buying fruit and veg loose, and you can help reduce supply chain waste by buying wonky veg, which might otherwise get thrown away. But what if you still have leftover produce before your next shop? Chris recommends making “casseroles, soups and pasta sauces” and freezing them.
Local Zero take this a step further; menu planning is a great way to start zero waste shopping. Through our community we are trying to nudge shopping behaviours in a more sustainable direction and it is our belief that the whole concept of the “weekly shop” is something that actually adds to the problem; customers buy more than they need and supermarkets add preservatives and packaging to create artificially long larder life.
2. Eat Produce In Season
“Eating seasonally is not new, cool or posh, it’s how we should all be eating. Food grown locally in season doesn’t have to be shipped or flown in, or refrigerated to prolong shelf-life. Neither does it need to be grown in a fossil-fuel heated hothouse (though some hothouses use renewable energy, reducing their carbon footprint). Produce can be cheaper when it’s in season too, as gluts bring down prices," explains Chris.
Supermarket food labels rarely include information about transport, but they do always state the country of origin. If it is far away, ask yourself if the produce is robust enough to have travelled by boat. If not, it may have been flown in. Out-of-season asparagus, green beans, mangetout, shelled peas, baby corn and berries are among the foods sometimes air-freighted. We can’t grow some things in the UK so where possible, try and just buy from as close to home as possible.
This is where Local Zero comes into its own; providing customers with the opportunity to shop from a variety of local growers and farmers, for seasonal vegetables, all grown within a 20 mile radius of Stockbridge, Hampshire
3. Choose your meat carefully
A major 2019 report on land use and climate change says the West’s high consumption of meat and dairy produce is contributing to global warming. A document prepared by scientists for the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says that if land is used differently, it can reduce the amount of carbon produced by our food.
The average farm animal converts 10 percent of the calories it eats into meat and dairy, according to Professor Mike Berners-Lee from the University of Lancaster, If animals are fed crops that could be eaten directly by humans, this is much less efficient than eating the plants ourselves.
Imported beef, especially from somewhere like Brazil, where cattle ranching is the main driver of deforestation both for keeping cattle and for producing soya to feed them, can have about three times the carbon footprint of British beef. So where meat is produced and what practices are used to produce it makes a big difference to its carbon cost.
Most beef sold in the UK is farmed here (this information is usually on the packaging), and grass-feeding cattle is common in Britain. Local Zero stock beef supplied from Test Valley Devons, whose cows graze on the land on West Down in Chilbolton and also in the Wallops.
The Red Devon cattle are a slow growing breed, with the perfect metabolism for converting grass into premium quality beef; grass fed beef has been found to have health benefits, having 50% more heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids, as well as being higher in antioxidant vitamins, such as vitamin E. Time spent roaming pasture is not only good for the animal, but produces a finer textured meat with depth and complexity of flavour.
Test Valley Devons are 100% grass fed, with their meadows providing fresh grass from May to November and hay (dried grass) providing sustenance through the winter months. The well-being of their animals is of the utmost importance to Max and his team, with pasture health and the environment being high on their list of priorities.
Test Valley Devons cattle graze on grass in Chilbolton and The Wallops in Hampshire.
4. Consider Your Shopping Habits And How You Wash Up
Buying ingredients loose and cooking from scratch can massively reduce your use of packaging, so cutting out ready meals and sauces is a no-brainer. Batch cooking and freezing your own dishes will help you to save time when you need to eat in a hurry.
Changing the products you use to wash the dishes can also reduce packaging waste; switching to plastic-free refill alternatives of dishwasher powder, rinse aid and washing up liquid will make a big difference to the amount of rubbish you but in the bin. Additionally, using the ‘eco’ setting on your dishwasher uses a lot less water at a lower temperature of 30 degrees, saving not only energy but money too.
5. Choose Refills to Reduce Packaging
We've all become so used to shopping in a supermarket, that the idea of switching to refill shopping can seem daunting, but with Local Zero it's no different to shopping any other retailer - You simply browse our website for the products you require, choose the quantity and check out just as you would with any other online shop. We do the hard work for you, fulfilling your order and delivering to your door in sustainable, reusable containers. There's no waste.
You simply decant your produce into your own jars and storage at home, then we collect our containers when you're done with them. EASY.
So what are you waiting for? Shop with Local Zero now! There's no minimum purchase amount, so you can give us a try with minimal commitment.
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