How to Shop at the Farmers Market Without Producing Waste

When I first started living a Zero Waste lifestyle I had never really shopped at a farmers market before. It seemed intimidating, scary, and overwhelming. But a few simple shopping hacks made it a lot easier and made buying food go from a super wasteful, time consuming process, to one that is easy and totally waste free! Check out this video to see how I shop at the farmers market.

Step 1: Big Stuff, Big Bag. Any large items don’t need a bag of their own, just throw them in your tote!
Step 2: Small Stuff, Small Bag. Any small loose items can be put into smaller organic cotton reusable bags, or any smaller reusable bag you have (or make!)
Step 3: Reuse containers whenever possible. This works well for berries, eggs, and other items that might have a container. Bring them back to the farmer so they can reuse them.
Step 4: Pay in cash to avoid receipts.
Step 5: Napkins double as a great way to buy bread and pastries package free!

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How to Tare a Jar and Shop Waste Free

Zero Waste food shopping is a weekly activity for me. I go to the farmers market for my produce and use reusable organic cotton bags for items like nuts but for wet items like honey, olive oil, flour, and spices, I opt for jars to keep things organized and make cleaning simple.

Learn how I do it using five simple steps!

Step 1: Choose your Jar (I love mason jars because they have a standard weight, but you can also upcycle your own jars)

Step 2: Tare (pre-weigh) your jar. Why? Because when the cashier gets the jar, they can subtract the weight of the jar from the total weight, so you are only paying for what is inside. You can write the tare on your jar in permanent marker to make it easy to remember.

Step 3: Fill your jar and write down the number of the item you are buying. I like to keep a note open on my cellphone that has the item name and number to expedite the checkout process, plus it’s waste free!

Step 4: Tell the cashier the weight of your jar and they can deduct that from the total weight of the jar

Step 5: Say THANK YOU to the awesome store for letting you bring your own packaging!

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Plastic Water Bottles

SINGLE USE PLASTIC WATER BOTTLES SUCKKKKKKKK. They are one of my least favorite things ever. In the US alone we use over 1,500 plastic water bottles per second…..

Let’s move beyond them, shall we? Here is a Simple Swap solution to help reduce the unnecessary, overpriced, toxic water vessel demons from making their way into landfills, oceans, and beyond.

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DIY Blender


So there I was thinking I wish I had a convenient way to make smoothies before work that didn’t require a ton of washing to come home to… and then I learned this. YOU CAN USE A MASON JAR IN PLACE OF THE CONTAINER THAT THE BLENDER COMES WITH.

MIND. BLOWN.

All you have to do is attach the mason jar to the base of the blender like you would the normal container, and there you go! Plus then all you have to wash is the blade afterwards which takes maybe 5 seconds!


I love learning.

 

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Coconut Butter


Coconut butter. This might be one of the easiest things to make, ever. It is creamy, rich, and sweet and only takes about 5 minutes to make.

All you need…

-A few cups of Organic shredded coconut (I buy mine in bulk and it is SO inexpensive)
-A food processor
-A jar with a lid … That’s it!

To make the coconut butter put a couple of cups of coconut in the food processor and grind it until it becomes a smooth liquid. Using a spatula, occasionally scrape the sides of the processor to get everything combined evenly. I use this opportunity to check the consistency and to taste. Once it is a smooth consistency put it into a mason jar. I wish I could tell you how long it will last for, but I eat mine within a couple of days so I have never had the opportunity to find out.

How do you eat it? On a spoon, in a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, with berries, with granola, over a banana, on your fingers, all the time. It is SO delicious.

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Zero Waste Lunches at Work

A lot of people ask me how I am Zero Waste at work.  I usually say that I bring my lunch to work every day which helps A LOT. A few weeks ago I posted my ultimate zero waste lunch kit with a lot of items from Life Without Plastic.

I save a lot of money by not purchasing lunch every day. My Organic, vegetarian meals cost me maybe three dollars each as opposed to buying lunch with non-organic, potentially GMO, conventional, and miscelaneious ingredients which can cost 8 dollars or more.

I try to make it a habit to make my lunch for the next day right when I get home. It takes about 20 minutes and then I am done and can just grab it and walk out the door in the morning. I usually make huge salads or mix pasta, rice, or cous cous with sautéed vegetables.

I keep apple cider vinegar at my office to use as a dressing so I don’t have to worry about lettuce from my salads wilting.

From the top left going clockwise:

  • Mixed green salad with kale, celery, cucumber, carrot, broccoli, green pepper, chia seeds, and beets: apple cider vinegar and olive oil dressing
  • Mixed green salad with radish, kale, celery, cucumber, carrot, broccoli, green pepper, chia seeds, and beets: apple cider vinegar and olive oil dressing
  • Mixed green salad with  barbecue tofu, chia seeds, kale, celery, cucumber, carrot, broccoli, green pepper, and beet: apple cider vinegar and olive oil dressing
  • Cous cous with radicchio, tomato, green leaf lettuce, and mushrooms
  • Brown rice with kale, tomato, pepper, and avocado
  • Cous cous with mushroom, tomato, squash, and mushroom 

As always, I use:
One airtight stainless steel lunch container 

I got mine from Life Without Plastic. It is great. Totally spill proof, easy to clean, and it has optional dividers so that I can keep my food separate. 

One reusable fork like this one from Life Without Plastic

I also got this from Life Without Plastic. Besides the fact that it is insanely adorable and foldable, it comes in an organic cotton carrying case. I am still deciding whether I should keep it in my bag at all times, or just leave it at work. You could also pick up a fork from the Goodwill or Salvation Army to leave at the office.

One reusable napkin
I use Organic cotton napkins at my house, and I bring one to the office and leave it there for the week and then bring it home to wash it on Friday. So easy. LWP offers a couple options including a book of washable napkins which seem pretty cool although I haven’t tried them.

A couple Organic cotton bags for snacks or sandwiches
(you can also use them for bulk at the market). I use these to buy rice and pasta at the market, but I also use them to carry granola, nuts, popcorn or even a sandwich to work. They are super lightweight and washable.

One mason jar, glass, or stainless steel canteen
I leave a stainless steel water bottle at work and just wash it in the sink. I also leave a mason jar for hot liquids like coffee. You could also bring a glass from home or purchase one at your local thrift shop for under a dollar. P.S. if you drink iced coffee or tea, you might want to invest in a stainless steel straw. I LOVE mine.

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