Switching Grocery Items to Less Packaged Costs

This is a list of some items and prices per unit I switch brands or sources to go less packaging, compostable packaging or recyclable packaging. The left side is what used to be purchased, or are wastefull purchases. The Right side is current purchases, or friendly packaging. Keep in mind prices change time to time. This list contains my journey before less waste and after less waste.

I got these numbers by looking at the price per unit on the price tags on the store shelves. These are not “on sale” prices. This is an eye opener for me too. Good to know what we are paying for.

Grocery List and Prices
Product before
Price per unit
Product after
Price per unit
English cucumber, plastic wrapped
$1.99 each
Field cucumber
$1.99 each
Granny Smith apples, bagged(not sure how many, 8-10?)
$7.99(per 100g was not available)
Single Granny Smith apples(6)
$6.34 for 6 ($.549/100g)
1 bunch of carrots, bagged
carrots not bagged
Yellow onions, mesh bag
Single yellow onion
Large Naval Oranges, bagged(7)
Single large Naval oranges
Blue Bonnet Margarine Squares, foil and paper wrap
Parkay Margarine Squares, paper wrap
Source Yogourt cups, lots of waste/packaging
Source Yogurt tub
Tropicana Orange Juice, carton. Cap and pull out are waste
Oasis Orange Juice. Cap is recyclable
Fruitopia Carton and Five Alive Carton, cap is waste
Oasis Fruit Drinks, jug, cap is recyclable
OceanSpray Cranberry Juice. Cap is waste
Oasis Cranberry Juice, Cap is recyclable.
Graves or Rougemont Apple Juice, Caps are waste.
Graves, $.21/100ml
Allen’s Apple Juice
Pepsi mini cans, with plastic holder
Pepsi mini cans in box
Micorwave Popcorn 6 pack, Oroville, lots of packaging
Popcorn kernels at Bulk Barn
Aunt Jemima Syrup, Cap is waste, not real syrup.
Sensations Pure Maple Syrup, Glass container, cap is waste, but 100% maple syrup.
Compliments Parchment Paper, Cutting edge is plastic
$3.19 for 41 Feet
Culinery Parchment Paper. No cutting edge.
$3.79 for 41 feet
Bounty Paper Towel 6=12 pack. Wrap is waste
Royale Tiger Towels, 12 pack Wrap is recyclable
$1.33 each
Fancy Feast wet cat food in box (kinds pre-selected)
Fancy Feast cans only (select the kinds you want)
Temptations Cat Treats in bag, waste.
Temptations Cat Treats in container, Recyclable. small amount of waste.
Bag of Halls, 4 bars, bag is waste.
$1.20 per bar
Hall bar alone
$1.49 each
Crest Pro Health Adv. Toothpaste. Tube is waste.
Crest Complete with Scope, container and cap are recyclable.
Kleenex 6 pk
$1.47 each
Kleenex single box
$1.99 each
Scotties Tissue 6 pk
$1.33 each
Scotties Tissues single box
$1.59 each
Majesta Tissues 6 pk
$1.30 each
Majesta Tissues single box
$1.59 each
Royale Tissues 6 pk
$1.30 each
Royale Tissues single box
$1.79 each
White Swan single box( This is what I buy unless another brand is on sale and cheaper. Single boxes.
$1.29 each

I see that there are quite a few items where it is cheaper to buy in bulk or packaged. BUT, I am avoiding those  as the cost is not that much different anyways. The savings I am saving else where may make up for that. I also have stopped buying certain products all together for benefits towards health and environments. Making my own from scratch, that is usually always better. I have found that if you make your own foods, and not buy the pre packaged/mixed items, you eat much more healthy.

I stopped buying:

Downy Fabric Softener
Tide Oxi
Lysol Toilet Cleaner
Commet Cleaner
Scrub pads
Stove top cleaner
Glad Bags
Ziplock bags
Ceran wrap
Rice Cakes
Kraft Dinner
Cheese Slices
Yogourt Tubes
Frozen Vegetables
Dryer sheets

Menstural Pads (switched to Diva cup and re usable pad)
Diapers ( switched to cloth and re usable cloth liners)
Wipes( I made re usable ones)
Diaper Genii Refill bags
Papertowel (1 roll will last weeks, occasional purchase)
Granola Bars (I make my own)
Bread and sub buns ( I make my own)
coffee pods for myself (ground coffee)
Shampoo for myself (Shampoo Bar, more expensive though.)
Liquid soap (Bar soap for now on)

There are probably other things, I can not think of right now.
My list I made back in August, shows I removed 20 items, removed 70 waste packaging, 7 compostable packaging and 27 recyclable packaging. Today I am sure those numbers are higher. To start, I just looked at my options for a product. Checked to see if I can buy it with no packaging. If I could not, then I check if I can buy it in recyclable packaging. If not, I ask myself, do I need this product. Can I swap something else in its place? Can I afford to pay a little more for friendlier packaging? Am I saving else where so I can afford more on this product. It really comes down to making your own notes. keeping track of the brands and packaging. Waste packaging is no good. Recyclable packaging, has a chance. Compostable packaging is better, but still uses resources. No packaging (use your own like Bulk stores) is best.

My products from Bulk Barn on the last shopping trip
Shreddies $3.40. Was a full container
Cheerios $3.34
Bran Flakes $2.96, was a full container.
Brown Gravy, $2.46
Baking Soda $4.51
ChickPeas $1.54 (2 cups)
Thomson Raisons $3.01
Virgin Coconut oil $4.56
Large Rolled Oats $2.22  -$.36 in savings
White Sugar $2.44
Chocolate Covered Almonds $5.17 -$.78 in savings
Mini M&Ms $4.15, Smarties $3.19 -$.48 in savings, and Hershey Drop Cookies $3.15
Ground Coffee, 6 scoops, $4.94 -$.75 in savings
Amber Honey $9.17
Smooth Peanut Butter $5.27
Almonds $6.37 -$.96 in savings
Pistachios $6.54 -$.99 in savings
Cashews $8.00 -$1.22 in savings
Peanuts $1.80 -$.26 in savings
Popcorn Kernels $3.32. So yummy!!
Pretzel Sticks $1.69. My largest Glass container. Was a full container.
Graham Crackers $2.77

Here are two examples of switches I made to avoid waste packaging, for the most part.

Temptation Cat food treats in a container. Container and cover are recyclable, there is a little plastic wrap around the cover.
Club House Vanilla extract, 455 ml has a recyclable cap, container as well. The 500 ml of the same brand does not have a recyclable cap.

2 responses on “Switching Grocery Items to Less Packaged Costs”

  1. Hi Rachel,

    Thanks for compiling this info! In general I do much of the same thing as you are in trying to avoid buying items in plastic when possible. I was wondering if you’re aware that there is often a lot of hidden waste behind many of the products we buy that seem ‘unpackaged’. For example, at Canadian Tire I was buying the individual cans of wet cat food thinking I was avoiding packaging. However, I recently found out that those cans all come in cases that have a cardboard bottom and surrounded by plastic which isn’t recyclable (at least here in Ontario). The staff remove the cans from the packaging before putting them on the shelves. Same with Bulk Barn, that some of their items the staff actually dump items from plastic bags into the bins to make it ‘look’ like bulk.

    1. Thanks for the response! It is unbelievable the amount of plastic that is used for shipping and packaging already packaged products! We, the customers do not see that, but it is there!! I was talking to an employee a couple of months ago and he is shocked at the amount of wrapping and packaging they undo to stock the shelves. Its crazy! A pallet would be wrapped to hold the packages together, then the packages are wrapped to contain the quanity, then the quanity is wrapped to hold the 4 pk of whatever is being sold. There must be a better way to do this! I was wondering about the cat food cans myself. Hoping that they come in a large box, not packaged in plastic. My cat is fussy, and does not like the pre-packed box kits, so single cans work for her. But, yes, those single cans probably come from a box, unpacked, from a large bundle wrapped together. Sad.

      As for Bulk Barn, yes they do fill up the bins with bags. I have seen some paper bags, some cloth bags and some plastic bags. I was super happy to see the paper and cloth. The Candy, I noticed this two weeks ago, come in like maybe 1 kg bags. Like a big bag of jelly beans you can buy at Walmart. I was saddened when I saw that. I talked about it with my husband, who is very supportive and knowledgeable. We would not go out and buy a big bag of jelly beans for ourselves. We would buy little packs. (of what every candy). There is no way I would buy 1 kg of candy. So, Bulk Barn allows us to take what we want. A cup worth, two cups worth. We as individuals don’t have to put up with the packaging. Bulk Barn does and so do the companies who produce these products. Also, the companies may not provide the products in bigger bags. 1 kg may be the biggest that is offered.

      Buying in Bulk is good, less packaging and the product lasts longer as there is more. Laundry Detergents for example. The small sizes that frequently go on sale will run out after like 20 small loads. 3 of those containers would be about equal to 1 large size. So say you go through 3 small containers a month, 1 large container may do it too.

      These concerns for over packing need to be voiced and addressed. Solutions need to come from the top where everything is started. We can scale back and not purchase some brands, switch brands, Make your own or just make a decision and not buy that product any more if you can. We as individuals and customers can only do so much. Its the big guys who have to make a change! Customers are always right, right! Voice our concerns, Share your information, shop wisely, DIY, ask questions and research.

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