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Do you bring your own containers to the grocery store?


Chris Amirault
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kitchensqueen asked a great question over here: do you bring your own containers, produce bags, etc. to the grocery store or use what's there? I admit I never, ever bring containers, but always bring grocery bags, which, when you think of it, is a bit inconsistent.

You?

Chris Amirault

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Ah, the birth of a new topic. :-)

I'm the same way - I bring my own shopping and produce bags, but not containers for the bulk bins... I've heard that Whole Foods will weigh your containers for you before you fill them so you're not paying for the cost of your own containers, but which containers to bring? Canning jars seem to bulky/breakable to me... maybe plastic zip tops bags that you reuse every time are the way to go.

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Containers for what? I don't like the idea of reused containers for deli stuff. Who know what gets transferred from some guy's unclean container to the serving spoon and then to the cole slaw?

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Same here. The only time I take my own containers is when making a special trip to the wholesale market.

This is my skillet. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My skillet is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it, as I must master my life. Without me my skillet is useless. Without my skillet, I am useless. I must season my skillet well. I will. Before God I swear this creed. My skillet and myself are the makers of my meal. We are the masters of our kitchen. So be it, until there are no ingredients, but dinner. Amen.

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Containers for what? I don't like the idea of reused containers for deli stuff. Who know what gets transferred from some guy's unclean container to the serving spoon and then to the cole slaw?

Dry goods, for one: in the bulk section I often see people with a dozen or so of those reusable plastic containers filling them back up with whatever they are supposed to contain. I've also seen people reuse produce bags.

Chris Amirault

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Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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I always bring canvas or other nice grocery bags with me to places like Whole Foods and when I go food shopping in DC. In DC they charge for all grocery bags and at Whole Foods they give you a rebate.

But produce bags, or grocery containers, never. I'm comfortable with it.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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I take my own re-usable and labeled slide-closed bags to WinCo when I buy bulk grains and etc.

The store bags are too flimsy to hold a good-sized portion of heavy grains (millet, for instance) and after having one experience with having a store bag (doubled) break just as I was lifting it onto the conveyor, I opt for the stronger (freezer) bags. Some of the millet found its way into my boots and I was extremely uncomfortable until I got home and could remove them.

As they are re-used and already have the skew number I wrote the first time, I don't have to write out a new label.

The checkers appreciate it because the number is printed large and is easy to read.

I take my large honey jars to the store where I buy bulk honey.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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I have never thought of this. I'm with Jeff I have a hard enough time remembering my resusable bags! Great idea though. I especially like your method Andie, when I do buy bulk taking the time to write the SKUs and label everything generally limits me to one or 2 items.

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I have a half dozen heavy plastic gallon containers with ~4" dia wide mouth screw lids - They are ~6X6X8 rectangular with rounded corners, and fit efficiently on my pantry shelves. I think they started life as food service mayo containers - my wife scrounged them in Michigan before I met her. I sometimes remember to take them to Whole Foods or Weaver Street Mkt to refill with dry bulk goods. Since they are waterproof, I can freeze them with new stuff in them to limit grain moth infestations - if you throw a paper bag of flour in the freezer, it will condense and absorb moisture, especially in humid NC.

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I always bring a bag. In Denmark, this is almost inevitably a rucksack, with an extra shopping bag tucked inside, in case I come across something not on the shopping list, but that I don't want to pass up (in NYC, just the shopping bag, because the rucksack poses is a problem for security staff). I've never brought hard containers to fill, but often do reuse bulk bags when I'm anywhere that sells bulk (very rare, here). I also save a goodish number of tiny spice bags, which I refill with bulk herbs at Integral Yoga, when I'm back in NYC.

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
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I never thought of bringing small/medium plastic bags to a bulk food store, and we usually forget to bring clean re-usable small plastic containers into which you put tahini, peanut butter, honey, etc. Shame on us, but no plastic container of that size ever seems to go to waste in this household.

I have a couple of 'shopping' bags in my purse...the kind which fold into themselves. Love those little goodies.

Moreover, we always have two large Rubbermaid containers in the back of our Focus and our full size van. They either go right into the store with us and sit in our cart as we shop or Ed wheels the groceries out in the shopping cart and then fills the containers which are in the back of the vehicle. Thus we never have to buy plastic shopping bags (which are extra charges in almost every store now). Gosh, I feel virtuous. :raz: Of course we NEED plastic bins with secure-fitting covers with two large snoopy dogs everywhere we go.

Darienne

 

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How does this work at the checkout?

"The main thing to remember about Italian food is that when you put your groceries in the car, the quality of your dinner has already been decided." – Mario Batali
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Well, at Whole Foods they have preprogrammed tare settings for these containers, since they are the ones that the store uses. So you put 'em on the cashier's scale, who subtracts the weight of the container, and off you go.

Chris Amirault

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Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Well, at Whole Foods they have preprogrammed tare settings for these containers, since they are the ones that the store uses. So you put 'em on the cashier's scale, who subtracts the weight of the container, and off you go.

We have that at our bulk food stores also...I just never remember the containers. I should put some into our Rubbermaid containers!!! Duh...

Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

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Well, at Whole Foods they have preprogrammed tare settings for these containers, since they are the ones that the store uses. So you put 'em on the cashier's scale, who subtracts the weight of the container, and off you go.

Ok, I see. You need to bring the same containers that the store uses. Not that people are just bringing their own tupperware or whatnot. Thanks!

"The main thing to remember about Italian food is that when you put your groceries in the car, the quality of your dinner has already been decided." – Mario Batali
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If you want to bring your own different containers, like Tupperware, weigh them first, and mark the tare weight on the outside with a sharpie. Be honest, though, and don't tare something at 15 when it's a 2! :rolleyes:

"Commit random acts of senseless kindness"

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Well, at Whole Foods they have preprogrammed tare settings for these containers, since they are the ones that the store uses. So you put 'em on the cashier's scale, who subtracts the weight of the container, and off you go.

Ok, I see. You need to bring the same containers that the store uses. Not that people are just bringing their own tupperware or whatnot. Thanks!

Most stores will also give you the tare weight before you fill them if you stop by customer service.

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I can't imagine lugging my containers to the store, given they are mostly all glass. But I do re-use the basic plastic vegetable and bulk food bags, at least the ones that aren't messed up. When the farmers' market abandoned all plastic bags that became a necessity, and now I find that recycling them for bulk dry goods works as well. As soon as I come home I transfer the contents into their appropriate jars and again, save whatever bags remain tolerably clean. I do take my bottle when I go for olive oil; they know how much weight to subtract for a standard size wine bottle. If they don't, they will weight the bottle before I fill it. I use a tight fitting cork, and then when I get home I switch it out to a bottle pour spout.

We re-use double paper shopping bags until they disintegrate, and we have a variety of canvas bags as well. I try hard to keep a few empty bags in the car at all times for unexpected excursions, but I'm not always successful. I have a hard time knowing exactly what I'll do when no plastic bags exist, if that happens, but so it goes.

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I take re-usable cloth bags for shopping, although my DH refuses to do so. For bulk-bin purchases at the supermarket, I generally will make use of the store-supplied plastic bags, then wash and re-purpose once home. I rarely use a separate bag for produce at the supermarket.

When "market" shopping, I usually pack along one or two smaller plastic bags for salad greens and such, and a paper sack for mushrooms/nuts.

It seems, to me, a lot of hassle to carry around bulky containers for dry goods, especially as the containers in my pantry are rarely empty.

Karen Dar Woon

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All these topics on bulk buying are great! As to whether I bring my creepy containers:) to the store is mostly a matter of remembering and of what I'm buying. My coop has so many different types of things available in bulk that I do bring containers for things like oil, honey, liquid soap, lotion or any heavy liquid item that will be stored in a glass jar at home. The reason to do so is that if I put it into one container at the store and transfer it to another at home, there is the inevitable waste clinging to the store container after transfer. So much better to just put it in it's final jar at the store.

Plus my store charges for all the new containers in the bulk sections. Why waste product or a new container? As to the weight of the container; Each bulk station has a scale and you just weigh your container empty and note it on the jar. They subtract the tare weight at the checkout. Viola!

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Yes, to either of the two co-ops I shop at, for the bulk goods. One supplies containers (and you can donate clean plastic & glass containers to the co-op, the employees sterilize them and they're put out for others to use). I'll resuse the clear plastic bags for produce, etc., & I've used reusable cloth bags for years.

Fred Meyer, a department/grocery store chain in OR (now owned by Kroger), has a 5 cents off if you use your own bag deal, so my bags have probably paid for themselves by now. I shop there sometimes although the bulk of my food shopping is done at the co-ops, w/some done at the farmers' markets or u-pick for a few kinds of produce in season. I bring my own containers/bags to the latter two as well.

Neither co-op has a similar policy although at the larger of the two co-ops, you get a "bean" (dried bean) for every cloth/reusable bag you bring with you (not including the plastic produce bags), and near the exit there's a stack of containers or boxes each w/a hole to drop a bean through. Each is labeled w/the name/title of an organization. The co-op will donate so much of its revenues to each organization per bean dropped into its container/box. The list of organizations changes, I think right now it's a boys' and girls' club, local wildlife refuge, a couple other entities.

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