How to make better choices at your supermarket shop

Journeying in to cleaner, greener living can seem daunting. With advice all over the place and so many things to consider from ingredients to packaging, it is over perceived as a lifestyle choice reserved for the privileged few who have the time to scroll the internet for boutique independent brands and the disposable income to invest in them.

As someone, lucky enough to often fit into that category I wanted to find a way to make it easier for other people. Lately a quote stood out to me ” We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly, We need millions of people doing it imperfectly” and whilst I love supporting independents whenever possible I want to shine a light today on the supermarkets that are stepping up and providing simple swaps so that sustainable living and better choices are available on the shelves to everyone. Small changes made consistently, on mass, will change the landscape of consumerism and their environmental impacts, we hold the power, how will you use yours?

Now I love my Georganics products, they tick every box, but sometimes when I can’t stretch for an order, I need an alternative that is a little lighter on my wallet, so I head over to Sainsbury’s and switch to Biomed. They are free from SLES, Fluoride and Parabens, are cruelty free, vegan friendly and are a CO2 Neutral company! Not bad for a supermarket swap.

Cleaning Products
This is an area where everyone can make a change, in fact of everything this department probably has the greatest choice of sustainable swaps. My go to brand is Method, with naturally derived, biodegradable ingredients and packaging made from recycled plastic. They are cruelty free, vegan friendly and with a huge range readily available you can even get picky about your favourite scents!
And if you aren’t jumping onto the Method bandwagon, then there’s other great options too, keep your eyes peeled in Lidl for Cleanology in the Special Buys, another great non-toxic brand, naturally fragranced with essential oils. Or OceanSaver in Morrisons, whose mission to reduce plastic has led them to create a refill pod system for cleaners. Simply add water to create your cleaner and when you run out, instead of replacing the bottle, buy a fresh cardboard wrapped pod and refill it.
Tesco is also great for its own brand ‘eco’ range and there’s Ecover for all your laundry and washing up needs. No excuses in this department, the possibilities are ENDLESS!

Teabags came under fire in the last year for their use of micro plastics and if you aren’t ready to switch to loose leaf then swap to Clipper Teas not only do they come in beautiful boxes (I’m a sucker for well designed graphics) but they are an organic, fairtrade company and produced right here in the UK. Natural ingredients and plastic-free, non GM, unbleached teabags. SIMPLE. And if cold drinks make a more regular appearance on that weekly shopping list Robinson have a selection of gorgeous cordials that come in glass bottles, I’m obsessed with the Lime & Mint, it’s like a guilt free Mohito and is perfect for summer!

Let’s talk loo roll. Now I am dreaming of the day I can afford a subscription to ‘Who Gives A Crap’ and have sustainable bamboo paper delivered to my door BUT, that day is not yet here so in the meantime keep your eyes peeled for Renova Recycled packs at Tesco. They are free from dyes, perfume and chlorine, using fibres from a previous life so no trees were used in their creation, and they come packaged in paper instead of plastic! HUZZAH!

Hair & Skincare
Now I’m biased and think you should all just buy all your natural beauty supplies from me and my Tropic shop, to ensure you always have fresh ingredients from a carbon neutral, UK based company BUT for those days when you just can’t wait for an order to arrive and you need a top up on something ASAP here is a quick round up of some brands that are going some of the way to try and make green beauty a little more mainstream.
Love Beauty and Planet seem to have popped up everywhere, with a range of body, face and hair products. Their bottles are made out of recycled materials, they are vegan certified, free from parabens, silicones and synthetics dyes and whilst they aren’t 100% natural, they are making waves in bringing more ethically produced products to a bigger marketplace.
Balance Me can be found in Sainsbury’s and is the passion project of two sisters. UK based and with a real focus on natural ingredients and luxurious products, they create skincare that is never tested on animals and works to bring some extra balance to your day.
Sainsbury’s also offers it’s own range Source Of Nature which is vegan friendly, not tested on animals and although not 100% natural, does generally steer clear of the big nasties, such as parabens, alcohol and mineral oils.

And then, of course, there is food. Now generally I head to Morrisons, where the fruit and veg is loose and easily packaged into paper bags, all the counters, fish, meat, and deli allow you to take your own containers to void the need for polystyrene trays, and plastic carrier bags are replaced with reuseable options only. For me the theory with food is simple. The less processed food you buy, the less additives and packaging will make their way into your home. Keep it simple, find recipes you love, cook in bulk, you’ll probably see the costs falling too!

My point is this. Whilst it takes a lot of work, if it is even possible, to live the green life properly, to flawlessly negotiate a market full of unnecessary packaging, ingredients, testing, and products there are better choices on the shelves if you are willing to look for them. So buy your veggies loose, take your reusable bags and if you can’t do it all, don’t panic, just pick one thing at a time. Every small swap we each make creates a huge impact. We get to be the change, we steer the markets, we vote with our wallets and I’m voting GREEN


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