Did you know that buying in bulk can help save money and the planet? According to the Environmental Protection Agency, around 45 percent of waste in landfills can be attributed to food packaging and containers. When you buy an item in bulk, there is no packaging. Buying in bulk always allows you to get just as much as you need, whether it means buying an ounce or a pound of peppercorns. No food waste!

Browsing the bulk section of your grocery store will open your eyes to all of the different types of food products available. There is probably something in at least a few of the bulk bins you haven’t tried. This way of shopping also gives you the opportunity to explore healthier options instead of buying prepackaged food that contains all sorts of ingredients you can’t pronounce. You will discover a lot of uncharted territory in these bins!

Wondering what items you should grab next time you’re perusing the bulk section? Grab your bulk bags and mason jars and get shopping!

1. Noodles

From linguine to rigatoni, you can pretty much find any shape, size, dimension of noodle in bulk sections. Personally, the dinosaur shaped noodles are a favorite, (found at my local Whole Foods). You can even find gluten free as well!

2. Rice

Brown or white. Long or short grain. Just like noodles, you can find just about any type of rice in bulk sections, (if your store has a pretty good selection).

3. Beans

Beans, beans, the magical fruit… (well you know the rest). Be prepared for a plethora of different kinds! If you see a type of bean that you have never tried before, give it a shot! This is the perfect place to try new foods, seeing as though you can purchase as little or as much as you want!

4. Granola/Dried Fruits/Baked goods

Bulk sections are loaded with a special section just for treats! From all different kinds of granola to dried banana chips, there is always a healthy snack option, (as well as chocolate covered pretzels, tea cookies, etc.). Your taste buds will certainly be singing with all of the new flavors going on!

5. Flour/Oats

It is so much easier to buy oats and flour from the bulk section. Usually, there is at least one gluten-free option, as well as a few different kinds of oats. You don’t have to deal with buying too much of anything and having to deal with the silly packaging. Also depending on the store,  you will find that these items are way cheaper in the bulk section than if you buy them prepackaged.

6. Pet Food/Pet Treats

If you are lucky, you can find a bulk store that sells your furry friend’s food in bulk. It is not uncommon to find that these places will also sell treats in bulk as well! If you can find these options, it is certainly something to take advantage of!

7. Nuts/Seeds

Just like granola and dried fruit, there are a plethora of options when it comes to finding nuts and seeds in bulk. These are great to have on hand to put in salads or soups and even just to have as a snack when you are on the go!

8. Spices/Herbs

Herbs and spices are definitely cheaper when bought it bulk. Again, it totally depends on the store, but from personal experience, it has been this way. You can buy just as much as you need and without packaging. No plastic packaging waste and no food waste. What is better than that?

9. Soap/Bath Salts/Lotions

Of course, these are not food items, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t find them in bulk! Natural markets, natural food chain stores, (i.e. Whole Foods), and farmers markets often have these toiletries available to purchase without packaging. If you are one of the lucky people to have a Lush Cosmetics store near you, definitely check out all of the super awesome cosmetics that you can buy in bulk without packaging, (or with very limited packaging).

10. Nut Butters

This is definitely one for the mason jar! Some bulk stores have machines where you can self-serve your own nut butter into your container. Talk about super cool! Nut butters can include peanut butter, cashew butter, sunflower seed butter, almond butter, etc. If you do not see this option at the bulk store near you, try buying the nuts in bulk and making your own.

It might seem like a lot of work to get into bulk buying, but just consider the fact that because you took the time to shop in the bulk section with your own containers, you have helped the planet! If something isn’t done about waste consumption, by 2050, it is estimated there will be more plastic in the oceans than fish. Marine animals are at risk and with your help, we can change the world for animals, even just by simply buying in bulk without packaging.

When you have completed your bulk shopping, check out these tips for storing food without plastic, and #CrushPlastic for good!

Lead image source: Carlo Sardena/Pixabay