Stay Safe and Sustainable While Grocery Shopping
Doing the grocery these days has become a nerve-racking chore. What was once an excuse to get out of the house to shop for our next delicious meal (or that bag of chips for cheat day) is now something we all dread to do, no thanks to COVID-19.
Aside from such stress, the pandemic also threatens to push back on the move to ban single-use plastics. Disposable packaging is deemed safer and more hygienic to use than reusable bags, but at a great cost for the planet. Good thing experts have recently declared that reusable containers are still safe to use as long as proper hygiene is practiced.
So how do you stay safe while still being mindful of the environment when doing groceries? Here are a couple of tips.
Make a list and check it twice
To make your trip to the grocery quick and efficient, always have a list of what you need to buy. It’s no longer advisable to walk leisurely from aisle to aisle, dilly-dallying if you should get that bottle of pesto sauce or not. Your list will dictate which item you really need so you can avoid unnecessary contact with things you’re not really purchasing. Prep your list a day before so you still have time to add anything you may have forgotten. Buy enough food for a week or two so you don’t have to run to the grocery store as often.
Reuse, wash, and rinse
Feel free to bring clean, reusable bags in your next grocery run. To avoid cross contamination, use separate bags for fresh meat, fruits and veggies, non-perishable goods, and other food items. Just remember to throw those reusable totes into the washing machine immediately after every use to rid them of any contamination.
When possible, use resealable silicone bags for fresh meat. Wash them with soap and water (make sure they are properly sealed) before storing in the freezer. Clean and dry the bags thoroughly after every use.
Use contactless payment
When available, opt for contactless payments like GCash or PayMaya. Avoid paying in cash. If mobile payment isn’t available, use your credit or debit card, but make sure to disinfect it as soon as the cashier hands it back to you.
Disinfect, disinfect, disinfect!
Don’t forget to whip out that bottle of alcohol every time you touch anything. Before rolling that shopping cart, give the handle a good wipe down. Disinfect your mobile phone as often as you can. Same thing goes for your wallet. As soon as you get home, step right into the shower. Don’t forget to also give the soles of your shoes a generous spray of disinfecting solution (if you don’t have a foot bath). It’s okay to be a germophobe these days!
Keep things accessible
Keep a small alcohol bottle in your clothes pocket so you can easily fish it out any time. Designate a small area in your house as a sanitizing spot (preferably by the door) and have disinfecting solutions readily accessible there (but keep them far from your kids’ or your pet’s reach). Use a caddy to keep your sanitizers organized.
Store and save
Before storing fruits and veggies in the fridge, wash them thoroughly or use a food-grade veggie wash or spray. Transfer food items, like cereals and granola, into clean containers. If needed, seal bowls with beeswax wraps or reusable cloth covers (ditch the cling wrap!). You may also use beeswax wraps when storing cheese, bread, or slices of fruits for later use.
Keeping these safety precautions in mind can make grocery shopping less taxing. Always observe physical distancing, wash hands regularly, and wear masks when going out. And as you practice these routines, remember to also care for the planet. After all, staying safe and living a sustainable lifestyle are not mutually exclusive.