I've been putting time and energy into shopping ethically. It's no secret that when environmental and ethical concerns clash I choose the latter. The on-going dilemma is packaging. Sometimes the brands I buy come heavily packaged and looking at what I'm putting into the bin week after week is disheartening.
That being the case, I've been buying in bulk again over the last few weeks. We've got a great little shop ten minutes away where I've been going. My reluctance in the past was being unable to ascertain who made the products I'd be buying. Having done this for awhile, however, I've come to learn which products are usually owned/made by multi-national nasties. Most of the things I buy in bulk are the kinds of foods that are unprocessed and, therefore, much more likely to be made locally by a local company.
At this store, one still has to fill plastic bags, rather than bring their own containers. I've just been using the same bags over and over again. I know that they'll eventually make landfill but there are many weeks in between where I won't be contributing to the problem. They'll probably be demoted to rubbish bin liners or dog poop bags before landing at the dump. It's not ideal but it's preferable to the packaging some of the products come in which can neither be reused nor recycled.
The one item troubling me is couscous. If I buy it at the supermarket it comes in a cardboard box which can be recycled. This means I'm putting a box in the recyclables nearly every week. (We eat a lot of couscous.) Recycling raises its own environmental issues of energy usage and, thus, carbon emissions. If I buy it in bulk, I can buy more, less frequently and reuse the bag numerous times. In the end, however, the bag is rubbish. I don't know which is preferable. Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated.