At the Co-op, it's Earth Day Every Day. Sustainability is part of our quadruple bottom line and we're happy to be a model for sustainable business in our community. If you're interested in leaning in and finding ways to be easier on the Earth as a shopper, individual, and community member, check out our recommendations below.
SUSTAINABLE SHOPPING AT THE CO-OP
Our annual bulk sale is coming up next week and shopping in bulk is an awesome way to reduce the carbon-footprint (and the cost) of your grocery haul. Your first foray into the bulk section can be intimidating, but never fear, once you've gotten the process down you'll be coming back for bulk goods again and again. Check out this Instagram Reel we made on how to shop in bulk if you're unsure.
Remember, bulk goods aren't limited to nuts and granolas alone! The Co-op carries a huge assortment of bulk goods such as gluten-free pastas, soup mixes, candy, alternative flours for baking, dried seaweeds, teas, spices, and much more. You can also find liquid bulk goods such as cooking oils, honey, vinegars, and aminos.
Buying from the bulk department reduces the waste created by items packaged in small quantities. Without the need to manufacture packaging and send items through a packaging process, wholesalers can provide us bulk goods at a far lesser cost, and that savings is passed along to you!
You can bring your own containers to the bulk department, buy one of ours, or grab a one-time-use compostable bag.
SUSTAINABLE SWAPS AT HOME
If everybody swapped wasteful daily-use items for more sustainable alternatives, the impact would be HUGE. The Co-op's mercantile and wellness departments are chock-full of sustainable versions of items you use on the daily. Here are some of our faves!
DID YOU KNOW: Metal and glass can be recycled over and over again forever. Paper products can be recycled about seven times until they become too broken down to recycle further, but you can't really recycle plastic. In fact, only 9% of plastic ever created has been recycled. That's because plastic is incredibly complicated and expensive to recycle. Most businesses and recyclers do not consider it worth it, financially or environmentally, to attempt to recycle it. As a result, most is incinerated which contributes to greenhouse gas emissions OR it is left in landfills where it takes up to 500 years to break down and will never decompose entirely. Learn more about this by listening to How to Save a Planet podcast: Recycling! Is it BS?.
Badger SPF 50 Mineral Sunscreen
Badger Balm brings us a reef-friendly, water-resistant mineral sunscreen in a nifty tin! When your sunscreen is gone, you can reuse the tin or pop it into the recycling bin.
Reuse Idea: This tin is great for carrying jewelry, vitamins and supplements, or small snacks when traveling.
Deodorant has historically been a plastic-intensive product—but no longer! Local company Island Thyme makes all-natural deodorant with ultra-gentle ingredients that come in a biodegradable paper tube.
When it comes to shampoo, it can feel like you have no choice but to buy a plastic bottle. Luckily, many brands are on a mission to change that by offering no-waste shampoo bars. We carry a few different bars at the Co-op, but we especially love these local Moon Valley Organics bars. They smell amazing and they're made with soothing herbs grown right here in Whatcom County.
Bulk goes beyond food at the Co-op! Our bulk wellness section offers hand soap, dish soap, laundry soap, body wash, lotion, beeswax, and more. You can find all the same brands you love, such as Dr. Bronner's, Alba, E.O., and Moon Valley Organics. Bring an empty container from home to fill up or purchase a container from us.
SUSTAINABILITY AROUND TOWN
Getting rid of items that have minor imperfections can encourage us to buy more—often unnecessary—things. Instead of throwing something out when there's a minor rip or tear, take a mending class at the Ragfinery to give you and your family's garments more longevity.
Bike often? Sign up for Whatcom County Smart Trips to reap rewards from your sustainable commute—including 10% off an item of your choice at the Co-op!
Shop Secondhand: Bellingham has myriad options for finding unique secondhand items! Hit up Y's Buys for secondhand fashions—all proceeds go to the YWCA! Check out Penny Lane Antique Mall for one-of-a-kind vintage and contemporary home decor, and Henderson Books downtown is an oasis of secondhand literature. You could spend endless days there and never see it all!