Monday, January 30, 2017

My first zero waste bulk purchase

Behold: my very first #zerowaste bulk purchase from the bulk section of Wegmans (God bless Damien of Frederick Wegmans for listening to me explain my life goals and aspirations and personally weighing my mason jar of oats, all for like, a $2 purchase... and for understanding when I refused a plastic bag to carry it in).

If you know me personally, you know that one of my goals for 2017 is to limit the trash I create to diminish my negative impact on the environment. Being mindful and making conscious decisions when it comes to using disposable materials is just the start! It's a process, it's really hard, and it's not a societal norm to bring your own utensils and to-go containers every time you go out to eat... but I believe making these small changes and educating others can make an impact. Working towards living a zero waste life will probably take a while... but I'm starting here and now!

For me, bringing my own coffee mug when I'm out and about and using my own reusable bags for groceries aren't difficult things to do. I had essentially been doing these two things often for the past few years, I've just become more religious about it now. However, it took me until mid-January to actually bring my own mason to the bulk section. I had been anxious about this for a while for a few reasons... 

I had shopped from the bulk section before, many a time, but always using those terrible little plastic bags that are much too small to use for really anything else... like even less useful than normal plastic bags! 

Though I was excited to rid myself of those bags, I was nervous to use my own mason jar, because I wasn't sure how easy it would be to explain to the cashier why my purchase was in a glass jar, rather than a plastic bag. I also wasn't sure how the weighing of my jar, plus the product inside it would go...  since I especially didn't want anyone to think I was up to something, like trying to steal! I also didn't want to have to pay for the extra tare weight that my jar had, as oppose to the tare weight that the scales are used to. 

To avoid all these complications, I went straight for a Wegmans employee when I got to the store; Damien, to be exact. I explained my zero waste aspirations to Damien, and I was surprised that he had never encountered anyone else trying to buy with their own containers from the bulk section... He was a bit confused, but still kind and eager to help me. He also wanted to make sure that I didn't have to pay for the extra weight. He personally weighed my empty jar, weighed it after it was filled and subtracted the difference and rang me out at the customer service counter. I really appreciate that he took extra time to help me out, but I was a bit disappointed that there wasn't an easier way to buy from the bulk section at Wegmans with my zero waste containers... especially since they have a pretty great bulk selection of oats, grains, nuts, candy and snacks. 

I asked him to email me if he happened to hear how other Wegmans stores deal with unusual customer requests like mine... especially since I'm a die-hard Wegmans fan. I hope to hear back from him, or maybe do my own research to find easier ways to do this.

Although it wasn't as easy as I wanted it to, I was proud of my purchase and used the oats to make oatmeal ginger chocolate chip cookies, which were delicious with almond milk. I'll definitely be making a point to buy more from the bulk section with my own containers, but I may look around at a few other grocery stores that may be more used to strange requests. 
What are some ways you limit your disposable waste at the grocery store?


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