Are zero waste groceries expensive__ bulk vs Walmart comparison - Green Indy Blog

Are zero waste groceries expensive?: bulk vs Walmart comparison

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    • Polly

      One of the perks of living in the Midwest, although I can guarantee the salaries are much lower as well!

      But yes, to buy fairly local milk (next state over) in glass containers is $3.50-4 with a $1.50 refund when you return the glass which is a really amazing deal!

  • Ariana Roberts

    I love this well thought out post so much I wish I could marry it (especially the color coded chart). I’m really surprised at the results actually, even though my Whole Foods grocery bill routinely ends up being cheaper than that of my friends or family- $28 this week (they eat meat though).

    • Polly

      You’re welcome to marry the chart! Unspoken for, as far as I know.

      And, yeah, the meat/dairy can really skew it – even when my husband buys it very cheap, it can bump up our bill by about 30%.

  • Shona

    I shop at Sprouts ( which sounds a lot like your Fresh Thyme store), the local farmer’s mkt, and the local health foods shop. I make nearly all my meals from scratch and shop for ingredients and very few packages with bar codes. My husband shops at Wal-Mart and when I accompany him I do a mental price comparison. What I have found is organic at Wal-Mart tends to be higher in cost. I have my theories and I don’t want to offend or assume, but I had recently been at a Whole Foods (a rare trip) and for example, organic baguettes were $1.99 and Wal-Mart had organic baguettes for $2.97. Tofurkey sausages are about $2.00 less, but still more expensive than Trader Joe’s. I meal prep and can get by on about $25- 30 a week on groceries for me and some shared meals with my husband.
    Sorry so long, I tend to defend the cost of organic, zero waste and health foods shopping.

    • Polly

      Love the long comment – super interesting! (I especially love hearing from people in a similar situation to me, re: partners going a different path!)

      Organic at Walmart IS very expensive, perhaps there’s not enough of a market of organic buyers to lower prices? Or they’re evening out the costs of offering some items super low-cost? Whatever it is, one more reason to push Walmart out of my mind as much as possible!

  • Kelli

    Thank you for this. I just started going zero waste in the last two months and I’m worried it’s costing me more. Also my only local bulk store that lets you use your own jars and bags fills their bins from big plastic bags so I’m not sure it even makes a difference. I’ll have to try this comparison in my own city with my regular grocery store.

    • Polly

      That happens everywhere, unfortunately. The real fact is that if you’re shopping at a store, you’re producing plastic – you just may not be taking it home with you. That being said, buying in bulk still makes sense assuming the store is using bags larger than would typically be available to consumers. Consider: buying rice in bulk cuts out the additional packaging of the plastic bag you’d otherwise take home. Same with beans, lentils, etc. A reduction of plastic waste is still working towards zero waste.

      Still, definitely frustrating, but that’s how things are currently! Good luck on your new zero waste adventure – it’s exciting!

  • Alexia

    For me, I think that I spend less when I go to Fresh Thyme over Walmart. It comes down to buying too many wants at Walmart. I don’t need half the things I buy at Walmart. I still get treats at Fresh Thyme but I’m not buying fruit snacks and chips and cookies and granola bars.

    I think the last comment you made about losing out on some things isn’t necessarily true though. You find new favorite sweets that ARE zero waste. Fresh Thyme has several candies in bulk. I love their salted chocolate covered toffee squares. YUM! Yeah, we eat less Oreos now and more homemade chocolate chip cookies but I don’t feel like I’m missing out.

    • Polly

      Agree! Way easier to overspend when you have so many more options!

      As to your second point: you sound like you clearly have it together and you’ve gotten over that hump of feeling deprived. I totally agree that I’ve replaced old junk food with new treats, but for many people starting out that can seem impossible. Still, love hearing someone else saying ‘it gets better! it gets normal!’

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