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Topic: Bulk shopping fun and challenges (Read 396 times) previous topic - next topic

Bulk shopping fun and challenges
I've switched to buying more items in bulk and bringing my own containers. It helps me to focus on eating more whole foods and reduces unnecessary packaging. I do recycle, but I reduce packaging, so there's less to recycle.

Today was my 3rd time to bring my own containers and get bulk from a particular store. I bought beans, rice, pickles, bagels, salt, honey, etc. and put it in my own containers and jars that I brought from home. I weighed the containers carefully and wrote down the tare weights, as well as the PLU numbers. The other two times had gone very smoothly without any incident. This time, I got an extremely flustered cashier. She couldn't figure out how to put in the tare weights.

She got help and ended up figuring out how to do it. She and the cashier next to her suggested that I "just use the plastic bags," for the bulk.

I went to talk to the store manager to see what the problem was. It turns out, that the cashier was new and not experienced. People are welcome to bring their own containers to that store. The manager actually mentioned that when people don't use the packaging provided by the store, it saves the store money.

The manager told me which lanes typically have the more experienced cashiers, so I'll be going there next time, since previously I had no problems when going through a different lane.

On the plus side, I've also had very good experiences shopping. Whole Foods Market was really good and didn't bat an eye, when I brought my own container for the salad bar.

On the way back from vacation, I found a health food store with a very wide variety of bulk items. They sell dried fruit, spices, gluten free soy sauce, olive oil, beans, rice, granola, and a whole bunch of other things in bulk.

Instead of recycling all those little spice containers, I'll just take them back for a refill!
~Ruth, wife to Tim since 11/6/05 and WAHM to Hannah (11), Micah (9), and Abigail (6)

  • Gen
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Re: Bulk shopping fun and challenges
Reply #1
Thats really cool Ruth! Id love a store like this locally. Im trying to reduce the amount of plastic I use but it is quite a challenge with teenagers and changing the way they are used to things. Personally, Im working on reducing the amount of waste I produce. Not as easy as you'd think but a work in progress.

Re: Bulk shopping fun and challenges
Reply #2
We are working on that as well.

Maybe we could make this thread a place to post suggestions on how to reduce trash output. The interesting thing about reducing waste is that most of the foods that have the most wasteful packaging aren't very healthy either. So reducing waste usually means healthier food choices.
~Ruth, wife to Tim since 11/6/05 and WAHM to Hannah (11), Micah (9), and Abigail (6)

  • Melinda
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Re: Bulk shopping fun and challenges
Reply #3
The only store we have to buy in bulk is Costco or sams lol I have never seen a store that you could go in and measure out your own beans or rice etc
Mom to 7 boys (16,13,10,8,4,2yr and 6wks) and several late 1st trimester losses,

Re: Bulk shopping fun and challenges
Reply #4
Here are a few of the practical ways that I limit our household waste:

1) Package free shopping wherever possible. This not only cuts out packaging waste, but it's healthier. The store near us has bulk an olive bar, bakery, fresh honey, fresh pickles, salt, beans, rice, nut butter that's ground fresh on the spot, and oats that are milled on the spot.

2) No paper plates, plastic cutlery, kleenex, paper napkins, or disposable water bottles
We bring reusable picnic plates, metal cutlery, and cloth napkins when we're out and about. I keep a basket of handkerchiefs on our piano and usually throw a couple in my purse, since I have allergies. I don't buy bottled water anymore. We refill our reusable water bottles as needed.

3) I switched to a razor made by a company called Preserve. They make it out of recycled plastic from yogurt cups and other such things and it is refillable, so only the actual cartridge part gets thrown out eventually. The handle is fully recyclable and the company has a "Take Back" policy. The packaging on the product is actually a reusable travel case, so most of the packaging doesn't need to get thrown away.

4) I recycle our old toothbrushes through TerraCycle. (they have a mail in program for hard to recycle items)

I plan to switch to Preserve toothbrushes, so that they're easier to recycle.

5) I bought an aluminum cat litter scoop. It's more durable than plastic and most of it can get recycled if it becomes unusable rather than landfilling all of it.

6) I use reusable bags for groceries. They're much more durable and don't break when I'm hauling heavy items. Recently, I filled one up with a bunch of cat food cans and other groceries. It was really heavy but never broke!

I also get the added benefit of not having a cluttered drawer in the kitchen. Those plastic bags used to take over my drawer and now I don't have that problem anymore.

I also use reusable produce bags.

If I end up with a stray plastic grocery bag here and there from someone using one to give me clothes or something, they get taken back to the store for recycling.

It's been a work in progress. I sure do enjoy having less garbage to contend with and haul away.

~Ruth, wife to Tim since 11/6/05 and WAHM to Hannah (11), Micah (9), and Abigail (6)

Re: Bulk shopping fun and challenges
Reply #5
We also started a compost bin. We still do get some fast food and the compost bin takes care of a lot of paper packaging, since contaminated paper can't be recycled. Pizza boxes and paper wrappings from subs and Taco Bell can be composted. Some junk mail can also be composted if it's uncoated paper.
~Ruth, wife to Tim since 11/6/05 and WAHM to Hannah (11), Micah (9), and Abigail (6)

  • Gen
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Re: Bulk shopping fun and challenges
Reply #6
I started a makeshift compost bin in my back yard. I got so tired of throwing away perfectly good ingredients for making nutrient dense DIRT! I love composting.

Thanks for those links Ruth ( @BlessedMommy ). Those are definately things Im looking for. I always forget my reusable shopping bags tho. As you say, its a work in progress.

Re: Bulk shopping fun and challenges
Reply #7
You're welcome!  :happygreen:

I forget to take my shopping bags in a lot too. I will refuse the bags and just carry the items in my hands or put them back in the cart unbagged. Or I will run back to the car and get my reusable bags.

~Ruth, wife to Tim since 11/6/05 and WAHM to Hannah (11), Micah (9), and Abigail (6)

Re: Bulk shopping fun and challenges
Reply #8
I also have completely eliminated plastic wrap, aluminum foil, and ziplock bags from my kitchen routine. I really like the Pyrex snapware kitchen containers.
~Ruth, wife to Tim since 11/6/05 and WAHM to Hannah (11), Micah (9), and Abigail (6)

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