Consumers can make a difference and reduce the environmental impact of the food they consume with their shopping choices. Many people don’t realize the tremendous impact that agriculture and the production of food have on the environment, or that they can help lessen that impact with their purchasing decisions.

Buying locally produced food can help you reduce your overall grocery carbon footprint, as can choosing companies that use sustainable packaging. Food packaging combined with food make up almost half of all municipal waste. And with less than 1/3 of packaging being compostable or recyclable, your decision to only buy food with sustainable packaging can make a big difference. Your decision can keep food packaging out of landfills where they take hundreds of years to degrade and leach chemicals into soil and groundwater while they do.

Livestock requires much more land than crops grown for human consumption. Pastures and farms that grow animal feed account for more than three quarters of all agricultural land, even though they produce less than 20% of the total calories consumed by people. Eating less meat and using plant-based alternatives could help reduce the number of livestock required to feed people throughout the world and lessen the impact on the environment.

To learn more about what you can do to help protect the environment through your eating habits, check out the accompanying resource.