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Green challenges

Thinking global and acting local, Julie Grundy takes on any challenge we throw at her.

Where can you buy in bulk?

Mt Claremont farmers' markets

Mt Claremont farmers' markets

Credit: David McDonnell

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It's all very well to say we need to be bulk-buying food and laundry items - but where's the best place to get them from? If you're not used to buying in bulk, making the switch can involve a little hunting and searching to find the right place for you to shop.

I've actually had more luck than I expected with buying bulk in normal supermarkets. It just means looking at the bottom shelves instead of along the middle - that's usually where you find the larger sizes of packaged goods.

Last week I switched to buying a one kilo tin of Milo instead of my usual 375 gram one, having spotted it on the shelf below. Anyone who's met me will tell you about my Milo obsession, and my husband has been teasing me that 1 kilo won't be enough to get me through the week! I've heard they come in even larger catering sizes, if I can get my hands on one I'll be pretty happy about it. We've also found 12 packs of toilet paper (recycled, of course!) and switched to that from our usual 6 pack.

That's where some of the warehouse retailers can come in handy - places like CostCo and FAL charge a membership fee so they can offer bulk products at low prices. You can get giant sizes of most standard household products at competitive prices. You'll still want to do your sums to make sure you're getting the best deal, though.

Some people prefer a more personal touch than you can get at the big warehouses though. If that's the case, then local grocers, local butchers, and farmer's markets are the best place for you. I was at one of Perth's markets on the weekend, and saw people buying huge tubs of potatoes and placing orders for bulk packs of meat that they'll be picking up next weekend.

And my local grocer has enormous sacks of dried beans and produce where you can scoop out as much as you need, with the butcher next door offering big family packs of meat that'd keep you going for a long time if you've got the freezer space. The nice thing about your local produce people is that you can always have a chat with them about what you'd like to buy if they don't already have it - they often have much better service in this regard than the major chain stores do.

Where have you been getting your bulk products from? Have you got any good recommendations of places G Magazine readers should try?