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It’s Easy Being Green

Shopping sustainably this holiday season

Food, parties, and presents - there are many things to think about during the holidays. And as our to-do list gets fuller, we may lose track of the amount of waste we make. But while there may be plenty on our plate, we can drastically reduce the waste we create this time of year with a little forward-thinking. Whether it’s the groceries we buy, the gifts we give, or the restaurants we visit, here are some tips on shopping sustainably this season.

For Groceries, Make a List (And Check It Twice)

Photo by Unboxed Market

When buying groceries for that big holiday meal, a little moderation goes a long way. So instead of buying what you think you need, try to develop a plan and only get what you need. Making a list before you shop is a great way to make it less likely for you to pick up unnecessary items that could go to waste. And try not to throw away your leftovers and scraps. Turn them into a new dish. From broths to jams, there are so many ways to use things that we normally throw away.

Also, shop for local and organic vegetables. Not only are they fresher, but they are grown and transported in a way that is less harmful to the environment.

Stores like Unboxed Market and Bare Market in Toronto are at the forefront of sustainable grocery shopping. From being zero-waste to sourcing their produce locally, these shops will help you shop sustainably without you even knowing it.

No Plastic, No Problems

Getting the right gift for someone may take some thinking but finding sustainable and eco-conscious choices have never been easier.

The first thing you should try this season is to shop locally. You get to support local businesses, help keep your carbon footprint low and find unique, one-of-a-kind gifts.

As for wrapping your presents this year, try using reusable wraps and packaging like bags and fabrics or even not wrap them at all. By limiting the amount of wrapping paper, tissue paper, bows, and ribbons you use, you can reduce the waste you create (not to mention saving a bit of money).

Also, try buying presents that have minimal plastic packaging. Find gifts with reusable or refillable packaging that won’t go to the garbage bin right when you open them.

Looking to shop sustainably for that special someone? Pretty Clean Shop and Essence of Life Organics provides alternative and unique eco-friendly products that anyone would love this holiday season.

Waste-Free Food and Drink

Photo by Tim Perez. Syrian Sisters snacks in My Suppli containers at Toronto Food Film Fest 2021.

Catching up with your friends this season often means grabbing some food and drink. And while it may seem tricky to be sustainable with takeout, there are several options to keep waste to a minimum.

Though takeout is generally known for its single-use containers, many restaurants are spearheading the drive to be more sustainable and eco-friendly. In fact, over 20 restaurants in Toronto have partnered with Suppli to provide reusable takeout containers. By using their containers, you can help reduce the amount of waste that would normally go to landfill. Just register for their service, order your food and enjoy a waste-free meal.

Photo by Eastbound Brewing Co.

Also, choosing a beer with sustainability in mind has never been simpler thanks to Rethink Resource:

We are happy to work with a few great craft brewers in the city. We collect their spent grains and bring them to a local farmer to feed cows. We are proud to keep this valuable resource in the food system which is more valuable than using the grains as compost or even worse sending them to landfills. This is a great example of a local circular economy. The brewers we currently work with are:

So next time, whether you're grabbing some takeout or looking for a refreshing beer, be sure to keep that in mind!

Being sustainable this holiday season may sound like a tall order. But with a little bit of planning and know-how, whether for groceries, presents, or food, it may be the least stressful thing about this time of year.


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