I have mentioned before that the wet markets and shops in the HDB heartlands offer some of the best bulk grocery solutions I have seen. They may not have the stylish, neutral-themed interior of the zero-waste shops, but they will function every bit like one if you bring along your own reusable bags and containers.
I have since built up a “zero waste kit” for wet market shopping. It is made up of upcycled items or containers that I already have at home. Make the stuff you owned work harder!
++ Reusable Produce/Shopping Bags ++
Usually, I tell the stallholders to skip the plastic bags and place all the fresh produce into my reusable shopping bags. My purchases typically fill up one to two bags. Anything more than that, I know that I have bought too much food.
// 01. Shopping Bags
I bring four of these foldable ones. One for leafy greens only, another for hardy/heavier vegetables like cabbage, potatoes, pumpkins, bitter gourds, tomatoes; you wouldn’t want the leafy ones to be crushed. The remaining two bags are for dry foods and others. I wash them regularly to keep them clean.
//02. Produce Bags
I handsewn this cotton one to pack fresh mushrooms, but I have since been using it for any fresh produce that fits in it; shallots, garlic, kaffir limes, etc.
//03. Mesh Bags
These are not store-bought mesh bags. They are actually packaging for wholesale garlic. The stallholders usually discard them after the contents have been emptied.
I requested for a few to be reuse as fruit bags. They hold up to five oranges nicely.
++ Reusable Containers ++
// 04. CNY Goodies Bottles
These plastic bottles are lightweight and handy for packing nuts, beans, grains, dried mushrooms, goji berries, black and white fungus, etc. from the dry food store. I usually plan ahead and bring along the number of containers required.
I don’t use mason jars when wet market shopping; the last thing I want is a broken-glass-incident at the market.
//05. Flour Container
Ever since I know the dry provision stall at the wet market I frequent sells flour in bulk, I have been avoiding pre-packed ones. I bring along this airtight container when I want to buy flour.
//06. Tofu Container
I use either an airtight container (photo above) or another plastic container (below) upcycled from an ice cream box to buy my tofu without packaging.
They go straight into my fridge after shopping.
// 07. Containers for Meat
Although I don’t eat meat, the rest of my family does. However, they consume very little of it; I usually buy one or two types of meat, and those will last us the entire week. Again, I will plan ahead what meat I am buying for my family, so they will fit nicely inside this 2-tier tiffin carrier.
Do you shop at the traditional wet markets too? Do you find planning-ahead the best way to avoid plastic packaging as well as food waste? Share you zero waste grocery shopping tip!