Sunday, March 17, 2013

Bulk Buying and the Ethics of Choice

Last week, our bulk delivery came.  Currants, pepitas, sunflower seeds, 25kg bags of organic flour, 25kg of golden syrup (yes, that's a lot - we use it often in baking) and so on.

Organic White Flour by Weston Milling
This is where I spoke about before, the ethics of choice.  For example, a bulk item might be organic, but can I get it from a local source or does it come from interstate?  Is that extra travel offset by the much less packaging, and meaning I can afford the organic one because it comes in bulk and is less cost than the 1kg bags at the shop?

 The Weston Milling flour thankfully is potentially a local product so I am able to get organic and local which is a plus.  Eventually I'd like to research beyond well presented web-pages but for now, that's the best way I can tick the first box to meet one of the criteria - local or Fairtrade or organic or otherwise ethical/moral.

Another example, 25kg of golden syrup.  Not organic and I haven't looked further into CSR (yet), probably not local but is one drum, potentially reusable.  The equivalent in the shop is a minimum of 25 little containers, yes potentially reusable.  The cost of the little containers works out to be approximately $7 a kilo.  The cost of the golden syrup in the 25kg drum, is $3 a kilo - less than half the price.  That frees up money to support other organic/Fairtrade/local products, pay for the school excursion or simply ease the strain on the weekly budget.

Not only is it convenient to have bulk amounts (assuming you have space or can make space, to store them), but there's less 'ducking down to the shop' (fuel, time) because you ran out of something (even if you checked the night before it's not unheard of to find someone woke up and had a baking urge and x ingredient that you knew you had just enough of, is gone).

There are some things though that I'm willing to buy small, and often, because supporting those products/companies/families is very important to me and because bulk amounts of that product just wouldn't last. 

Yet another balancing act.  How do you rationalise your bulk/not decisions?

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