Monday, March 12, 2012

Decrease your Carbon Footprint by Buying in Bulk

Many packaged foods travel across the globe several times before they finally reach your pantry.

Bulk bins at a market.
Buying from bulk bins is better for the environment.

Watch the steam rise from your coffee. As you pour a packet of sugar into it, ask yourself, “Where did that sugar come from?”

If you happen to live in Hawaii, you can probably say it was grown around the corner and refined just down the street. But if you want white sugar from that same grower, it also has to be shipped to the California refinery, then to New York for packaging.

By the time it reaches your table in Hawaii, the sugar that was grown around the corner had to travel 10,000 miles to get to you.

Not every food is as extreme as this example, but neither is it uncommon for goods to travel across the country several times before they actually reach you. Every step along this packaging roadway adds more miles to the food we eat.

Among the jungle of boxes, bags and plastic foam in your local market, there often sits an array of bulk bins happily providing food without the excess packaging, which cuts down on emissions and packaging materials. Plus, unlike buying pre-packaged goods, you can get exactly the amount you want. And if the clerk is nice enough, you might even be able to sample what you want before you buy it.

Buying in bulk might be intimidating at first, but the variety of whole foods is often greater than the shelved items in the grocery store and, ultimately, it’s better for the environment.

— Matt Keen, dietetic intern, and Debra A. Boutin, MS, RD, chair and dietetic internship director, Department of Nutrition and Exercise Science at Bastyr University.

FALL 2016
Have questions about a program?
Request information »

More Health Tips

Love is good for you – and free!

As consumers and eaters, we have the power to help alleviate environmental damage.

If your mission is to reduce BPA exposure via food cans, try the following.

Focusing on some basic lifestyle modifications can greatly improve energy.

Nature offers plenty of wholesome substitutes for processed sugars.

Consider a few foundational resolutions for 2016 that are easy to keep.

Subscribe to Newsletters

CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
9 + 1 =
Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4.