I have a new trick for getting food from the bulk department of the grocery store: reusable baggies. This tip came to me via one of my favorite checkers at the big store where I get the preponderance of our groceries. She told me that another customer does this: she writes the name and bin number of her regular bulk department purchases on zip-top baggies (the freezer kind because they last several times as long as the normal ones) and fills these with her bulk food. The difference in bag weight is negligible. The thicker bags are less likely to rip (The ones the store provides rip every time I get sugar. Every time!). If you get home and find that you bought something you don’t have a canister for or which overflows your container simply zip it and set it aside!
I ad elaborate ideas about using dry-erase markers but that didn’t work out. A) Dry-erase markers remove the white write-on-this-space paint on the baggie when you rub off the ink. B) If I reuse the baggie over and over for the same food I technically don’t have to wash it out, which saves me some work. (This is true of dry foodstuffs like rice, beans, and pasta — but I might change my mind when I bring home some squishy dried fruit or something.) C) My baggies have already been reused an indefinite number of times and the scrubbing has rubbed off the white part I’m supposed to be writing on, so I’m writing in permanent marker on strips of masking tape.*
So far it’s a big win: less stuff going in the recycling bin (the bags) and the trash (the little twist tie label thingies) and not one person has given me a weird look or whispered behind their hand. The checkers seem to like the great big block letters, too.
* Not recyclable. I checked. But it is compostable! I never would have guessed.