An old idea for a new year: co-operation.
The most compelling case for bulk buying clubs and food co-ops is the way they can cut the cost of organic food for those with a more limited budget. They’re a nifty way to curb plastic, too, and uniquely offer a way to combine both in a single initiative.
2018 saw a huge upsurge in ‘zero waste’ traders – shops and stalls offering the chance to buy wholefoods and related products packaging-free. Thus, the leading health food shop in my locality made a big shift in this direction, whilst a ‘bring your own container’ vendor was even quicker off the mark with a stall at my nearest market. All being well, these will continue to thrive in 2019, even as the media appetite wanes (as it surely will) for running a succession of stories on plastic. But while each of these options stands to cut packaging waste, there’s no avoiding the fact that organic supplies bought in this way cost more than they need to. Of course, no-one is making a killing on nuts, pulses and the like. A shop is just covering its rent, staff and overhead costs; a stallholder is simply covering their hire fee and trying to make a living. Yet, add these onto wholesale prices and you’re probably looking at a leap of 50%. Thus, ‘zero waste’ vendors seldom represent a way for shoppers to really save money.
Anyone who is financially hard-pressed will do far better co-operating to gain savings. The basic idea behind bulk buying clubs is for a small group of people to order straight from a wholesaler, dramatically reducing their costs and their environmental footprint. This site offers a wealth of information to support such initiatives, including a detailed ‘How To’ guide.
So, if you’ve time rather than money to spare in 2019, consider taking waste reduction in a more co-operative direction, one that can go easier on the planet and your budget.
About this site
This site aims to encourage and support the setting up of further bulk buying clubs and small food co-ops in Ireland by sharing the experience of individuals who have operated a ‘pop-up wholefoods’ model over a number of years.