Grocery store visits are a huge opportunity to cut down your personal packaging/ plastic waste! By now I think many of us are bringing our own bags (if you have trouble remembering yours, these ones are great because they fold up super small, so I keep at least one in my purse and in the car at all times) and maybe you’ve even taken the next step and are using reusable produce bags like these ones as well! If you want to add another super easy, cost-cutting, eco-friendly habit to your grocery routine, try shopping from bulk bins! You can find these bins at several grocery stores, including Whole Foods and Sprouts (my personal favorite).
To start, you’ll want to make sure you bring your reusable produce bags or jars (I always save glass jars from sauces and other foods to reuse at the bulk bins). If you are using a jar, you’ll want to weigh it empty using the scales they provide at your bulk bin store, and write the weight on the jar (many reusable produce bags, like the ones I linked, come with tags on them that do this step for you). The weight of the container without any contents is called “tare”, so it’s helpful to label it as such so it’s clear to the clerk, who will subtract that weight and only charge you for the weight of the contents. Once you have your jar or bag ready to go, simply find your favorite items, scoop as much or as little as you’d like, and write the PLU code or product number on your container! There SO many awesome items in the bulk bin section that are almost always more affordable than their pre-packaged alternatives.
My go-to bulk bin items:
- Nuts (I often use these to make my own trail mixes and nut milks & butters)
- Dried Fruit
- Grains (Rice, Quinoa, Oats, etc.)
- Spices (Sea Salt, Pepper, Dried Herbs, etc.)
- Chia Seeds (I put these in smoothies as a great source of fiber & protein)
- Loose leaf tea (This has an added benefit, since many tea bags are made with polypropylene, a sealing plastic)
- Baking Items (Flours, Sugars, Chocolate Chips, etc.)
Try it out on your next grocery trip and share your experience and any other eco-friendly grocery tips you have in the comments below!