Plastic Free July 2018: Grocery Shopping

Day #8 of Plastic Free July was my first grocery shopping trip and what did I learn? Thank you Lord for Bulk Barn! No, seriously, they have everything, and they allow you to bring your own containers!

Shopping Prior to Plastic Free July

A typical shopping trip in the past is sometimes going to Bulk Barn, but this was mainly for supplies that assisted my wonder husband to bake bread (great way to skip the plastic of store bought bread). Most trips I would go to Superstore because it is close to us, they price match, and we collect PC Optimum points, which cashes out to about $100-ish worth of groceries per year. Our budget for groceries per month was $250, although since we now have a 1-year-old we have recently brought it up to $300. And my sense now with Plastic Free July we may have to up it a little.

Of course summer is different as we normally grow a lot of our own produce and shop at the farmer’s market or local farms. We do canning and make jam, which costs upfront for the produce involved in that.

July Shopping Trip #1:

I still went to Superstore, but only got a few items there like tuna, and a bit of produce. I wanted to buy bagels, but realized I didn’t have a bread bag so I put it in a produce bag, which is not super hygienic, but it works until I figure out what to replace it with (pillow case maybe?).

And then there was Bulk Barn, where I bought much more than I normally do and I took my time to look around the store more. Wow – they have everything from pasta to Parmesan, from candy to peanut butter, so awesome.

Although it was a good trip, it took a lot of forethought and planning (hmmm…I think this is going to be a theme here). I had to bring enough containers, so I had to know what I was buying. I did bring a couple extra just in case, but it doesn’t leave a lot of room for a surprise purchase.

Package Free soap!

Plastic free shopping also has me visiting many different places instead of being able to visit just one grocery store, which for some people would be difficult to do. There’s produce at the Farmer’s Market or grocery store, meat and cheese at the deli/butcher, dry goods at Bulk Barn, and for us any other product that we buy locally (like honey we buy from a neighbouring farm).

Shopping at Bulk Barn can also be more expensive. Even on sale their peanut butter is twice the amount that we normally buy ours on sale, and we go through a lot of peanut butter in this household!

In Summary….

  • Plan ahead and know what I’m buying and where.
  • Ensure I have the right supplies to make plastic free shopping easier (i.e. produce/bread bags, and containers (bring extra).
  • Resisting the temptation of sales is difficult
  • This may end up being an expensive month.

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