Three ways to shop mindfully for your family
When it comes to shopping, we parents have a choice: to mindlessly consume, or to purchase with the planet in mind - actually considering what we buy and where we buy it from. With a bit more thought, we can help to set a mindful example for our kids, as future consumers.
Here are three ways to tweak your family’s shopping habits and live more sustainably.
1. Support your local markets
Farmers’ markets sell produce from your region. Depending on where you live, you may find fresh locally grown fruit and vegetables, meats, honey, cheese, olive oil – the list goes on.
You can look Bruce the egg vendor in the eye and confirm that Sharon, the hen who laid the eggs, really is from a free-range flock on an organic farm. No pesticides or chemical fertilisers which is better for the environment, Sharon and you!
Buy oranges in-season, maybe from a roadside stand, rather than the ones in the supermarket which were transported all the way from the USA on a ship. Fewer food miles means less carbon emissions, so you can enjoy your oranges even more, knowing they had minimal impact on the planet.
Local is great. Local and organically produced is better!
Shopping at the market means less packaging too. No more kiwifruit in plastic boxes or tomatoes on polystyrene trays.
Make the market a family excursion and get to know the people who grow your food.
2. Shop at the refillery
Refilleries stock everything from baking supplies, to washing powder and cereals, so there are lots of easy swaps, minus the plastic packaging.
Take your own re-usable bags or containers and buy the exact quantity you need.
Bron Green, co-owner of Be Free Grocer in Palmerston North suggests looking at the products your family uses regularly and gradually replacing them with more planet-friendly options from a refillery when they run out.
You may like to start by refilling shampoo and dish liquid bottles instead of binning them after one use. And replace pre-packaged foods you would normally buy from the supermarket with items from the bulk bins.
“Don’t try and do it all at once. Start small, then do more until you find your happy place,” says Bron.
3. Avoid buying toys
Kids will use pester power in the toy aisles, but they’re also fickle, and quite often forgetful. Be strong and delay buying on-trend toys as much as you can.
Toy libraries have toys for all stages. Borrow items and swap often so you’ll always have something interesting for your little one to explore. When they’re bored of playing with plastic animals, swap for a tea set or tambourine.
Household items such as pots, pegs, and boxes prompt creative play. Mother nature also provides tactile objects like shells, pinecones, feathers and rocks. Sustainable and free!
If you do purchase a new toy, opt for quality metal or wooden toys that will last for generations. When your kids outgrow them, sell them or put them away for your grandkids!
Renee Murphy is a Palmerston North writer and mum of two rambunctious boys.