Save and Go Green: Buying in Bulk

Bulk Bins
Photo by bcmom.

I shop in bulk all the time because it saves me tons of money. I buy large quantities of foods and household items that I use all the time to save money and reduce the number of times I have to take a trip to the store. I have never thought of buying in bulk as going green, but I wanted to find out if it does and does it always save you money.

Buying In Bulk Bins

When it comes to the environment, it makes sense that it is a greener alternative to buying smaller quantities. There is less packaging involved that with traditional retail packaging. When you buy a large amount of the same product, there is only a minimal amount of packaging involved. The EPA reported that we generate about 80 million tons of waste from packaging and containers every year. That is a lot of wasted packaging that we don’t need. One really good example comes with cereal. There is such a small bag of cereal inside of a big box which is completely unnecessary. If you ever go to a natural food store, you see the bins with cereals and granola in them. You can buy whatever quantity you want and it only requires a small bag with none of the packaging.

Wholesale Stores

Natural food stores are not the only places that can save on packaging when purchasing in bulk. Even in wholesale stores like Costco and Sams Club you can really save on packaging. Be careful with some of the products though, they still have just as much packaging as with traditional retail packaging. If you are going to purchase something in bulk from these stores, just make sure to recycle the packaging. I found an interesting article that talks of Costco uses an environmental friendly packaging made by Natralock and recyclable cardboard for their packaging. These products are still inexpensive so the cost is able to stay down.

Saving Money

it’s easy to see that you can easily save money on buying bulk with less packaging and larger quantities. When I was in college, I would buy granola and other cereals from a co-op located on campus. The price of them would be around $1.50 per pound for both. I would leave with a huge bag of granola for only a few bucks. It would probably cost close to double for a similar amount of product in packaging. What was also great is that everything I purchased was organic.

Going to wholesalers can also save you tons of money because you are purchase much larger amounts of the same products. I save money by buying bulk, especially when it comes to meats. I buy large quantities of beef, chicken and other meats at a fraction of the cost I am able to get them in a grocery store. I freeze any of the meat that I don’t eat immediately and they last several months. Here is a good reference to how long meats and other products can last in the freezer.

The next step for me is to buy meats in bulk from local farmers. I have previously purchased meats from local farms. They aren’t fed any hormones and are free-range. The price was about the same as the price of meats in any grocery store. I should be able to save a little by purchasing in larger quantities from local farms.

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Comments

  1. Very good informative post. I like the idea of stressing less packaging by manufacturers and box stores. Reviewed on SU also.

    RecycleCindys last blog post..Recycled Paper Bag Mailer

  2. Yea, I also agree. I save a lot of money by bulk buying in Costco, too.
    Save money, save gas, and save green!

  3. I agree, you can save lots of money and use less packaging that way. Saves on transportation cost too if you don’t have to go to the store every other day.

  4. Thank you for your post it is valuable information for me

  5. Thanks for the informative post.. and thanks for adding our comment to the blog. I am subscribing to your feed so I don\’t miss the next post!

  6. Buying in bulk is practical we used to it quite well. All it needs is to find a bit of storage at home and checking expiry date on the products before buying. Even supermarket items when the price is marked down, it’s worthy and it saves good money.

    Wood fired pizza ovenss last blog post..Old red clay solids as firebrick alternative

  7. No doubt that what you are saying is correct. Buying in bulk can save on packaging, transporting, time for shopping but i have an issue here. How do i manage my budget? i don’t have savings which i can invest on 2-3 months of food.

    • rachel
    • February 4th, 2009

    tone Health – as far as how to fit it in your budget, I would say start with the foods you eat most of and stock up on those. as you run out of others, replenish with a larger quantity. this way you’re not making the investment all at once but over the course of a couple of months.

    if you don’t have local access to bulk foods, a great online resource is http://www.shoporganic.com. its also a good way to buy in bulk if you’re concerned about the cleanliness of bulk bins (the non-gravity feed ones can be kind of sketchy).

    • Sandy J
    • April 13th, 2009

    This is a great tip. I store my bulk items in my Green Chic Bag from http://GreenChicBagCo.com .

    Green and gorgeous!

  8. Bulk is a great way to save if you use alot of the product. Make sure not to buy more than you use or your wasiting money. Also check labels see how much is the real cost sometimes larger sizes are not always best deal.

  9. lets link up……

    • Nathan
    • June 5th, 2010

    tone Health – as far as how to fit it in your budget, I would say start with the foods you eat most of and stock up on those. as you run out of others, replenish with a larger quantity. this way you’re not making the investment all at once but over the course of a couple of months.

    if you don’t have local access to bulk foods, a great online resource is http://www.Nutricity.com. its also a good way to buy in bulk if you’re concerned about the cleanliness of bulk bins (the non-gravity feed ones can be kind of sketchy).

    • Becky
    • October 12th, 2010

    I can’t say I’d thought much about how buying at wholesale level can be greener too but it’s definitely a consideration. On the other side of the fence,I do still have to drive to the warehouse, so I’m still clogging up the environment in that way but some things just can’t be avoided.

    I haven’t bought meat from local farmers before but I have had free range eggs. It might be a psychological thing but they always taste so much better. Besides, it’s good to support local produce too.

    One thing to remember with buying bulk though, whatever it might be that you’re buying, make sure you don’t fall into the trap of consuming more in the same amount of time. It’s easy enough to do that and it negates any saving you might have made.

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