Bulk finds from Costco

We all know buying in bulk is cheaper and better for the environment, but I keep hearing about the “right type of bulk” vs the “wrong.”

The in-laws bestowed a Costco membership on us as a gift. I never get to go to Costco, and little bells start ringing in my head, “Bulk! Bulk food!”

Buying in bulk from Costco still produces a large amount of plastic and packaging. Cereal—two big bags of plastic.
13.5 pound bag of baking soda comes in a plastic bag, not a big, recyclable, compostable box. (Shame, too.)
The more I read about buying bulk, the more I’m hearing to buy in stores like Whole Foods who sell out of bulk bins. If you bring your own containers or bags and ask at the front before hand, they’ll weigh them for you to make sure your container or bag is zeroed out. I’ve never had anyone give me a problem. They’re always more than happy to do it. Sometimes, I want to leap over the counter and hug them because they don’t give me a hard time. Alas, I’ve been able to refrain myself thus far.

The problem is that Whole Foods is 100% organic in things I don’t think need necessarily be organic and is overly pricey. Most of the time, I bite the bullet and buy anyway when it comes to dried fruit or grains. And when I get home and do the math, I discovered, though it’s a little more expensive than the commissary, it’s cheaper than buying things at Publix, Piggly Wiggly or Harvey’s in the end—usually. Often times, it’s about the same price.

Regardless, even if it’s Costco, I still feel buying in bulk is better. One big box of thin plastic is still better than me buying multiple #5 or #6 heavy plastic containers that are difficult to recycle. At least it was in south Georgia—-meaning I had to hang on to my recyclables through yet another move or had to find someone (like the in-laws or my mom who live in another state) and pawn it off on them to take back and fill their recycle bin when they came to visit.

The moral of the story is: I need to seek out more ways to make my own products whether it’s soap or detergent or oatmeal. Okay, not oatmeal. I’m not a mill. And I’m thankful that I have such wonderful in-laws who think of us and know we’re bulk-buyers.

I told someone the other day, I make most of my own products–soups, salsa, granola, etc. so I don’t have to buy. She smiled and said, “Oh, you must not have any kids yet.”

For some reason, that made me kind of mad. I wanted to respond, “Oh, I have a kid alright. I have a tiny baby, only months away from a newborn. (In my eyes anyway, the little thing hasn’t been on the earth that long, now has she?) I also have a crock pot.” But I didn’t say anything at all.

Those hands will learn early to help mama. And if the kid grows up in the house with a mama who makes most everything from scratch, the little thing won’t know any differently. And it will be the new normal.

I kind of like that.

Do you have bulk stores in your town or country? What are your thoughts on Costco? And why don’t we have bulk stores like Canada?


3 responses to “Bulk finds from Costco

  1. I don’t understand the comment either – there is more than enough time to make things that are better for us and our famiies than prepackaged, fast food, and over packaged goods. By doing more for ourselves, we teach our families important life skills, make more time for each other and forgo time traps like mindless shopping, eating out and too much tv or electronic use.

    And, rarely do you buy anything that tastes as good as homemade..

  2. Oh this is perfectly timed, I posted yesterday about the costs of my local grocery store vs bulk from the co-op (which is of course often organic/fair trade etc). I’m, like you, doing it for the zero waste thing. I know that behind the scenes there’s plastic, but at my coop, a lot of it’s reused which is awesome. We also have costco, but I haven’t personally visited. Friends have bought me choc chips, maple syrup and jelly beans there, but I’m not enticed to stockpile things in my tiny place.

    PS Not a mother, but also a little incensed by that comment. Sure, life is busy, but we all make our own priorities.

  3. Thank you Heidi and Sarah for the validation. I don’t get insulted too often, but that one stung. Still, I know life is busy and I understand the woman, but give us some credit here. We’re trying!! 🙂
    Thanks. 🙂

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