* No more plastic bags – or at least use fewer. Use your own reusable bags for carrying your shopping. Admittedly, the plastic shopping bags are useful for wrapping nasty rubbish, so maybe you can still have a few for this purpose. Or reuse the ones you have stashed away somewhere (or that you see blowing in the wind). If you haven’t got around to getting reusable carry bags, (a) get around to it immediately with no more excuses (b) recycle any plastic bags you get given, (c) opt for paper bags or cardboard boxes if you have the option.
* If you only need a few things and the shops aren’t that far away, then walk or bike. Take a back-pack to carry your odds and ends if you bike! If you walk and have a child in a pram or pushchair, you will discover that pushchairs have quite a bit of carrying capacity.
* Alternatively, only shop once a week rather than just popping down to the shops whenever you run out of loo paper or coffee. This will require planning and writing a shopping list. Shopping once a week is also good financial sense. It is only human to succumb to temptation and throw in a few extras, so shopping once a week reduces the occurrence of this to once a week.
* Buy in bulk. This means that you have less packaging to deal with. And it’s usually cheaper. This doesn’t always mean buying the king-sized packs. Sometimes, visiting the bulk-buy bins is all that’s needed (sneaky tip – save and reuse ziplock bags each time you visit, if you can!). You can also club together with other people vegetable co-op style to bulk buy staples like salt and flour at wholesale prices from the factory.
* Don’t nip from supermarket to supermarket to get the specials from each one, as this means you’re using more petrol per shopping trip. Do your homework and find the one that offers the lowest all-round prices. However, you will have to balance this against distance travelled – no point travelling for an hour just because the carrots are 50p cheaper per kilo at Supermarket X.
* Buy things in recyclable containers where possible. Tins are recyclable, and so are containers made from more robust plastic (e.g. ice cream containers, PET bottles, yoghurt pottles). And buy things with as little packaging as possible to reduce waste. Excess and unnecessary packaging shoved on by the store is one of the biggest nuisances of modern supermarkets. Resist the temptation to return all the unwanted packaging to the store, even if it gets you mad… hang on a minute; that sounds like a good option for a protest campaign!
* Buy locally grown produce that’s in season. This, like many other of the green shopping tips, is also cheaper.
* Put your money where your mouth is, as much as possible, when it comes to issues like free-range vs. cage eggs, or free-range vs. battery farmed pork.
Nick Vassilev is the founder of successful carpet cleaning London and domestic cleaning London businesses delivering quality cleaning services to thousands of clients.