Zero waste grocery shopping in Galway
Galway is indisputably a good place to live. If you’ve managed to find housing within the city, it’s extremely walkable for most able-bodied people, and there’s usually something going on. While the city doesn’t seem to be particularly green, plenty of people cycle and there are plenty of charity shops. I haven’t found any limitations to leading a zero waste lifestyle here, except for the difficulties of recycling glass, which must be disposed of separately and can’t be recycled through any curbside programs.
That in mind, there are only a few key places you’ll need to get zero waste groceries if you’re living or visiting zero waste in Galway:
Who doesn’t love the market? I can’t go without seeing someone I know; it’s a small city. The market has what every zero waster in-progress dreams of: piles of naked produce, locally made goods, and vegetarian food. Shopping at the market can help cut down on packaging if you’re into that, and it can sometimes have a lower carbon footprint if market produce was sustainably grown closer to home and traveled a shorter distance than produce which has been imported. I love that you can purchase handmade soaps, there as well, for you bar soap fiends.
I am a big fan of grocery stores; they’re convenient, and I have to go there anyway to get certain goods, so it just makes sense to buy other things while you’re there. Plus, the market isn’t open every day.
I recommend Lidl over Tesco, Aldi, and the other larger grocers in Galway because they have the largest variety of unpackaged produce, not to mention a bakery section. You can get most fruit and veg in one way or another totally plastic-free, which other stores can’t beat. The bakery section also gives you access to package free bread. While it’s not common to bring your own bags for bread, I’ve never had any trouble; since the provided disposable bags are opaque and must be opened by the cashier, it’s not more of a hassle to peak in my bag.
For you die-hard Tesco fans (I know you’re out there), I recommend you visit your beloved supermarket to check their sales. The almost-expired section at Tesco usually has food in perfectly good condition that will go to the bin if it’s not purchased. It’s more zero waste to prevent food waste than it is to purchase something package free.
Materson’s Fruit and Veg
Next to the shopping center on Headford Road, you’ve probably seen this little fruit and vegetable stand. It’s not my usual place to buy fruit and veg, but they have good prices and I haven’t had trouble buying package free. They have a big variety of produce that seems to change from week to week, or at least the best deals do.
If you live in Galway, you’ve been to or heard of the Filling Station. Located a few minutes walk from shop street on Abbeygate Street, the Filling Station is the zero waste store I dreamed for over two years prior to having one; the Filling Station sells some products you might have trouble finding other places, like shampoo bars and reusable menstrual pads, but that’s not why it’s in this post.
The Filling Station has a grocery section on the bottom floor that sells in bulk; you can tare your own containers and fill them with seeds, nuts, flours, pasta, rice, dried fruits, beans, and other dry foods. They also (swoon) have bulk liquids, like cooking oils and upstairs, shampoos, soaps, etc. too. The Filling Station sells fresh bread and pastries, as well as package free eggs. There are bags and containers for purchase if you don’t have your own, but I recommend finding something to reuse instead if possible.
I hope you find a rhythm for zero waste grocery shopping, and take this as just one step in a more conscious lifestyle. Happy zero wasting!