by: Nate Furler, Marketing Specialist
It is a department that you may not have considered to be a staple for your shopping needs, but have you ever wondered how much you pay for the packaging of foods at a grocery store? Eight percent of the cost of that packaged food is from the packaging itself. The actual percentage varies with each specific product, but this serves as a good baseline. However, the cost to your pocketbook is not all that should be taken into account. The environmental cost of all that packaging is staggering. Be it plastic, paper, glass or metal, only a small percentage is ever recycled and the majority winds up in a landfill. Even if these items are recycled, unless there is a favorable market for the material, there is a good chance it will be ground up and still sent to a landfill. It all depends on the market at any given time.
Reusing your containers is a sure-fire way to give packaging a new life. As stated in the article about plastics, not all plastics should be reused. If necessary, plastics numbered 2 or 5 are currently your safest bet for repeated use with the added advantage of impact resistance. Glass jars with secure lids are perfect containers to use for storing bulk goods, but a little extra care needs to be taken to avoid breakage.
The big mystery to some people is how to shop the bulk department. Let it be a mystery no longer. It can be broken down into five simple steps – weigh, fill, seal, label, pay.
If you bring your own container and before you fill it with your product, weigh the empty container on the scale in the back corner, or ask a cashier to weigh the container for you at a register when you walk in the door. This will give you what is called a “tare weight”, or the weight that is subtracted at the register to account for the weight of the container. This is done so you don’t pay for the weight of the container. Grab a small piece of masking tape and affix it to your container somewhere. Then write on it with a pen or marker the weight that the scale shows your container alone weighs.
Next comes the fun part, choosing the product and filling your container with as much or as little as you want. This is great when you want just a little of something that you don’t use all that often, or for something that spoils more quickly than you can typically use up. It also allows you to bulk up on items that you use a lot of without buying all the packaging that comes along with it.
Once you have filled your container with the desired amount of product, seal it securely. There is masking tape available for securing paper bags and twist ties for plastic. Masking tape also works well for securing the lids that do not screw onto plastic containers.
If you brought in your own container and labelled it with the tare weight, feel free to add the PLU number to the same piece of tape. PLU stand for Price Look Up. This is the number that the cashier needs to ring up your product at the register. You can find this number written on the label of each bin and container in the bulk section.
Writing down this PLU number will ensure timely checkout at the register. If you are using a new container or bag, you may either use masking tape and a pen or marker to write directly on the container.
You weighed your empty container, filled it, sealed it, labelled it, and now there is only one thing left to do – buy it! Put your container(s) in your cart, and proceed to the cash register once you are finished with your shopping.
If you forget these steps, don’t worry. We have brochures in the bulk department that will guide you step by step. Or simply ask any employee to help you. We are more than happy to take the time to assist our customers.
provided, not your hands.