Ethical Grocery Shopping – Updated 16th May 2017

multicoloured carrots

So as part of plastic free July I’ve been auditing our grocery shop and aiming to buy as much unpackaged, organic, locally-grown food as possible. It’s a real challenge to buy organic locally-grown items and sometimes you have to choose between locally-grown or organic from abroad*. Sometimes the switch has been very easy and just by checking the packaging on various brands I’ve been able to switch for products in recyclable packaging for no extra cost.

Here is our grocery shopping list for July. I’ve listed the items by brand name (if there is one), price, if they’re organic / sustainable, the packaging type, the store we buy them from. I’m located in South Dublin so these are the places closest to me.

  • Mince beef meat, €11.99 per kg (organic, own-packaging) – Leopardstown Food Market, D18
  • Round steak, €15.00 per kg (organic, own-packaging) – Leopardstown Food Market, D18
  • Fresh fish (own packaging)  – Fish counter, Supervalu
  • Vegetables (organic, own-packaging) – EcoLogic, Windy Arbour, Dublin 14 and Leopardstown Food Market, D18
  • Girolomoni spaghetti, €1.79 for 500g (organic, recyclable packaging** from Italy) – EcoLogic, Windy Arbour, Dublin 14
  • Bunalun fussili Pasta, €2.15 for 500g (organic,  recyclable** packaging from Italy for Irish company) – Supervalu
  • Natur Compagnie noodles, €2.29 for 200g (organic, recyclable** packaging from Germany) – Ecologic, Windy Arbour, Dublin 14
  • Couscous, €2.10 for 500g (compostable packaging) – Asian market, Dublin 2
  • Sliced bread, €1.99 for large loaf, (own packaging) – Lidl
  • Bread rolls / Burger Buns, 35cent each, (own packaging) – Lidl
  • Golden Sun long grain rice, €1.19 for 1KG for (compostable packaging) – Lidl
  • Eggs, €1.99 for 6 (free range, Irish, own packaging) – Supervalu
  • Clearwater soy sauce, €2.72 for 100ml (organic, recyclable packaging, Japanese) – Supervalu
  • Bunalun tinned tomatoes, 99cent for 400g, (organic, recyclable packaging from Italy for Irish company) – Supervalu
  • Suma Tomato Puree, €1.67*** for 200g, (organic, recyclable packaging from Italy) – Dublin Food Coop
  • Milk, 99cent for 1L, (organic, recyclable packaging, Northern Ireland) – Aldi
  • Raw milk, €2.50 for 2L, (organic, recyclable packaging) – Leopardstown Food Market, D18
  • Cream, €2.45 for 250ml, (organic, recyclable packaging, Irish) – EcoLogic, Windy Arbour, Dublin 14
  • Strong bread flour, €2.75*** for 1.5kg (organic,  compostable packaging from England) – Food Coop, Newmarket Sq, D8
  • Pasta flour, €2.35*** for 1kg (organic,  compostable packaging from England) – Food Coop, Newmarket Sq, D8
  • Wasa crispbreads, €2.29 for 200g (compostable packaging) – Supervalu
  • Fiorentini Multigrain cakes, €1.49 for 200g (organic, recyclable** packaging) – Supervalu
  • Wine €8.50 for 750ml (organic, recyclable packaging) – Supervalu, or wines from The Organic Supermarket, Rathgar, Dublin 6
  • Salami, €1.34 for 100g (sliced at deli counter, own packaging) – Supervalu or Polonez Store
  • Gouda cheese, 69 cent for 100g  (deli counter, own packaging) – Polonez Store
  • Tuna, 89 cent for 200g (pole & line caught, recyclable packaging) – Aldi
  • Aspall cider vinegar, €2.50 for 500ml (organic, recyclable packaging from England) – The Green Door Pantry, Newmarket, D8
  • Your Nature ketchup, €2.00 for 500g (organic, recyclable packaging from the Netherlands) – The Green Door Pantry, Newmarket, D8
  • Peanut butter, €3.75 per 275g (palm-oil free, own container) – Hopsack, Rathmines, Dublin 6
  • Haribo jellies, €1 for 180g (recyclable packaging**) – Supervalu
  • Table salt, 29 cent for 500g (compostable packaging) – Lidl
  • Lyons loose Tea, €3.49 for 250g (rainforest alliance, mostly compostable packaging) – Supervalu

To make the whole process more manageable i just looked to swap a few products every time I shopped, that way it wasn’t overwhelming.  I also buy a few of each item every time I shop and store them in my pantry, that way i only need to visit most stores every few weeks – except for my fruit and veg store.

I’ve started trying to make more items from scratch at home. We’ve always been good at making dinners from scratch but now we’ve added the following to the mix;

In the household department we use the following

  • Laundry –
    • soapnuts, €16 for 1kg ( lasts about a year, non-recylable plastic bag) – Down to Earth, Georges Street, D2 or
    • Bio D washing powder €12.15*** for 2kg, (SLS free, made in the UK, cruelty free, recyclable plastic bag**), Food Co-op, Newmarket, D8 or
    • Sonett Laundry liquid, €10.95 for 2L (100% biodegradable, recyclable bottle), Eco Logic, D14
  • Laundry – essential oil, €5.50 (glass bottle, plastic top) – Down to Earth, Georges Street, D2
  • Washing up – Bio D, €2.68*** for 1L refill (SLS free, made in the UK, cruelty free, refillable plastic bottle) – Food Co-op, Newmarket, D8
  • Washing up – Wooden washing-up brush with agave bristles, €2.20 for brush and €1.20 for replaceable head (non packaging, timer and bristles are compostable & metal section is recyclable) – Klee Paper, Cabra East, D7
  • Rubber Gloves – Traidcraft, €1.64*** per pair, (Fairtrade, recyclable plastic packaging) Food Co-op, Newmarket, D8
  • Kitchen Paper – Essential, €2.26*** for two rolls (Recycled, compostable packaging) Food Co-op, Newmarket, D8
  • Cleaning – Vinegar, 5L for €3.50 (recyclable packaging**, Made in England) – Asian Market, D2
  • Cleaning – Bicarbonate of Soda, 3kg for €4.95 (compostable packaging, packed in Ireland) – Asian Market, D2

We’ve also started to make some of our own toiletries as well and so far we’ve found great recipes for;

I haven’t included any bog-standard item in the list because i figure it’s not of much use for you to know where I buy run-of-the-mill items.  As I find affordable, sustainable replacements for my bog-standard items I’ll update this list.

All the best


*I appreciate that some people will argue that local is always better than organic from abroad and some don’t like plastic coated tins or containers even if they are recyclable. I’m happy to leave people to make their own choice in this regard. I think if we’re all trying our best we should support one another, even if that choice isn’t one that we’d make ourselves.

**Since i wrote this post i found out that my bin collection company doesn’t take type 5 or type 6 plastics, even though these are recyclable. Thankfully my local recycling centre does take this type of plastic – along with a lot more –  so i’m going to stockpile this type of packaging and make the odd trip to the recyling centre.

***The Food Co-op give 5% discount off prices quoted here to members of the co-op


2 thoughts on “Ethical Grocery Shopping – Updated 16th May 2017

  1. Pingback: Low-waste Lifestyle | living lightly in ireland

  2. Pingback: Six Weeks towards Zero Waste | living lightly in ireland

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