ZeroWaste Buying in Bulk: The Basics

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Bulk section at my local co-op where I get all my zero waste groceries in bulk.

Buying items in bulk was the most exciting part of my sustainable journey. The bulk section has all sorts of options I never knew I could get, package free. They have dates, peanut butter and even protein powder.  These are the steps to take whenever you choose to buy in bulk: 

Get the Tare: If you have a glass or other type of container you need to get the tare weight of it. This is important so you only pay for the product your buying and not the product plus the weight of the container. Simply go up to the register and ask if you can get the tare weight for your containers, they will mark them for you and you are off to the bulk good section of your co-op or grocery store.

Fill em’ up: This is where you can scoop the product you would like into your containers or baggies you brought. I always add anything that could be wet or very fine to my glass containers: peanut butter, flour, sugar, spices etc. As for bulkier items and produce, I bring my handy burlap bags to hold these items. The great thing is you do not need to get the tare weight of these bags because they are so light. Items that will go in these bags are produce, nuts, candy, corn kernel, legumes etc.

Get that PLU: Now after you fill up each item, you need to make sure you are collecting the PLU number associated with each product. I always like to bring a sharpie with me to write the PLU on my glass containers but they also have little tabs and pens for your bags. 

Pay: Last step is to go to the register and pay for your bulk items. The cashier will weight out each item and input the PLU number (so make sure this is right) to see how much you will pay. Personally, I never really weigh my items so I always get a little nervous on what the total is going to be, but let me tell you the first couple times, I was surprised to see how cheap buying in bulk is, cheaper than single packaged items that’s for sure!

At this point you can leave the grocery store feeling great because you just saved money and helped the planet at the same time. Once I’m home I transfer all of my bulk items into glass containers. Another benefit to buying in bulk is the aesthetic benefits, glass jars filled with colorful beans, flours and kernels look way better than a plastic bag or box with tacky logo on the front. 

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  1. DIY Sustainable Face Moisturizer + Toner says:

    […] I feel like there is the avoidance for using oil to moisturize your face because oil is related to pimples and breakouts but I have not had an issue and my skin has actually been clearer than when I used store bought products. Often times people dry out their skin like crazy, but this causes your body to produce more oil to make up for the natural oil you just striped from you face. Using a light, quick absorbing oil like jojoba or grapeseed oil is a perfect natural alternative to those pricey fancy face lotions you get at the store that are most likely filled with a bunch of toxins you can’t even pronounce. Yikes! If you are in Tucson, I buy my jojoba oil in bulk at Aqua Vita on Country Club or at your local co-op. I bring this little jar when I’m low, and just fill er’ up! If you’re confused by what I mean by this check out my other blog post about buying in bulk. […]

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