Green Living QA: How To Shop Greener At The Grocery & Drug Store?

by Beth Greer

Q: How can I find products in the grocery store and drug stores like Rite Aid that fit my green goals?
A: It can be challenging to find “green” and healthy products in conventional grocery stores and places like Rite Aid, but it can be done. Look for sections (albeit small) called something like “Healthy Living” or “Natural Foods” in those stores. I’ve found environmentally friendly and healthier products that use only natural ingredients, and personal care and beauty products that avoid animal testing, as well as natural household cleaners using recycled or recyclable packaging.

My tips:

  • Look for the organic section at the grocery store, or produce labeled “USDA Organic.” This means food that is produced without synthetic pesticides or chemical fertilizers, and no GMOs — genetically modified organisms. Organic foods are better for you and the environment.
  • Consider choosing a large container over several small containers (more packaging) that add up to the same volume. Think: do I really need to buy individual juice boxes, for example. And when you buy juice — watch out for high fructose corn syrup!
  • To find green products in your area look at the Organic Consumers Association Web site.
  • Bring your own reusable bags with you when you shop. This saves tons of plastic and paper bags which help the environment.
  • Although supermarkets are convenient, there is a better way to shop green. That’s to buy locally at farmer’s markets. You can buy produce that was harvested as recently as the day before; and you can talk to the farmer directly and ask if he sprays his crops and if you’re really curious, ask what type of fertilizer is used. Plus, you’ll use less packaging and you are supporting your local economy. So go out and find your farmer!
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