I was very excited upon my return to Adelaide that our local Coles has introduced a “Scoop and Weigh” section- i.e. an option to buy bulk with the convenience and accessibility of a supermarket!
Don’t get me wrong- I love the Adelaide Central Markets and the bulk options available there, however given the ridiculous traffic in Adelaide nowadays combined with the bad decision to conduct month-long roadworks on every single road leading into and out of the city, being able to get to the market relatively unscathed is a luxury (and a miracle). Given the option, I will always prefer going to the markets and bulk food store- however if you’ve been working late, and it’s now 8pm, cold, rainy and windy and you need to grab a couple of things for dinner- the convenience of popping into Coles (a major chain supermarket in Australia) on the way home to raid the bulk section can’t be beat.
The section is small, but they offer a good basic variety of grains, nuts, dried fruit and snacks. They have a digital scale right there, where you weight your item with the product code, and the machine spits out a sticker for you to take to the cashier. There is a catch- at the moment the procedure calls for use of their plastic Ziploc bags. I hung around the weighing machine like a creep the other day and noticed that there is a “tare” column on the machine, but I couldn’t work out how to do it. I mashed my palm against the screen and everything…. 😉
Luckily there was a nice lady there that day re-filling the bins, and I asked her if she knew how to take the tare weight off a jar with these machines. I can use thin muslin bags with these machines anyway, but for things like almond meal or fine grains, a jar wins for ease for transfer and cleaning. We entered into a fun conversation about possibly coming up with a protocol of sorts to enable people to take the tare weight off their own containers, and actually promoting the use of your own containers and discouraging single- use plastic. She was very excited by the idea, and told me that she is going to email her manager that afternoon about it, and for me to pop by in a couple of weeks to see if there has been any positive outcomes.
Even if nothing comes of it, at least the idea is out there, and one more conversation has been had about zero-waste living. One of the surprising things about this journey so far is that most of my experiences have been positive, and that rather than have people turn me away or give me strange looks, everyone has accepted my own bags/ jars/ containers, and some have even been inspired to start their own zero-waste journey.
I will start posting about my various successes with businesses in and around Adelaide, so that hopefully it will make it easier for anyone else living here to start going zero-waste too. It’s been a lot of trial and error, research, and what I call “conducting social experiments”. I am still in the testing stage, but I am enjoying the challenge!
Vive La Revolution!