13 February, 2013
by Jane Newcomb
Buying in bulk:
I knew it was the right thing to do, but I faced some challenges in shifting to bulk…
The idea of ‘bulk buying’ and bulk food stores don’t necessarily conjure up the most appealing shopping experiences. I pictured aisles of dusty bins filled with unrecognizable herbs, grains and other questionably edible items. Not super appealing.
Another challenge to overcome was how to change my shopping habits. I was used to going to a set of stores almost every weekend for the ‘weekly shopping’ trip, to buy a new supply of all the stuff I needed (or thought I needed). Needless to say, none of these stores carried stuff in bulk, which meant I would have to find another store and change my routine.
Being a creature of habit, I knew I needed some help. I followed some ‘habit changing’ best practices and modified them to fit me:
1.) Build onto current habits: I was used to spending one morning a week going to a few chain retail and grocery stores to stock up on supplies and products. One morning, instead of heading to the chain grocery store, I first went to a local bulk store. I was able to find the majority of what was on my list in bulk, and I went to the chain grocery store afterwards for anything I couldn’t find. It turned out to be a great experience (while some of the bins contained stuff I didn’t recognize, everything was clean and definitely no dust), with the additional bonus of costing about half of what I spent on packaged groceries.
2.) Start small: While I was on a quest to overhaul many of my non-green habits and consumer behaviors, I realized that to be successful, I needed to start with a few small changes. Instead of cutting myself off completely from the grocery store I was used to, I went to both for a while, finding that I wanted to buy more and more in bulk, and less and less in packages.
3.) Keep at it: I kept at it, and after about 4 weeks, I found that I no longer needed to (or wanted to) shop at the chain grocery store. I was finding that I could get the majority of what we needed from the local bulk food store.
Building onto current habits, starting small, and keeping at it – simple, effective ways to take baby steps towards a more sustainable lifestyle.