As shoppers become increasingly waste-conscious, buying from the bulk section becomes more popular every year
Welcome to the Bulk Department
The bulk department is all about saving money, reducing waste, and being better stewards of our environment.
The Co-op takes our commitment to sustainability seriously. 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.
Co-op shoppers embrace sustainability through enthusiasm for purchasing bulk goods
One of the simplest ways Co-op shoppers embrace sustainability is through enthusiasm for purchasing bulk goods.
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.
Bulk Department Selection
The Co-op offers products in our bulk department that can’t be found just anywhere!
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, soup mixes, and plenty of tasty snack items like coconut date rolls, cheddar cheese sesame sticks, and dried mango slices.
In the wellness and mercantile departments, you can find bulk cleaning products, laundry detergent, shampoos, lotions, and liquid and bar soaps.
Come explore our bulk selection—you might be pleasantly surprised! If you’re looking for a hard-to-find ingredient, need a little something extra to flavor a dish, want to try a new spice to expand your culinary repertoire, or you just need some shampoo, the bulk section will almost certainly have something for you!
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 always go out of our way to find an answer for you.
Buying Bulk in 2021
2020 required us to make changes in many areas, and the bulk department was no exception. While we cannot yet allow the use of reusable containers from home in our bulk departments, we provide plastic bulk bags and containers, and compostable paper bags for smaller bulk purchases.
If you're feeling bummed about having to revert back to plastics, check out our list of 10 ways to reuse your bulk bags and containers to extend their lives:
- Use lidded containers from bulk purchases as tupperware
- Use containers as lightweight pet bowls for hiking and travel
- Gently wash your bulk plastic bag after use and reuse it as a Ziploc bag - use a twist tie, twine, or chip clip to secure it
- Reuse your bulk bag for produce purchases at the Farmer’s Market
- Use your bulk bag as a trash bag in small bathroom or office trash cans
- Use it as a pet waste bag
- Use it to tote wet bathing suits in the summer
- Use for non-food item storage like paint brushes or beads
- See if your state offers a plastic film recycling program
- Just keep them on hand. Chances are you’ll need a plastic bag at some point down the line. Rather than buying a pack of Ziplocs or the like, reuse what you have!