So you think you’re a super eco-badass because you buy from the bulk bins, eliminating unnecessary packaging? You’re well ahead of the game, but if you put your purchases in the plastic bags and tie them off with a twist tie provided by the store, you’re not that much ahead. However, it’s incredibly easy to not need the plastic bags, it just takes a bit of planning ahead.

For messy small-granule bulk items, like flour, sugar, rice, French couscous:

  • Take an empty plastic or glass Tupperware type container, one for flour, one for sugar, and so on. Go ahead and put a piece of masking tape on each one to write information on it later.
  • Make sure they are in the car before you go to the store! Sounds pretty duh, but I always double check myself on that.
  • Go straight to a cashier that isn’t busy and ask them for the tare on the empty container. Write this weight on the masking tape. This way, they will be able to subtract the weight of the empty container from the weight of your bulk product.
  • Go fill your containers up. Be sure to write on the label what the item is, and also the bulk item number.
  • Rejoice in not getting flour all over yourself, because it’s so much easier to pour it into solid containers than flimsy bags! Woohoo!

For legumes, nuts, dried fruits:

(Photo source: kootsac on Etsy)

For produce:

  • Make or invest in mesh or muslin bags. Some from Etsy that I like are from Joyce1492 and QwertyO.
  • Make peace that if you want to avoid messiness from some produce (like freshly wet lettuce) that it’s okay to use a plastic bag, just be sure to recycle it later.

I am going to take some of my own advice next week once I get paid by ordering some of the bags above I have mentioned, because I still usually just keep taking the same plastic bags bag until they get grungy or torn (a far too common occurrence). I’ll keep the bags in my canvas grocery totes so they don’t get forgotten.

Do you use the canvas grocery bags that come from the store with their logo on them, or do you spring for prettier ones?

(Photo source: