We have a unique situation when it comes to garbage living on an island. There is no serve all be all solution, but avoiding cardboard and plastic packaging is one way to help. How to do this? Buy your dry goods from the bulk bins, and recycle everything. The Bulk is Green Council is an organization that dedicates itself to promoting buying in bulk.
“Bulk food aisles have been around for decades, and the countless environmental and money-saving benefits are becoming more well-known among shoppers,” said Clint Landis, chief marketing officer for Frontier Natural Products Co-Op and a founding member of the Bulk is Green Council. “Still, for those who have never shopped in bulk, National Bulk Foods Week provides the perfect opportunity to discover the environmental and economic benefits of doing so.”
Buying in bulk already offers significant cost savings, and during National Bulk Foods Week, stores throughout the country will offer further discounts on bulk foods. Here on Maui Down to Earth and Mana Foods are participators. BIG encourages shoppers to check with their local grocer for their plans to participate in the festivities. Over 500 natural food stores and grocery stores across the country will be participating in this important event.
· Saving money — Buying natural and organic foods in the bulk section of the grocery store offers an average savings of 30% and 50% versus packaged food.
· Helping the environment — Eliminating packaging reduces carbon footprints. Buying in bulkmitigates the amount of garbage that ends up in landfills and streamlines the transportation needed to deliver goods to market, helping to reduce CO2 emissions.
· Reducing food waste — Buying in bulk allows shoppers to make smarter decisions, by purchasing the exact amount of foods they need, as opposed to purchasing consumer packaged goods with a pre-determined amount that may not be used before its expiration date.
· Flexibility to buy a pinch or a pound – Buying in bulk offers a broad selection of natural and organic products that can be purchased in the exact quantity desired. If shoppers need a large quantity of nuts for a holiday party or just a pinch of curry powder for a new recipe – bulk foods provide both options.
Governors of a number of states also have formally recognized the benefits of shopping the bulk foods aisle by proclaiming Oct. 16-22, 2011, National Bulk Foods Week in their states. So far, governors inthe following states have issued such proclamations: Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Maine, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont.
In the spirit of National Bulk Foods Week, BIG also offers the following tips for commemorating the week:
· Host a bulk block party – Invite friends, family and neighbors over for a potluck and ask that they only bring snacks purchased in – or dishes made from foods purchased in – the bulk foods aisle. See BIG’s YouTube video series that shows how to prepare an entire meal made with ingredients solely from the bulk foods aisle.
· Create a natural pantry – Green your pantry by discarding pre-packaged food in boxes, plastic tubs and cans. Invest in glass storage containers, stainless steel jars or reuse mason jars to storebulk foods instead. Not only will this reduce the carbon footprint by eliminating the extra packaging that comes with pre-packaged foods, but it also will add colorful flair to your pantry.
· Make homemade nutritious snacks – Looking for nutrient-rich snacks on the run? Homemade granolas or trail mixes are healthy snacks that can be made-ahead using ingredients found in thebulk foods aisle and that require no cooking. In addition, they travel well and are a perfect snack to pack in a child’s lunch box or office desk drawer.
· Experiment with new foods – There are limitless culinary options that can be found in the bulkfoods aisle. Try a couple of new organic selections to expand your palate, with a recipe such as couscous with seasonal vegetables, or quinoa with black beans. Sprinkle one of nature’s popular super foods, chia seed, which also can be found in bulk, on top of your nutritious meal. The bulksection is a great place to be creative and experiment.
For more information about the benefits of buying in bulk, please visit www.bulkisgreen.org.