In France, 10 million tonnes of consumable food goes into the trash every year, according to figures published by the European Commission. While food businesses and restaurants are the main culprits, consumers are also responsible for 33% of this waste. Thus, according to the Environment and Energy Management Agency, 20% of the food purchased by households ends up thrown in the garbage, representing a net annual loss of 240 euros per household.
A waste with economic and ecological consequences. While a better understanding of best before dates and food storage is essential to remedy this, bulk is also a solution.
Getting the right equipment to start well
Who says bulk, necessarily says absence of disposable packaging. Goodbye plastic films, cardboard boxes and aluminum trays that pollute and clutter up the bins. If we appreciate being able to do without this superfluous, it is necessary to organize ourselves. To do your shopping, provide foldable fabric bags, in your purse or the trunk of your car, for example. You can make them yourself with organic cotton canvas, or by using old t-shirts that you no longer wear.
Most organic stores provide biodegradable paper bags that can be reused multiple times. You can also opt for fillets, which are well suited to fruits and vegetables, but less so for small foods that might fall through the mesh. For your meats, cheeses and fish, prefer airtight glass boxes, to avoid the risk of dripping.
Focus on good food
You have decided to take the plunge, but once in front of the shelves, you feel a little confused by this multitude of distributors of all kinds. Upstream, start by making a list of the products you need, the ones you consume the most frequently. Can you easily buy them without packaging? You can, for example, set up a weekly menu so that you have a clear idea of what you want to buy. “Dry” foods, such as pasta, rice, cereals, flour, sugar, herbs and legumes – lentils, peas, beans – as well as beggars are perfect for starting your adventure. Not only does buying them in bulk not present any particular difficulty, but you also choose exactly the quantity you need, thereby saving money.
If this first approach went smoothly, you can switch to fresh products, especially those of animal origin. For this, think of local shops such as butchers, cheese dairies or fishmongers, but also of markets which are perfect for stocking up on local products.
Once back from shopping, you will have to store the purchases. For this, you must purchase glass containers – for all types of food – or metal, only for dry food. Don’t hesitate to reuse old jars, such as jam jars, after washing and sterilizing them in boiling water for hygiene.
To avoid the risk of food poisoning, note the date of purchase of the products on the jar and check with your organic grocery store or on the Internet to find out the shelf life. Finally, make sure you have clean hands when handling containers or food.
Where to go ?
If you don’t know where to find bulk stores near you, go to Abracada-vrac.com, which locates stores offering bulk products in your city.