Buying in bulk saves money and reduces waste. There is a significant amount of savings in the package alone, or lack of (cardboard boxes and plastic bags add a good chunk of cost to a product), as well as savings through volume. When we buy in volume the item cost is less, which gets applied directly to you.
Foregoing prepackaged items when there is a bulk equivalent is also easier on the environment. Less packaging equals less waste and that means less stress on our environment and a smaller carbon footprint. Many of the prepackaged items on our shelves are the same items we sell in the bulk aisle.
We supply plastic and paper bags (free), various sizes of plastic containers (20¢ a piece), and canning-style jars (priced as marked). We have the tare weights (tare = the weight of the container when empty—to be subtracted at weighing) for containers that we sell in our computer system already. If you do use a container of your own, and we love it when you do, don’t forget to weigh it before you fill it. There is a scale right above the sink in the bulk aisle, or every cash register has a scale—just ask a cashier for assistance.
Using the bulk system couldn’t be easier. Simply fill a container, record the PLU number of the particular product, and then take it to your cashier. He or she will then place the container on the scale, type the code into the computer, subtract the weight of the container, and voila! You are charged only for the actual product you are buying, not the container, not the packaging, nothing else.
Sometimes four digit numbers just don't explain what's in your bag or jar. If that product is in stock at our stores it will be searchable on our website. Just enter the PLU in the search field preceded by enough zeros to total 13 digits, usually 9. For example, if you are wondering if that is baking powder and not baking soda just enter 0000000001527 in the search field.
A number of seeds, nuts, grains, and beans in our bulk aisle can be sprouted at home! Just look for the "Good for sprouting" sign on the bulk bin.
How to grow sprouts:
How to make your own sprouter: The Easy Sprout system is readily available to buy at the Co-op ($15.69 and made locally!), or it's super easy to make your own with a mason jar.
Willy Street Co-op staff takes pride in using high quality products and safe food-handling procedures. However, only packaged products with allergen-free claims should be considered safe for those who have extreme food-related allergies. Our re-packaged bulk items ("Willy-Packed" dried fruits, snacks, and other foods) are packed in our Kitchen, where common allergens (nuts, soy, wheat, dairy, eggs) are used daily. Our Bulk aisle also features some products that contain allergens, and airborne transfer of allergens could occur. For more information please ask our staff or see allergen statement.