1. Shop online. But avoid next-day air, because it uses five times the fuel of things sent by ground.
2. Purchase in huge amounts. It's all about saving on the packaging. Buy a large gallon size olive oil and the biggest bags of granola you can find. You can always decant them into smaller jars when you get home.
3. Bulk food bins are the way to go. Most major health food stores have these bins, and they are fabulous because they are way cheaper and greener. If you want to be supergreen, reuse plastic bags from home to fill. A tip is to make sure you have plenty of glass jars and containers at home. Personally, I don't like having unruly bags hanging around in my cupboards. I prefer to store in glass, rather than plastic.
4. Choose organic. Buying products made from organic ingredients is not only healthier and safer for you and your family, but it also helps to protect groundwater, farmers and wildlife.
5. Share your purchases. Before making a trip to the grocery store, call a couple of neighbours or friends to see if you can shop for them. They can e-mail you a list and it'll save them a trip. It'll be their turn next time! Alternatively, carpool with a couple of girlfriends and enjoy a good gossip on the way.
6. Always bring reusable totes to the store. A great tip is to bring along two or three reusable plastic containers, too. That way, I can save on time, money, and extra packaging at the deli/bakery counter. Just have them weigh your salami or cheese and get them to put it straight into your container. They'll put the price sticker on the outside of your container; when you get home, you put it straight in your fridge. Do the same thing when buying a sandwich.
7. Save your produce bags. Save those flimsy produce bags to bring along to your next shop. That way, you'll save time and fossil fuel. It's a pet peeve of mine to have to locate the roll then fiddle around trying to find which end actually opens!
From Gorgeously Green: 8 Simple Steps to an Earth-Friendly Life. Published by HarperCollins Publishers Ltd. Copyright 2008 by Sophie Uliano. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.