Paper or Plastic? Neither!
The question of whether to use paper or plastic shopping bags is debatable. The best way to really make a positive change and reduce unnecessary waste is to bring your own reusable shopping bags that can be used many times. It's not even necessary to go out and buy a fancy bag. Any large shoulder or beach bag could work. If you do end up having to get paper or plastic bags make sure that they are recycled or reused. Also remember you can use the bags at any retail store, not just the supermarket!
It's a good idea to buy in bulk and purchase items that are not individually packaged. Not only will this most likely save you money, it will reduce unnecessary packaging. Try to choose the large container over the small one if you know that it will be used. Things like liquid soap can be put into a small dispenser from a large refill bottle. Snacks and single servings can be put into little reusable containers on the go, so it often isn't necessary to buy prepackaged serving sized foods.
Eating Lower on the Food Chain
In general, animal products are not "green" because they require intensive resources to produce. By some estimates, beef consumption is contributing more to global warming than automobile use because of all the land, water, grain and chemicals needed. You don't have to be vegetarian. A good rule of thumb is to eat lower on the food chain, favoring fresh veggies, fruit, grains, beans and tofu over beef, cream, butter, pork and chicken. Opt for organic animal products when you do enjoy them and eat small portions. Make it a goal to eat vegetarian at least one day a week.
Buying seasonal, local food from farmers' markets or even known local suppliers in the grocery store is better for the environment for a lot of reasons. Since most food travels many miles to reach your table, locally sourced food cuts back on the climate-change impacts of transportation. Local food also generally uses less packaging, is fresher and tastier, and comes in more varieties. It also supports small local growers and lets them get more for their produce by not having to spend so much on packing, processing, refrigeration, marketing, and shipping.
Super Local: Grow Your Own!
Growing your own fruits, vegetables and herbs is a great way to get some organic produce at a fraction of the cost and eliminate shipping and storage that contributes to the industrial food system's large "carbon footprint." Even if space is limited you can grow tomatoes, herbs, potatoes and other necessities easily from your apartment window, balcony or simply the back porch.
Choose organic foods to reduce the impact of farming Organic foods are raised in a sustainable way and are often healthier too. 100% organic is truly organic and the most sustainable choice because it means that no harmful chemicals are used, that animals are raised according to strict standards and that farmland is managed sustainably. There are no hormones used, there's no irradiation, and genetic modification is banned, too.