How to help the environment as you do your supermarket shopping

Promotion for Earthwise

As the saying goes, ‘there is no planet B’. And there is a growing awareness that we need to look after our planet’s environment better than we have been. But what does this actually mean and how can we be sure we are doing our bit?

There is no shortage of coverage in the media about the state of our environment and we cannot deny that our planet is suffering.

Companies are increasingly examining all aspects of manufacturing to minimise their environmental impact and strive for sustainability. From the ingredients they source, to the manufacturing process, the packaging and distribution, they endeavour to ensure they are making the best decisions for the environment.

While the vast majority of us are unable to effect significant change, we can each make small changes in our daily lives to contribute to improved outcomes. An added bonus is that if it’s good for environmental sustainability it’s likely to be good for you and your family too!

Our most frequent purchasing decisions are groceries, so grab your reusable shopping bags and find out what to look for at the supermarket!

No nasties

While it seems counter-intuitive, ingredients such as parabens, synthetic colourants, phthalates, ammonia, and phosphates are commonly used in products available at your local supermarket, and can be problematic to you and the environment. Some, such as phthalates have been linked to a range of serious health issues especially in children born to women exposed to them, while other ingredients can be skin irritants or end up damaging our waterways. Check the ingredients list and the packaging to make sure you are not buying any nasties.

Being Earthwise

Keep an eye out on the supermarket shelves for products from Earthwise. Since 1967 Earthwise has been making products right here in New Zealand that are better for people and the world they live in. Their range of natural, eco-friendly, household cleaning and laundry products, are grey water and septic tank safe and produced in their Environmental Choice NZ certified factory.  The household range is complemented by their Earthwise Nourish range of natural, affordable personal care products that use natural plant-based ingredients to gently cleanse and nourish from top to toe. To find out more visit


Bio-degradable means that over time the products break down to carbon dioxide and water leaving no other residue. Earthwise uses plant-based packaging and ingredients that are naturally biodegradable and better for the environment. Look out for plant-based ingredients that have been sustainably farmed and are renewable..

Biodegradable includes dissolvable so look for products that are wrapped in biodegradable/dissolvable wrappers such as dishwasher tablets.

Recyclable and recycled

Packaging that is made from recycled materials or is recyclable is the next best thing after biodegradable. Recycling facilities vary across New Zealand but generally glass bottles and jars, tin, steel and aluminium cans, cardboard and paper can be recycled. Some plastics can be recycled (plastic types 1 and 2) – check on your local council website which other types they can recycle. Since Oct 2018, Earthwise Group Ltd has reused and diverted 200T of plastic from landfills. One of their initiatives was moving their Earthwise Household Cleaning range to bottles made from 75% recycled plastic, sourced from milk, juice and water bottles. Yes to progress!

Local ingredients and production

Buying local means reduced environmental impact from transport emissions while also contributing to our economy. Look for companies who are locally produced. Earthwise products, for example, are made in New Zealand at their Auckland based factory, and where possible raw ingredients, product packaging, bottles and cardboard cartons are sourced locally to reduce their carbon footprint.

What is your best tip for shopping in an environmentally conscious way?

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author robynWritten by Robyn

Robyn creates content on Kidspot NZ. Her hobbies include buying cleaning products and wondering why things don’t then clean themselves, eating cheese scones with her friends, and taking her kids to appointments.

Favourite motto to live by: “It too will pass”


  1. SarahBlair 08/03/2020 at 5:09 pm

    I use reusable bags, I love Earthwise products and try to buy them when I can but often its a choice between my budget and getting the more expensive products, often the budget wins as I have 7 people to feed and a single income. I always get them when they are on special though!

  2. Alezandra 07/03/2020 at 11:40 pm

    The best thing about the plastic ban is that it’s been a habit to take our reusable bags all the time. I have foldable re-usable bags in my own purse as well for any emergencies. I need to relook at looking at all the plastic containers we purchase for detergent, liquid soap, hand wash soap etc. Another option is going to Bin Inn and bringing your own container.

  3. Mands1980 02/03/2020 at 8:16 pm

    We use reusable bags and they go straight back in the car after use. Also using bring your own bags for fruit which you can buy at the supermarket. Buying less plastic items . We have a little shop which you can buy all natural products like laundry powder, cleaning products etc and you use your own containers which is great.

  4. Micht 28/02/2020 at 12:22 am

    Using reusable bags, walking to places, eco friendly shopping…. etc…

  5. Jen_Wiig 27/02/2020 at 2:05 pm

    I use produce bags not only for produce but for pick and mix bins, deli meat and bakery area. My local Pak N Save has just introduced bio degradable produce bags too so I’ll double bag some of my fruit and vege and then use again next time I come if I forget my ones.

  6. MuddledUpMolly 26/02/2020 at 10:13 pm

    Great article in what is increasingly an eco conscious world that we now live in. I like the Earthwise brand but not enough to continue purchasing the dishwashing powder, which just does not work! We use reusable bags, both grocery and produce. I prefer to buy in bulk for kids snacks and pack into our own reusable containers. It’s all about changing the way we do things for the better.

  7. Shorrty4life1 25/02/2020 at 11:43 am

    We normally try and buy things that aren’t coated in heaps of plastic. We bring our own biodegradable bags in also with us and if we forget we buy paper bags anyway as its more environment

  8. gcnz02 25/02/2020 at 11:22 am

    We get milk delivered in glass bottles, they take the empty bottles away to reuse, so good. We refill containers for dish washing liquid and soap (bin inn or ekko naturals), or use soap bars, and shampoo bars too.
    It’s annoying that “environmental” choices can be a lot more expensive.

  9. Bevik1971 21/02/2020 at 9:58 am

    We have become a lot more conscious of what we buy and how we live over the past few years. We buy all of our fruit and veges at the local Farmer’s Market every Sat and they do us for the week. We don’t use any plastic bags at home at all now, if I have to buy say a loose piece of fruit etc at the supermarket I leave it loose. We take reusable bags all the time. We use Eco Store laundry powder, dish washing liquid, dishwasher powder and spray cleaner. Love the range and it works really well, in fact better than some other brands 🙂

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