Living a zero waste and plastic-free life can be challenging. It is an amazing lifestyle knowing you have accumulated less waste that will go to the landfill. But, how can you ensure what you eat and consume is zero waste? It starts with a little research and stocking up on reusable containers and carrier bags. You will also need to be always assertive while shopping to avoid been swayed into the plastic section.
A zero waste lifestyle has become increasingly common globally. Zero waste shops are been opened every single day. The UK alone has close to 50 zero waste shops. Most of Europe is leading in the world to ensure their consumers have available options for reducing the amount of waste that ends up in landfills.
In Africa, we have the advantage of an all season arable land. Getting fresh groceries is a norm and in most cases, we do not need to import our fruits and vegetables – in a well-managed agricultural, food and beverage industry.
In Kenya, where most of our dry food items are packed in plastics from bread to grains and cereals, it is challenging adopting a zero waste and plastic-free lifestyle. But, nothing is complicated if you look in the right places. Still, a gap arises where we would need high quality zero waste and plastic free shops to accommodate the growing middle class in Kenya.
Here are some places to start
Every single town in Kenya has a local market. Nairobi itself is abundant. We have available and easy to access market; City Market, Ngara Market, Muthurwa, Githurai, Dagoretti Market, Kawangare Market, and Marikiti. You can get fresh fruits and vegetables. In some markets, you can get high-quality grains and cereals. It is advisable to research on the specific market days as this is when you will get fresh fruits and vegetables. Outside Nairobi, there are also plenty of local markets. Our rural areas also offer an opportunity for us to have local markets with readily available and affordable fruits, vegetables, cereals and grains.
Tip: Carry your own carrier bags to prevent yourself from buying more bags.
Tuskys Supermarket has recently added a new section to their enterprise. A whole grain section. This section has cereals and grains measured and packed on site. This is also available at Carrefour Supermarket. Instead of buying your rice or beans and even oatmeal and spices in a plastic bag or container, you can opt to try out this plastic-free section and embrace the zero waste lifestyle.
Healthy U has a section where you can stock up on healthy grains, pulses, seeds and nuts. This is a good initiative as you don’t have to purchase the already plastic-packaged items.
Zucchini is a retail business that focuses largely on fresh produce stocking a mix of fruits and vegetables sourced both locally and internationally.
Organic Farmers Market brings together farmers and food producers and encourages a healthier biodiversity and environment. The markets are currently located in Marula Studios in Karen, New Muthaiga Shopping Mall Market and Two Rivers Shopping Mall.
Most supermarkets in Kenya have fresh vegetables and fruit section. These are also great places to shop.
When you are not into buying food grown in other places and not by you, there is also the option of growing it yourself. If you are fortunate enough to have a kitchen garden, make use of it.
Kenya can embrace the zero waste and plastic free lifestyle which is a more forward thinking and sustainable way of living. We produce so much waste. Having entire plastic free shops, not only for food but also cleaning, beauty and personal products will ensure we are on the right path to producing less waste. Our population is increasingly growing and as human beings, we need to live sustainable lives not only for the future generation but also other animals inhabit our beautiful planet earth.