Chances are you, like me, eat the same thing for breakfast most mornings. For my family, it’s oatmeal. Big hearty bowls of oatmeal, flavored with peanut butter, dried fruit, nuts, seeds, cinnamon, and a splash of maple syrup. When berries, apples, peaches, and other fruits are in season, we add those too.
In order to make our breakfast as efficient – environmentally, economically, and practically – as possible, we buy all of our breakfast supplies in bulk. Bulk shopping means we get the best price for items we would buy anyway. It cuts down on our trash because bulk foods come in large, recyclable/compostable sacks or boxes instead of small, plastic containers or bags. We used to fill containers at the Concord Coop bulk bins, which they fill from those big sacks and boxes, but realized, since we eat so much, we could just skip the middle man and buy the sacks and boxes directly from them.
Through the Coop’s Buying Club, we buy 25 or 50 pound bags of oatmeal, 15 or 20 pound boxes of dried fruit (raisins, apricots, dates, prunes), 25 pound boxes of nuts, and 16 ounce bags of cinnamon (that’s A LOT of cinnamon). To make our lives easier, we usually transfer smaller amounts of these foods to jars in our cabinets. We also fill a giant glass container with freshly ground peanut butter, a big glass jar with loose tea (they have coffee too), and a smaller jar with local honey. When we can’t get up to KGF for our syrup, we refill our syrup jug at the Coop also. And we make our own oat milk for the tea from the giant bag of oatmeal.
The only plastic we have to deal with is the giant, reusable bags that the nuts and dried fruits come in (they work great as trash bags or can be recycled) and that little cinnamon bag. The cardboard boxes and paper sacks can be reused, recycled, or composted. We save a lot of money by buying this way, sometimes over 50% off the regular price! Yes, it is a larger cost upfront, but the savings are worth it on items we know we’ll eat (we also buy bulk flour, beans, rice, and a few other pantry items).
Is bulk buying for everyone? No! I don’t want to encourage anyone down the road to food waste, but if you know you eat something all the time, bulk buying makes a lot of sense for you and the Earth.
Questions or thoughts on buying in bulk? Please share them here!