Living Zero-waste: Trash-free Food Shopping in Cebu City!

I always find posts on Facebook about people trying to do trash-free food shopping in Supermarkets and failed to do so because, Supermarkets will forever have packaged foods. Well ever since I started my zero-waste journey, one of the first things that I did to avoid trash is to shop in a place where it is not mandatory to package the food that I buy. If NYC has a Farmers’ Market where Lauren Singer does her food shopping, I have my most favorite place here in Cebu City; Carbon Market. ❤

I know, the place stinks and everybody has the stereotype that it is very dangerous to be there, but I actually don’t mind. I’ve been shopping my foods there even before I started my zero-waste journey and I always go home in one piece and I haven’t ever had any dangerous experience there. So you chill guys because, you might also start to have your very own Saturday Carbon Market Day (my favorite day of the week~) after reading this blog. 😉

Alright, so how do I do it? Lemme share to you some tips and tricks on how to do a trash-free food shopping:

Bring your reusable bags!

There should always be bags for the items to be carried. Any reusable bags will do. You will put there all the things that you will buy. For me, I bring my favorite eco bags that I bought from Metro.

What do I normally put inside the bags? Well, particularly everything that I bought. But, of course, you should also bring 1 reusable bag/container for each of the following:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Rice
  • Powders ( such as flours,  salt, etc)
  • Other items that need to be separated to bags


You might want to bring a roller if you don’t want to carry all the bags as you stroll around the huge Carbon Market. Promise, the bags will be very heavy.


Buying some eggs?

I used to buy a lot of Stick-Os before I started my zero-waste journey. Good thing I saved all of its containers. I upcycled them as containers for shopping fragile or messy food items. What better way to upcycle a Stick-O container, eh?


When stocking your eggs at home, it is still okay to use this container, but you should not cover it because the eggs will spoil.


Buying some Dried Fish and Bagoong?

These stinky Filipino favorite foods will never be forgotten whenever I go to Carbon Market. I always bring some Stick-O containers for the Dried Fishes and a jar for the Bagoong.

These yummy Filipino delicacies can be found near the Novo store in Carbon. Don’t get lost!


The sellers will automatically get plastic bags to select and weigh in your dried fishes. Make sure to tell them in advance that you have your own containers. Same for the Bagoong. 



Buying some cooking oil?

In buying cooking oil, you should bring a big jar. If I want to buy a 1 liter Cooking Oil (that is normally for Php 50,) I always bring that 1 liter jar that I bought from Unitop. But if I only want to buy 2 cups of cooking oil (that is normally for Php 18,) I’d probably bring my reused Sola bottle.

If I may insert, prices are cheaper compared to the Supermarket, right?


Cooking oils will normally be placed in a barrel, so choose a seller who has a tidier place. 



I know that I stated above that you may bring a bag for your fruits, but sometimes, you only will buy 2 or 3 pieces of fruits. So that you can mix it together with other items in 1 bag, you can always bring a container for them. That way, your fruits will not be damaged even if they were mixed with the other items in 1 bag.


Ask the seller if they will reuse those fruit accessories (pink net thing.) If they will, you can opt to not bring it with you. But if they will just throw it away, you save it and you can recycle it by using it in your eco project.


Food Shopping in Supermarkets?

Aside from all those foods mentioned above, I buy the rest in supermarkets. To mention some, I buy my milk, tea, oatmeal, and canned goods in supermarkets. Since there is absolutely no alternative to these foods and it is necessary for our daily lives, this is the time that we should be well-versed with the 5Rs (Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose, and Recycle.) If you know the 5Rs, you can absolutely do away with all the packaging of your supermarket-bought foods.

Again, don’t forget to bring your eco-bag!
As for me, I have a very strict “No supermarket or no department store shopping if no eco bag” rule unless if I can fit those items in my bag.


Don’t settle with Paper Bags. They take a lot more energy and resources to produce. Plus, they are additional thing to compost. *sighs


I think that ends my tips and tricks list for trash-free food shopping here in Cebu City. I know that it is absolutely not easy. It’s hard to bring all the containers and it’s very tiresome to always tell the sellers “Ay! Ate/kuya dili lang ko mag plastic.” whenever they automatically bring out plastic at their first glance of you, but for this campaign to be integrated by the businesses around us, we need to compromise and persist. The effort is all worth it, though. If you are going to do the items above, you absolutely will have a trash-free food shopping.

I hope this little blog helped.
Don’t forget to drop comments or questions in the comment box. I would gladly answer them. Thank you for reading!


4 thoughts on “Living Zero-waste: Trash-free Food Shopping in Cebu City!

  1. I admire you for what you do. The sacrifice you do even though sometimes inconvenient, will go a long way even if the effect may not be readily felt at this time. Keep up the good work and I hope more young people will follow your footsteps. God bless you for inspiring others (me included) to focus on our common goal to help the environment.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello! Thank you very much! I am very happy that my posts were able to fulfill their purpose. I am also very glad that many (including you) have shown positive feedbacks and are also willing to extend their help in saving and conserving our environment! Let’s continue this valuable endeavor! 🙂


  2. Very nice! It is really a challenge transitioning to a zero-waste lifestyle. As nature lovers, we are also adopting the same lifestyle as yours—-we’re preparing bento boxes rather than buy take-out food in plastic bags, bring our own eco-bags, bringing our own eating utensils, etc. We may not be able to achieve a completely zero-waste lifestyle, but we’ll definitely, significantly reduce our trash. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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