Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Shopping in the Bulk Bin Section 101

Hey cupcakes! After vowing to live a lower-waste lifestyle, I have switched from going to grocery stores like Walmart to stores like Whole Foods. This switch has enabled me to avoid plastic packaging, as I am able to buy grains, granola, oats, snacks, etc. from the bulk bins. Using bulk bins has been AMAZING, so I wanted to write a post today sharing my tips and trick on how you can also shop in the bulk section. Let's get started!


Before Going to the Store
First, you will need to find a store that actually has bulk bins. If you don't have a Whole Foods in your area, do a Google Maps search of "bulk food" and some might pop up. Fresh Thyme Farmer's Market in the Midwest has a bulk section, as well as many natural/organic local stores. If you aren't sure if a store sells in bulk, don't hesitate to call!

To prepare yourself before you go shopping, I suggest checking out the store's ad for the week to see what is on sale. There is a myth that bulk bin shopping is more expensive, but I have found that it is actually cheaper!! It is so much better to buy what you need instead of over-purchasing and letting food sit in your pantry (and eventually go bad). However, it is still awesome to save even more money by buying what is on sale :)

Before shopping I also recommend finding bags to bring with you. Most bulk sections have plastic bags (just like in the produce section), but if you are trying to live lower-waste bringing your own bags is so worth it! I purchased the ones you can find in this post (and I love them because they don't add any weight to the scale): 10 Easy Ways to Reduce Your Plastic Consumption. Some stores even sell things like oils and honey, so you can also bring your own mason/glass jars with you too!


At the Store
Bulk bin shopping is an easy 5 step process:

1. If you brought any bag or glass jar that has actual weight, go to customer service for them to tare the container for you. This will ensure that you don't actually pay for the weight of the bag/jar! If your bags don't weigh anything, then skip this step :)
2. Find the bin(s) with the food you want to purchase!
3. Pour or scoop however much you want into the bag you brought from home.
4. Write the PLU/bin number on a twist tie and tie it to your bag. (OR write it into your phone to even save the twist tie; however, this will slow down check out)
5. Check out - the cashier will use the number on the twist tie (and the scale) to charge you the correct price.

Some of my favorite bulk bin items include: pearled barley, quick oats, unsweetened banana chips (taste just like potato chips!), and chocolate covered pretzels :)

After the Store
As many of you will know from my studio apartment tour, I have a bunch of mason jars that I use to store my bulk food. You can find so many different glass storage containers, and I LOVE the way it looks. :)
When you get home from the store, move everything from the bags into some type of storage that is airtight. Ta-da, you just successfully shopped in the bulk section! :D I have been amazed at what quality ingredients I am able to find in bulk, so I really suggest trying it out!

Do you shop in the bulk section? Comment below and don't forget to follow The Chic Cupcake to never miss a post!

Love,
Sustainable Jenna

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