Buy Bulk! Save Money and Reduce Food and Packaging Waste


The Founding of Earth Day

U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson founded Earth Day as an environmental teach-in first held on April 22, 1970. As our beautiful planet takes another trip around the sun, our thoughts turn once again toward learning more ways to be good stewards of our homes, our community, and our planet.

Our Commitment to Sustainability

The Co-op takes its commitment to sustainability seriously and to ensure we are upholding our commitment we publish an annual report with the Sustainable Food Trade Association. The report, which is available on our website, includes measurable results toward achieving our sustainability goals and helps us learn where we are succeeding and areas in which we can improve.

Your Commitment to Sustainability

Co-op shoppers have also demonstrated a strong commitment to sustainability. You are motivated to bring your own reusable shopping, bulk, and produce bags; you are avid users of public transportation (we are happy to be located adjacent to Bellingham’s two bus depots); you commute by bike; and you embrace purchasing local goods to reduce the negative effects of long-distance transportation and to support our local economy.

One of the simplest ways Co-op shoppers embrace sustainability is through your enthusiasm for purchasing bulk goods.

saving money, reducing waste, and being better stewards of our environment

The bulk department is all about saving money, reducing waste, and being better stewards of our environment.

Reasons to Buy Bulk

Buying bulk saves money. Bulk foods bypass the extra expenses inherent in individually packaged products. Packaging design, manufacturing, shipping, and production costs are eliminated when foods are shipped in plain, large- quantity containers, and those savings are passed along directly to the consumer.

Buying bulk reduces packaging waste. Bulk quantities eliminate the need for individually packaged items thereby saving an immense quantity of bottles, jars, cans, and paperboard.

Buying bulk reduces food waste. Buy only as much of any product as needed, from one teaspoon of spice up to a 50-pound bag of oats.

Buying bulk increases product freshness. Co-op bulk departments are extremely popular, thereby ensuring product turnover is rapid. Bulk containers are refilled throughout the day simply to keep up with shopper demand.

Buying bulk is simple. Purchase a reusable container in the store or bring in your own clean container to refill. Simply remember to weigh your empty container (don’t forget to include the lid), record the tare weight, write the 4-digit PLU number on the container, and fill with as little or as much product as you choose.

The Bulk Department Selection (and Beyond)

The Co-op offers products in its bulk department that can’t be found elsewhere.

Beyond the typical dry goods—flours, rice, grains, pasta, and nuts—the Co-op bulk department also carries bulk honey, tamari, oils, vinegars, maple syrup, agave, nut butters, loose leaf teas, various dried seaweeds, an wide array of spices, and plenty of tasty sweets and snack items.

In the household goods and personal care departments, you can find bulk cleaning products, laundry detergent, shampoos, lotions, and liquid and bar soaps.

Visit soon to explore our extensive bulk selection—you might be surprised. If you’re looking for a hard-to-find ingredient for a recipe, need a little something extra to flavor a dish, just want to try a new spice to expand your culinary repertoire, or maybe you just need some shampoo, it’s likely you’ll find what you need at the Co-op.

If you can’t find what you’re looking for—please ask!

We love to answer questions about bulk foods and products. If we don’t know the answer to your question we’ll go out of our way to find an answer for you. Co-op staff are happy to help and love to talk about food, cooking techniques, and favorite flavors.

Bulk Purchases in 2018

How popular is our bulk department? Turnover is rapid, because Co-op shoppers love to buy bulk! That rapid turnover ensures that the bulk products you purchase are fresh.

  • Oats: 45,039 pounds
  • Coffee: 46,613 pounds
  • Thompson Raisins: 7,591 pounds
  • Almonds (only almonds, including candy covered): 14,083 pounds
  • Anything containing almonds: 23,543 pounds
  • Quinoa: 4,613 pounds
  • Organic Black Peppercorns: 255 pounds