Buying in Bulk: Reducing Waste & Keeping a Beautiful Kitchen
You know how much I enjoy keeping my cupboards and pantry stocked with whole foods in clear, uniform glass containers. Not only does this provide a clean, organized look, but it also does away with any concerns of the safety of plastics for food and beverage storage.
One way I help my clients achieve their ‘dream’ kitchen is by helping them eliminate a messy environment, filled with countless different package labels and single-use containers. To follow are a few of my top tips for transitioning your kitchen to a low-waste, tidy and aesthetically beautiful space!
USE WHAT YOU HAVE
Utilize any glass containers and cloth or mesh bags that you currently own to refill at local health food stores/co-op's.
Most co-ops have scales on-site, so you may weigh your containers/jars prior to filling them and write the ‘tare’ or unladen weight on your jar or bag, and have it subtracted from the total weight of your filled container. (Meaning, you won’t be charged for the weight of your container - just the weight of its contents.)
This helps reduce waste and keeps 'clean-looking' aesthetic in-tact, as you can use your favorite containers and skip the packaged goods.
If it is too hard to take your vessels to the market (and I really get that), the next best option is to buy in bulk and transfer to your glass containers when you get home. If you purchase more than what will fit into any one container, simply find another one and store it as “back up”. I have a designated back-up cabinet on our service porch. This helps with managing quantity as well as budget. As I have written previously, when you transfer the last of the back-up into your main glass container, it is time to put that item back on the grocery list. This helps alleviate the impulse or temptation to over-buy, as you will know exactly how much you need.
Be sure to transfer your fresh nut butters to glass containers and refrigerate as soon as you get them home. This step ensures that the plastic doesn’t leach into the food. It is also a good practice to refrigerate nut butters so they don’t go rancid.
“BULK” DOESN’T ALWAYS MEAN “A LOT”
Another thing you can buy ‘bulk’ (meaning, from the bulk department of your health food store) are spices. However, don’t be misled by the title of this post; something many people don’t realize is that what makes spices so delicious are the precious plant oils inside them, so keeping the same spice in your cupboard for years may not be the best approach.
You can keep your spices fresh by only buying as much as you need for a few months, so they don’t lose their potency or go bad. Simply refill your current jars! The cost is cents-on-the-dollar for what you would normally pay for newly-packaged spices.
Living in the Los Angeles area, we have numerous options for places to shop bulk and find the aforementioned items. A few of the LA’s best health food stores and co-ops include:
Lassens Natural Foods & Vitamins (offers 10% off loose bulk items every Wednesday)
Feel free to ask any questions that you may have down below or on Instagram. Happy (bulk) shopping!