Zero waste: at the farmers market

Anyone who knows me well would probably say that I’m a very passionate and probably at times quite intense person when I care about something I care a lot and something I care so much about is reducing waste. It has actually always resonated with me, I’ve always been really into environmentalism, since I was a child which I’m sure my family can confirm but it wasn’t until maybe the beginning of this year that I really started to take reducing my waste seriously.

I was slightly anxious to to be honest. I was afraid people would judge me for bringing my own bags or jars or whatever, irrational I know but I think that’s how most people feel doing something that most other people don’t. In fact I was slightly worried about having to engage in conversations like that with strangers but now it is my favorite thing! I actually love how living more conscious of the planet has allowed me to reach out and talk to and impact and inspire all these different people that I would’ve never spoken to otherwise and people are always so grateful for you making an effort to protect the planet. It is so rewarding! And by bringing back things for farmers to reuse or using your own containers or bags you actually save the farmers money as well!

My husband and I go to two different local markets every Saturday to get our fruit for the week and we always make sure to bring:

  • A basket to carry everything in: It’s so much easier carrying a basket rather than a reusable bag since nothing gets smashed this way like glass jars, strawberries or ripe avos
  • Reusable produce bags: Bringing reusable produce bags saves you from using the non-biodegradable ones at the market. They’re just as easy to use if not easier and are available in all different sizes. We use a large one for oranges and easily carry +20 oranges in it & a small one for limes that only just carries 6-8 limes or 5 avos.
  • Glass jars + metal straws: if we are getting juice
  • Anything collected for the farmers to reuse: plastic produce nets, punnets, crates or boxes

Getting the seconds oranges or any fruit really is usually such a good buy + saves food waste.

We rarely buy pawpaw but this an example of where I would purchase the fruit and remove the purple protector when doing so and return to the farmer to reuse right away. This also sends a signal to the farmer that people are uninterested in contributing to plastic and waste consumption which will hopefully eventually be the end of the production entirely.

We always get our passionfruit in our reusable cotton produce bags as well. These are the nets I mentioned above. If we are for some reason purchasing something where all of the fruits are in nets already we will untie the net when we purchase the fruits, empty the fruits into our reusable bags or our basket and give the nets back to the farmers straight away to reuse. If for some reason we buy produce from another fruit market and bring home the nets I will still collect them and bring the nets to farmers to reuse the following weekend.

Bananas can obviously be carried in a basket or reusable bag as well but as we eat so many especially it being winter we get at least a box a week. These bananas we get from a banana stand at one of the markets we go to and every week we will purchase the bananas, bring them home and leave them in the sun to ripen then peel and freeze all of them for smoothies. After we empty the box we save the box + bubblewrap and return all of it the following week for the farmers to reuse when we get another box.

This week to treat ourselves we decided to get fresh local sugar cane juice with passionfruit & lime. We had brought 2 mason jars + metal straws from home, we’ve actually done this a couple times before. I just ask the guy at the stand if he would be kind enough to pour the juice into our jars instead of plastic cups or bottles and they’re always so sweet about it. This guy actually gave us a discount as we’d brought our own jars which made me feel so good, like the effort of reducing waste and protecting the planet is really being valued even by strangers. It’s actually so easy getting juice this way when we were done we simply placed the lids back on the jars so nothing was spilling and placed the jars back in the basket.

I hope this was helpful, don’t forget to follow this blog if you’d like to stay updated on when I post.

We do also get strawberries as you may be able to tell from the photos. At the moment we are yet to find a way to reuse them as our farmers will not reuse them, this varies depending on where you live so don’t be afraid to ask. Do you have any innovative, creative ideas as of how to reuse plastic punnets? These are recyclable and the moment that is what we do.


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