Buying in Bulk

Bulk seems to be the way to go to get away from all this packaging. And I’m not talking about bulk foods that sell larger boxes or 5 boxes of cereal packaged together, wound up with plastic cellophane either. We visited a BJ’s Wholesale Club, and that’s all they offered.

This is what I'm talking about!

I’m looking for bulk in bins that I can scoop out into a mesh or cloth bag and take home with me = absolutely no packaging. Apparently, in Canada bulk foods are the norm. It hasn’t yet reached America. WHY ARE WE SO BEHIND IN THIS? Somebody,  please, enlighten me.

There is no Whole Foods Store in this area but I found a natural food store in Virginia Beach called The Heritage Store. They carry beans, flour, sugar, cereals, spices, and whole grains in bulk. They even offer local honey which you fill in a glass jar or bring your own. The store offers small, plastic bags with stickers to write the serial number of the product, but I bring my own bags.

No one looks at me like I’m weird when I go to the cash register.

Once we move south this summer, I’m pleased to find there is a Whole Foods Store 45 minutes away in Jacksonville, FL. So, I can continue to try buying  in bulk.

The hands of all the little kids in the store...

All candy is out unless it comes in a cardboard box with no plastic lining–like Whoppers.
I found a bulk candy store at the Navy Exchange called It’s Sugar.
They carry my favorite….

My ALL time favorite. My mouth is watering right now. What's your favorite candy? I'm curious!

Cracker Barrel also sells candy in bulk. Unless you bring your own bag though, it defeats the purpose.

This helped cut down on the food packaging, especially the cereal, until I did the math.
1.2 pounds of muesli at The Heritage Store  = $6.76
1.2 pounds of muesli at the commissary =   $3.59
By shopping at the health food store, I’m paying DOUBLE.
Save the environment vs saving money. And in this economy, who can really afford to be “green”? It shouldn’t be like this.
So far, we’re either doing without ,or sending packaging into TerraCycle, which deserves its very own post–they turn hard-to-recycle packaging into sellable art and crafts. TerraCycle  is great, but I don’t want to become dependent on them. I want companies to sell me products with less packaging, that’s what I want! I can’t do this one alone. If we band together and demand the commissary and grocery stores in general sell less packaged goods and more bulk, wouldn’t that in turn cause companies to use less packaging? Ideas? Help? Please?

12 responses to “Buying in Bulk

  1. I think one of the big issues with the cost of buying in bulk versus packaged foods is the advertising involved. The box is probably more appealing than the food inside it, and every box and food package are basically massive ad campaigns. More ads=more consumers=more money for the companies=an illusion of cheaper prices. But, what are consumers really getting from eating cheap, processed food?

  2. I think Christy is right. I think in order to get the companies to use less packaging, you’re going to have to convince environmental agencies to jump on the band wagon, and then after that the environmentalist will have to convince the government to do something. That’s going to be a hard sell.

    As long as there is revenue flowing, no one is going to listen and that’s a whole lot of green floating around. Packagers, advertisers, transport companies, food brokers, state taxes, the food company itself and a whole slew of other people I didn’t list. No one is going to want to disrupt the flow of money.

  3. (Sigh.) You’re so right.
    And like Christy said, the box itself is an ad. I’d never really thought of that.
    But changing it would take government involvement and we all know how quickly that works. I might as well move a mountain. With my mind.
    I wish I lived in the 1800s.

  4. I went to the local Farmer’s Market in Norfolk and found your card. I loved how unique it was and wanted to know what it was all about. I am so glad I grabbed it. Your blog is amazing! I can’t wait to read every post.

  5. I’m sorry to hear there isn’t as much bulk in the U.S. up here in Canada it is hit or miss on prices. You can save a fortune on some items and spend a fortune on others. We just had a bulk soap store open in Vancouver, Canada called The Soap Dispensary. It’s pretty awesome. They HOPE you bring in your own containers.

  6. Stephanieough—I hope we catch up with you guys SOON. Canada is a wonderful example to us in so many ways! Bulk soap. How dreamy.

  7. IN West Virginia we don;t qualify for Whole Foods…our demographics do not fit their model BUT we have several “Amish” stores and the bulk foods in there put Whole Foods to shame.

  8. I’d rather buy from the Amish any day. That is REAL “whole” food! You’re so lucky!!

  9. Wow, amazing blog layout! How long have you been blogging for?
    you made blogging look easy. The overall look of your
    web sijte is magnificent, let alone the content!

  10. Hi! I googled “zero waste” and “Virginia Beach” to try to find a store that sells in bulk and your blog popped up! I live in Virginia Beach and am looking to find a store other than Heritage Store, only because it’s far from where we are. I’ve been shopping some at the Dam Neck Farmer’s market for veggies and milk in glass containers. Other than that, I’m at a loss.

    • Hi Suzanne. I have since left Virginia Beach. But when I was there, the only ones that sold in bulk were the Heritage Store and Whole Foods. I take it not too much progression since I left. Sorry about that. Don’t give up. Keep searching! Any Amish stores around there?

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