One of the biggest steps one can take towards creating less waste is to learn to shop from the bulk bins. You can bring your own containers, buy exactly the amount you need, and have the freedom to try new things with minimal investment.
You'll find the following at the PFC Natural Grocery and Deli:
Flour. Sugar. Spices. Coffee. Tea. Nuts. Peanut Butter. Honey. Maple Syrup. Grains. Beans. Lentils. Chocolate. Dried Fruit. Pasta. Olive Oil. Popcorn. Seeds. Yeast. Granola. Snacks.
Why buy from bulk? It's healthy for the planet- take a look in your trash can and you'll find that most of it is made up of food packaging. Granola bar wrappers, microwave popcorn bags, peanut butter jars... the list goes on. A lot of these products can be bought unpackaged from bulk bins. The bins are typically filled with 25 or 50 pound paper or plastic bags (depends on the product), limiting the amount of packaging going through our store.
But, the key to actually reducing waste is to skip the plastic containers and bags typically provided at stores and instead bring your own!
1. Bring your own container or bags. Anything works, just make sure they're clean. I make sure to have a meal plan and grocery list ready, and bring a selection of fabric bags for dry goods and mason jars for liquids.
2. Find the tare weight. When you fill your own jar, you do not have to pay for its added weight! You can weigh your containers on the scale provided- ours is next to the bulk coffee. Once you fill your container, make sure you write down the code, known as a PLU, so that the product can be identified at the register.
3. Fill with your favorite bulk foods. Don't forget to properly store them when you get home too. We try to keep everything in air tight jars to ensure our food stays fresh and doesn't go to waste.
When you’re at the market, ask your farmer about buying a peck or bushel of your favorite items. You’ll often get a discount for buying a larger amount, but you’ll need to prepare to properly store the produce within a few days of purchase. It may take some time, but your future self will thank you when you open up a jar of home canned tomatoes in the dead of winter!
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