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23 August, 2021

Buy bulk, recycle containers

Lucy Smith and Karen Jacobsen Zero waste Whitsundays

 Buy In Bulk

 Think back to your grandparents and their pantry. Likely it was filled with large tins and glass containers with no plastic in sight. Previous generations did not have the convenience of shopping every day or experiencing click and collect. They planned their meals and shopped efficiently, sometimes once a month or for more remote communities a few times a year. The simplicity of this approach had built in benefits. Less packaging.

 Less cost. Reduced impact on the planet. You may have noticed week to week in our columns, that there is a close link between how we treat the planet and the benefits to our personal health. Buying in bulk reduces our impact, as it lessens the amount of packaging we use immensely. This has the added bonus of being kinder to our wallets.

 The transport miles of the goods you are consuming can be lowered significantly. Remember, only bulk buy items you have used before. We are not advocating over purchasing. Only buy what you need, and be mindful of what you regularly use and buy these items in bulk. You may not bake, so flour could be useless to you in bulk, but it’s probable you do laundry and will always need laundry detergent.  

  Containers For Refilling 

In some stores you are able to bring your own container to refill. We see much more of this in larger towns and cities, but it’s a practice we would love to encourage in the Whitsundays region. We all have more than enough receptacles in our homes and workplaces. Consider reusing glass jars, take away containers and bags when you are shopping, whether it be for bulk purchases or otherwise. 

Certain places will stipulate which containers to use, especially with liquid refills. Major supermarkets are rolling out bulk purchase opportunities and we cannot wait to see this here in the Whitsundays. On a local level, we take our empty glass jars to the markets on a Saturday in Airlie and give them to stall holders who make and sell preserves. This reduces our landfill, and promotes a positive and integrated approach.  

  A Small Step You Can Take Starting Today 

Could you collect the used glass jars in your home and offer these on your local buy/sell page? Perhaps visit your local markets and find someone who would love to have these jars for their wares. Conversely, if you have a need for glass jars or other containers, put the word out in your community.  

  Where Can I Bulk Purchase in the Whitsundays?

 Oh my goodness we would love to see a bulk store in Airlie Beach and cannot wait for this to happen. Until then, Healthy Haven in Proserpine, Evolution Organics in Cannonvale, Whitsunday Foodservice offers a range of bulk goods.

 Further afield, there is a fascinating Aussie company called ZeroCo with a full range of super clean cleaning products committed to reducing single use plastics and removing chemicals from the home. 

Their packaging is made from plastic collected from the ocean. Refills are sent in reusable pouches, and once you refill your containers, they pay for your postage to return them and use them again.  

  We Would Love To Hear From You 

If there is a local business or zero waste initiative you think we need to know about, please reach out to us on Instagram @zerowastewhitsundays and for more resources join our private FB group. Choose one to implement a week or a month. Let’s share our ideas and work toward a truly Zero Waste Whitsundays. If you have tips, let’s hear them.  

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