Coles’ “Scoop and Weigh”

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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!

6 thoughts on “Coles’ “Scoop and Weigh”

  1. I work one of these stations and a more enviro friendly option is a brilliant idea. The amount of wasted bags is pretty frustrating. Any word back on this?

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    1. Hi! No word back yet and never managed to track down the clerk who I had the original conversation with! I’ve stuck with using my own lightweight reuseable bags at the station for bigger things at the moment and it’s working well. It is frustrating to see lots of little bags used once and tossed, my dream is to see more people at the very least bring their own bags for fruit and veggies. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

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  2. Hi, I was just about to ask the same question that Alexis asked. Will have to find some lightweight reusable bags. Where did you find the ones that you use? I’m about to embark on a journey to become more environmentally conscious and I find that in the part of Australia that I live, it’s very difficult to recycle etc (too far away from a major city). I’ve been reading your posts with interest. I particularly like the post where you mentioned ‘wear lipstick’ and leave your cranky face at home when asking about using your own containers. I haven’t done this yet and am a bit nervous. But like you said, if you ask confidently and with a smile on your face, who could refuse?! Thanks for your inspiration.

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  3. Hi, I support your concerns and efforts on targeting waste. I tried using my own sterilised glass containers at Coles deli and got knocked back. Frustrating, but I will keeping looking for stores that support my attempts at waste free living.

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    1. That’s a huge shame! I think it is quite variable at different Coles- I’ve never been brave enough to try with jars because I’d just assume I’d get knocked back, but my partner has gone to the counter a few times to get cheese with no problems at all! No idea how he does it 😱

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  4. Hi, came across a Coles Scoop and Weigh in Vic Park Perth. The problem is that I use jars and I don’t want to pay the extra money for their weight. But then I just had a brilliant idea! I will bring one of my paper bags from home, and use it to weigh the product. Print the sticker, stick it on my glass container, then transfer the product from my paper bag to the container. Re-use the same bag for weighing, and use a new jar for the next product.

    I always go to the self check out… So no weird looks from the cashier 😉

    I’m going to try it this weekend with my weekly shop. Wish me luck 🙂

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