by Edmée Knight
April is a special time for us here at Alfalfa’s.With both Earth Day and our Birthday (B’earthday, if you will) celebrations, we’re putting sustainability in the spotlight! Looking to lighten your environmental load? Here are a few things you can do to tread lighter when grocery shopping:
Buy Bulk –
One of the best things you can do for the environment and your wallet is to purchase your staple products such as rice, flour, sugar, grains oils and vinegars in bulk. Bulk allows you to purchase the amount of product you need without having to succumb to pre-packaged sizes. It also allows you to use your own containers – two things that not only help reduce packaging waste but food waste too. It is estimated that if Americans purchased all their coffee in bulk for 1 year 240,000,000 lbs of foil packaging would be saved from the landfill. At Alfalfas we offer a variety of items in our bulk section and unlike most other stores in Boulder, 98% of the options are Organic, which leads to the next green tip:
Shop Organic –
By choosing to buy organic you are using your purchasing power to help the environment and your health too. Organically grown food helps the soil, water, air and helps to promote a healthier environment, here’s how: Organic agriculture reduces non-renewable energy use by decreasing agrochemical needs (these require high quantities of fossil fuels to produce). Organic agriculture mitigates the greenhouse effect of global warming through its ability to sequester carbon in the soil – in fact it’s estimated that one acre of organic farm land can sequester up to 700 tons of co2 annually. Organic agriculture greatly reduce the risks of groundwater pollution while helping to condition and stabilize soil and increase pollination and natural habitats. Need I say more? The only thing better than shopping Organic is shopping Local and Organic.
Buy Local –
It’s estimated that food in the United States travels an average of 1,500 miles to reach a grocery store. The average delivery truck delivers food once a week that means food is travelling 1,500 miles every week to get to grocery stores around the U.S., that’s 78,000 miles or 44.7 tons of CO2 annually, ick! Compare that to a local product in Alfalfa’s, let’s use our Boulder raised grass fed beef and lamb who are located 40 miles from Alfalfa’s. The meat travels 44.5 to be processes so it’s a total of 89.1 miles per trip or 4,633.2 mile a year or just 2.66 tons of C02 annually. So, by buying local you can reduce the carbon foot print of your food by at least 94%! The only thing better than buying your organic food locally is using a reusable bag when you shop.
Think about the packaging –
In the U.S. we love our shiny colorful packages, especially those made of plastic. But before that shiny colorful package of salty crunchy goodness lures you into the purchase stop and think about where that bag or wrapper will go after you’ve satiated your craving. Is it reusable or recyclable or will it end up in the landfill? At Alfalfa’s we provide a place for that shiny wrapper, or bag or sachet or small tube of Chap Stick to be recycled. We partner with Terracycle who takes our energy bar wrappers, baby food pouches, and beauty care products, chops them up, melts them down then creates park benches, plastic wood and other useful products out of it. This isn’t keeping your trash out of the landfill forever but it gives it a second life.
With earth day just around the corner its good to think about the impact your purchasing habits have on the earth. There’s always room for improvement and at Alfalfa’s we’re doing our best to make it easier for you to tread a little lighter.