Have you ever found a dish on Pinterest or allrecipes.com and got excited over it? So excited that you’ve practically convinced yourself that you’ll be making that for dinner tonight? Me too. You then look over the recipe and think: I have that ingredient. Check that ingredient. I think I may have a little bit of that spice. And then you pause and think: Who has THAT in their pantry? Yeah, me too.
Next time you find a recipe which calls for a teaspoon of spice X, don’t bother buying a whole container of spice X. Instead, consider buying from the bulk bin. Below are three reasons why buying in bulk is good for you and the planet.
Advantages of buying in bulk
Minimizes waste. The one myth that I want to dispel about buying in bulk is that you don’t have to buy a ton of one item. In fact, you can buy as much or as little as you want. Often times, you only need a certain amount of an ingredient to create a recipe. If you only need a tablespoon, a dash, or a cup of something, then you buy what you need instead of buying a whole package. Unless you will use that ingredient in another recipe soon, it may sit in your pantry and go stale before you can use it. Waste is averted by buying and using only what you need without throwing away stale food items.
Reduces your cost. This goes hand in hand with minimizing waste. One advantage of buying from bulk bins is paying for only what you need. If you need five pounds of cashews for a bake sale, you shovel five pounds into a container and pay for five pounds. The flexibility of buying in bulk means you are not limited to paying for several packages of six ounces packets. Quite frankly, you’re paying for more than the cashews, you’re paying for the fancy packet that the cashews came in as well.
Minimizes packaging needs. This point goes hand in hand with minimizing cost. Everyday pantry items (i.e. oatmeal, flour, nuts) purchased in regular aisles come in individual packaging. This packaging (cans, boxes, cartons and label) costs manufacturers money to produce as well. The cost is added to the price of the product and incurred by the consumer. I’m not talking about a lot of money for packaging, but over time, does add up. Items in bulk bins are not packaged individually. Therefore, you don’t incur that cost. Additionally, individually packaged items are packaged themselves for easier transport. There’s a reduction in the overall packaging (i.e. boxes, plastic wrap, palette) for bulk items since they are, well, packaged efficiently in bulk. That is certainly better for the planet.
Some stats on packaging
- If Americans purchased all of their coffee from the bulk bins for 1 month, 20,000,000 pounds of foil packaging would be saved from landfills. That’s the equivalent weight of 7,667 compact cars.
- If Americans purchased all of their almonds in bulk for 1 month, 6,000,000 pounds of waste would be saved from landfills. That’s the equivalent weight of 522.5 elephants.
- Purchasing oatmeal from the bulk bins saves 5x the waste of its packaged equivalent.
In addition to advantages for consumers, there are similar reasons why offering bulk items are beneficial to grocers as well. I am fortunate to live near groceries where bulk bins are available. I know that not everyone has that luxury. I started looking online and it seems that there are some manufacturers that offer bulk items.
Is there a brick and mortar store close to you where you can buy in bulk? If so, consider taking the pledge to buy from the bulk bins this Earth Month. By doing so, you will automatically be entered into a drawing to win a bulk prize pack. Visit BIG™ to learn more about how buying in bulk is good for the planet and your wallet, as well as stores where you can find bulk bins.
Have you ever bought everyday pantry items from the bulk bin? Do you think buying in bulk is something that would be of benefit to your family?
Disclosure: I received products featured in this post for review purposes. All opinions expressed are my own.