Woman pushing a shopping cart down a supermarket aisle

Do you think you need to shop online or drive to a specialty store like Whole Foods to purchase sustainable items? I can find almost everything I need at my local supermarket. It offers such a large selection of items that it is easy to make the best choices for sustainability.

My supermarket has an organic and local produce section. By purchasing in season and checking for sales, it’s really not that pricey to get fresh organic produce. If organic isn’t available, you could select non-organic vegetables and fruit from the Environmental Working Group’s list of the Clean 15 (like avocados), and avoid items from EWG’s Dirty Dozen list (like strawberries). The EWG lists classify produce as “clean” or “dirty” based on tests for pesticide residue.

Fragrance-free products are readily available in my supermarket. I like that I can avoid a whole class of toxins simply by avoiding added fragrance. I get unscented items like dish detergent and use plain Castile soap for my hair and clothes. And for sustainable DIY cleaners and personal care products, white vinegar, baking soda, and coconut oil are easy to find in my supermarket — even the organic versions.

I also consider packaging when shopping with sustainability in mind. I get bar soap wrapped in paper, coffee in aluminum cans, pasta in cardboard boxes instead of plastic, and products in glass jars. When a product I want comes in plastic, I can make sure it’s recyclable locally before I purchase it.

I can offset the higher prices of organic and specialty items by following my supermarket’s weekly sales and using my customer discount card.

It’s nice to know that most of the earth-friendly purchases that we make can come right from the local supermarket. I can get it all in one trip without the carbon footprint of extra shipping!

By Joanna Lacey

Joanna Lacey lives in New York and has collected thousands of ideas from the frugal habits of her mother and grandmother. You can find her on Facebook at Joanna the Green Maven.