For most people zero waste means shopping, groceries and reusable bags and it’s true that a lot of our trash comes from all the packaged produce and food that are found at the supermarket and stores.
When you start going to grocery stores that have their products in bulk it can be intimidating at first, one may even ask « but how do I do it »! For some, it can even become the main reason that stops them from going at all.
This is why we decided to share our top 5 things to bring with you for some eco-friendly shopping!
1- Plan ahead and make a list of what you need!
It can quickly become overwhelming when you start buying in bulk. You can spend hours in front of the variety of products offered, but if you want to be effective and ensure you have enough jars when you are out shopping, you need a list (especially if you don’t live near the grocery store)
Look in your cupboards to see what’s missing. We like to rotate our product selection (flour, grains, etc.) * you can refer to our blog on organizing your kitchen with bulk products – write down everything you need to bring along the right number of containers (see points 2 and 3)
2- Jars for liquids (glass or plastic)
Once your list is ready, choose the proper jars to bring. Since glass jars can be quite heavy, we only use them for liquid products (sauces, oils, vinegar), spices or cleaning supplies.
We love the Ikea jars (they are even made of recycled glass) and of course the classic Mason jar. You can reuse containers that you already have at home (yogurt, sauce, etc.) or you can find some in a secondhand store, they’re often cheaper there.
*Most bulk stores offer a selection of returnable containers if ever you forget yours. Some people even leave clean containers for others to use!
3- Reusable bulk bags, fruits and vegetables
For dry ingredients, we use washable fabric bags (our own of course ;))
They are very convenient even for flour or fresh ground coffee. Plan to bring extra bags according to your list for last minute additions. You can also reuse re-sealable bags that you already have!
These are the same bags we use for our fruits and vegetables. Even though most of the time we let them “roam free” in the basket since they usually have a natural protective layer, namely the peel, which protects them from dirt (bananas, oranges, etc.)!
4- Bags to bring your items back
You’ll need to bring your purchases back home! Think to bring more than one reusable bag, basket or backpack, it can quickly become heavy to carry all your bulk products!
Our trick is to always leave a bag handy either by the door or in the car!
5- Pick a place to go shopping!
Here are some places where you can buy in bulk
Épicerie LOCO (Verdun + Villeray)
Vrac & Bocaux (Rosemont)
Méga vrac (Hochelaga)
Bio Terre (Mile-end)
Chez Robin (Verdun)
Vrac en Folie (Montréal et Laval)
Rive-sud de Montréal:
Épicerie LOCO (Brossard, ouverture à venir!)
Espace Organique (Longueuil)
Coup de pousse (Boucherville)
O Bokal (Saint-Basile-Le-Grand)
L’eau vive (Saint-Hilaire)
L’épicerie futée (Bromont)
La goutte d’or (Cowansville)
Le silo (Sherbrooke)
Vrac & co (Mont-Laurier)
Simplement vrac (Saint-Sauveur)
La récolte (Limoilou et Québec)
Épicerie le Haricot magique (St-Roch)
Bulk Barn (un peu partout)
Vrac sur roues (Commande en ligne, livraison à vélo)
Nousrire (Commande en ligne)
You can visit the Circuit zéro déchet website to access the complete list of locations that will accept containers.
*we might have missed a few addresses, write them down in our comment section :)
More and more grocery stores offer bulk purchases, don’t ever hesitate to ask if you can use your own jars!