In considering whether or not to buy in bulk, there are many pros. And in my book, there are also some challenges. (To clarify, for the purposes of this posting, bulk is when you can get any amount of something you want. Pre-packaged items do not count.)
First, here are some benefits:
- Less packaging waste
This is especially true if you bring your own container.
- Less food waste!
By buying in bulk, you are able to buy only what you need.
- It can save you some money
Buying heavily packaged products can mean that you are paying more for the packaging. That is, you are paying for something that you will throw away immediately.
Ok, what about the challenges?
- It’s not always the least expensive option.
But you can still save money by buying less quantity and buying only what you need. If you do this, it is less likely for food to go bad, which is like throwing money away.
- It takes time to learn to remember your containers.
Forming new habits takes time. And more than the mythical 21 days. While it would be nice to change yourself in 3 weeks, one study found it takes closer to 2 months. But you just have to start doing it and it will get easier every time!
So where can you buy bulk in Deschutes County? Zero-Waste extraordinaire Bea Johnson started a bulk finder website with a database of bulk sellers. There are quite a few in the area! If you know of one that isn’t on the site, you can add it. The biggest lack we noticed was beauty and animal products. As far as we know, Cornucopia Natural Foods in Redmond is the only place that sells bulk laundry and dishwasher detergent as well as shampoo and conditioner. Market of Choice does have liquid Castille soap (Dr. Bronners) on tap!
One type of bulk is loose produce: whole fruit and vegetables that are not pre-packaged. Potatoes can be put in a reusable bag rather than taking the big bag of potatoes that are pre-packaged. You can buy a whole apple and cut it up rather than buying a pre-sliced apple.
Buying your beer in a growler definitely counts as buying in bulk, by the way! Growler fill stations are not included in the list below, but most places will do it for you.
Before you go: get your clean, dry containers ready! Don’t forget to make sure they are labeled with the tare weight. You can also re-use plastic bags and mesh produce bags.
Deschutes County Bulk Locations
Below is a list of stores we know carry bulk. No, our list isn’t long, but we do have some great options here:
Central Oregon Locavore
1841 NE 3rd St, Bend
Notables: Teas! Locavore also puts a deposit on your egg carton. They have deposits for some of their cream and milk as well.
Cornucopia Natural Foods
111 NW 6th St, Redmond
Notables: As far as we know, the only shop in the county that sells bulk laundry soap, dishwashing soap, shampoo, and conditioner! Plus almond oil. (In addition to Dr. Bronner’s Castille soap, spices, teas, herbs, and other general dry goods.)
57100 Beaver Dr, Sunriver
19570 Amber Meadow Dr #120, Bend
Notables: Medicinal and culinary herbs, tinctures, and teas.
Food for Less
63455 N highway 97, Bend
Notables: Maple syrup! Balsamic vinegar, liquid aminos, soy sauce. Good spice section.
61535 South Highway 97, Bend
944 SW Veterans Way, Redmond
Hawthorne Healing Arts
39 NW Louisiana Ave, Bend
Market of Choice
115 NW Sisemore St, Bend
Notables: In addition to many types of dry goods including grains, candies, fruits and nuts, Market of Choice has honey, nut butters, oils, cider vinegar, spices, teas, soy sauce, and vanilla extract! Plus, they are the only store we know of that sells bulk liquid soap (Dr. Bronners). Coffee!
160 S Fir St, Sisters
Notables: nuts, beans, grains, coffee
Navidi’s Olive Oil and Vinegars
120 NW Minnesota Ave, Bend
Notables: An amazing array of oils and vinegars. BONUS: bottom of the barrel oils that is too small a volume to sell or a little bit old gets taken to a local soapmaker who turns it into bar soap that’s sold in the shop!
What to know: You can bring your own bottle as long as it is CLEAN and DRY. Plus, it must be a size they sell. That is, either 200 mL or 375 mL bottles that are clearly labeled as such.
All 3 locations in Bend and the 1 in Redmond
2610 NE Hwy 20, Bend
Notables: Bulk bar soap, liquid dairy with deposit bottles