Farmers’ Markets are the perfect place to put waste reducing shopping tips into action. With the ability to connect directly with the maker/producer, customers can share their ideas & feedback for making the farmers’ market shopping experience as waste free as possible. Here are our Top 5 Tips for shopping waste free at farmers’ market!
1. Bring along your own bags in a variety of sizes for your market purchases.
Try this tutorial for a Basic Bento Bag or get fancy and make a Lined Bento Bag. If you want a simpler bag, here is a tutorial for DIY Produce Bags. These simple but effective little bags can be made out of any scrap fabric you may have on hand, such as old pillowcases, worn clothing or extra tea towels. They are useful for all sorts of applications, from storing craft projects, to packed lunches, but our favourite use of all is at the Farmers’ Market!
Not feeling crafty? There are many awesome Nova Scotian farmers’ market vendors that make a variety of waste free food packaging. Here are a few of them!
Body Honour – reusable beeswax food wraps, produce bags, beeswax twist ties available at Bridgewater Farmers’ Market, Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market, Hubbards Farmers’ Market, Lunenburg Farmers’ Market, Tantallon Farmers’ Market, Wolfville Farmers’ Market
2. Bring along your own cutlery!
One of the appeals of visiting a farmers’ market is the delicious prepared foods – from curries to meat pies, soups and omelettes, the options are many! Some farmers’ markets in Nova Scotia are now offering ‘real’ dishes and cutlery to their customers eating in. If your local farmers’ market doesn’t offer this service, bringing your own is the answer!
Did you know that plastic cutlery is can take up to 1,000 years to decompose, and in the US more than 100 million pieces of plastic utensils are used every day?
Grab a set from your drawer and wrap it up in a cloth napkin, tea towel, bandana or even a bento bag! Or you can take it to the next level and invest in a cutlery roll or a beautiful handcrafted set of wooden cutlery.
3. Bring your own containers.
Many vendors are happy to have customers bring their own containers, saving them on packaging costs. For goods sold by weight, vendors will weigh or ‘tare’ your container prior to filling it up so are not paying for the weight of the container. We like to bring our own containers for fresh fish, prepared foods, and some veggie vendors have even started offering a ‘salad bar’ so you can fill up your own containers with salad greens.
Pro Tip: Prepare your containers and bags several days before, and put them in your car or by the front door. We recommend bringing an extra container or two for unplanned purchases, you never know what unexpected goodness you’ll find at the farmers’ market!
4. Take the time to drink your coffee.
So many of our Farmers’ Markets of Nova Scotia member markets have launched mug libraries with mugs donated by community members. Each coffee vendor has a stash of mugs so that customers can use coffee mugs instead of contributing single-use cups to the landfill. Hang around, grab a treat and enjoy the hustle and bustle of the market community!
You’ll find mug libraries at Halifax Brewery Farmers’ Market, Musquodoboit Harbour Farmers’ Market, Truro Farmers’ Market, Wolfville Farmer’s Market and more! Volunteers from Plastic Free Lunenburg are often seen passing out reusable mugs at the Lunenburg Farmers’ Market.
5. Return or reuse where you can.
Some vendors accept returns of their packaging for reuse, just ask! Jars from preserves and ferments make great storage for pantry dry goods, vases, water bottles, freezer storage, paint jars for kids, terrariums, the possibilities are endless!
Want to learn more about the #ZeroWaste Movement? Check out Zero Waste Nova Scotia for some awesome tips, visit the Halifax Brewery Market‘s upcoming Zero Waste Night Market, visit Waste Reduction Week in Canada‘s website for more info on what businesses and individuals across the country are doing to reduce their waste!