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Co-op Community | Spring Quarterly 2017

Simple, Smart Savings

Maggie Gainer, Zero Waste Humboldt

Co-op members and shoppers can benefit from learning the true costs of extreme convenience. The costs for excessive and single-use packaging come in several forms.

First, for several foods and beverages, the cost of the single-use bag, bottle or box is a significant percentage of the purchase price you pay. The best-known example is single-use plastic water bottles. The hidden costs are in the petroleum, natural resources, and water that are extracted and used to manufacture and transport single use plastic water bottles to stores.  For some water bottlers, the financial cost of the plastic bottle is actually more than the cost of the bottled water. The recommended eight glasses of water a day at U.S. tap rates equals about $0.49 per year; that same amount of bottled water is about $1,400.

While the cost of packaging large enough for several servings, such as with cereals and grains, is not as dramatic as the plastic water bottle, if you purchase boxes with small single-serving packets inside, the cost to the consumer increases.

Second, the most effective method for reducing waste is to prevent it in the first place. You save the handling time and can dramatically reduce your garbage/recycling collection fees by not buying food and beverage packaged in bags, boxes, bottles, etc. Therefore, the more you use your own reusable containers, the more likely you will be able to reduce the frequency and costs of garbage/recycling collection.

Third, the cost to the Co-op to provide food for you in bulk bins reduces costs for the Co-op. These are savings that the Co-op can pass along to you, or allocate to other needs and improvements.

In 1974, North Coast Co-op developed convenient systems for shoppers to be able to buy groceries with our own reusable containers. Combined with this, Co-op employees are knowledgeable and trained to help shoppers establish this habit. Do you to know how much your food container you’ve brought weighs empty (and do you know why this weight is important)? Do you need advice about the best type of container for transporting your dry foods and liquids? Just ask! On Saturday, April 22, Zero Waste Humboldt will team up with the Co-op to have a Zero Waste shopping display and shopping guides to help you make this less wasteful and less expensive transition.

Join the “Refillable Revolution” and prevent packaging waste. To learn more, email contact@zerowastehumboldt.org .
 


Save the Date:
‚ÄčNorth Coast Co-op Earth Day Event

April 22, 2017

Join us in stores on Earth Day, April 22, for sustainability-focused store tours, giveaways, and 22% off all Co-op-branded reusable containers!
Stay tuned for more details

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