Zero waste food shopping
Fruits and vegetables
Buying non packaged fruits and vegetables is fairly easy in United States as, even in supermarkets, most produces are selected and weighted by consumers. You can also check if any farmers markets are happening in your area. For organic fruits and vegetables, they can be found in any food co-op across the United States, you can check the directory of the stores or buying clubs to find the closest one to you. We don’t necessarily recommend you to go to Wholefoods, even if they do have organic products as they are now owned by Amazon.
To lower your impact on the environment, we recommend you do go for local and seasonal fruits and veggies and to avoid as much as possible imported products.
Meat and dairy
In order to reduce your impact on the environment, it is better to avoid meat or dairy as well as fish or at least cut down your consumption.
Buying less but better quality meat or fish can do its part so do look for local butchers, fishmongers and cheesemongers and ask them about the origin of the products you are buying. It is also easier in these instances to bring your own containers and avoid pre-cut and packaged food.
Other food products
Bulk selling is getting more frequent and this directory helps you identify co-ops, bulk stores or stores that are allowing you to bring your own containers or offer reusable packaging all across the United States.
If you are in New York City, Elsa, our local ambassador, actually recommends you to check the 4th street food co-op as it is one of the best across the United States!
Online food shopping
An innovative service called Loop has been launched recently in the United States, allowing you to do your grocery shopping from main brands in returnable and reusable packaging.
Vegetarian or vegan restaurants
As you probable know, stopping to consume or reducing your consumption of animal based products especially red meat, is a good way to lessen your carbon footprint. The application Happycow, helps you to identify vegan or vegetarian restaurants in your area. Marie, a New Yorker, has also created a map of vegan restaurants in NYC.
Tips for zero waste take-outs in United States
When eating out, we recommend you to always carry with you your zero waste kit with your flask, a container, a bag, a straw and cutlery to avoid single use items as much as possible.
Make sure you explain to the person preparing your meal what you are trying to do and stay close when they prepare your meal or drink to intercept a straw or else being placed out of habits in your drink etc.
Drinking zero waste
Tap water can be drunk in United States except on some rare occasions in more rural areas where it is then specified, so you can easily refill your flask anywhere. You can actually usually find refill points in most parks. The water quality in the United States is regulated by law and especially the Safe Water Drinking Act. You may still want to add a filter to improve further the quality of the water you are drinking depending on the area you stay in. There are different types of filters that will get rid of different contaminants such as activated charcoal filters.