N.O.W. idea #7: Give Tare a Chance

If you want to stock up on bulk items at the grocery store without creating waste, bring your own jars. Yes, they’re heavy (distribute them between two bags and don’t exceed eight). But it’s fun, trust me! Let’s go shopping…

1. Choose a clean container

I prefer Quattro Stagioni jars because they’re beautiful, durable, and come in a variety of sizes, but Saint Benoit yogurt jars are a close second because they’re free (repurposed after enjoying the yogurt) and the ounces are marked on the side. I can actually measure sugar for a recipe at the store!


2. Prepare labels

Put two pieces of painter’s tape on the lid; one that says “Tare:____” and one that says “#____” for the item code. This will prevent the checker from slapping a piece of masking tape on your lid before you can blink; which is hard to remove and prone to ripping. Painter’s tape is strong and super sticky, but can easily be repositioned or transferred to another lid. Yes, it ultimately becomes waste, but I’ve been reusing my labels for many months and have a very consistent shopping list, so I rarely have to make new ones or throw them away. I keep labels not-in-use hidden on the inside of a kitchen cabinet door and all labels away from water. 

3. Find the tare of your container

“Tare” is simply the weight of a container. Ask a staff member to weigh your jar (or place it on the register scale yourself; the tare will pop up on the screen). Write the tare on one of the labels.


4. Fill your container with bulk goods


5. Write the PLU (item number) on the other label 

6. Check out 

Be ready for looks of curiosity and admiration… and hope the checker knows what to do!

This picture was taken before I discovered painter’s tape. (And pay no attention to the bag of chips lurking in the corner.)

Yes, you could also use cloth bags for bulk items, but after experimenting with both, I highly recommend jars. Avoid the bag-to-jar transfer at home! Dry goods in jars are cabinet-ready. Are you ready?!