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Statewide Culture 0

Earth Day: Buy in Bulk to Better the Natural State


In the 1970s, the phrase “Reduce, reuse, recycle” became popular. Although it’s also a popular sentiment surrounding Earth Day, there are local stores across the state that are making it easier for us to make these lifestyle adjustments year-round that ingrain positive habits and instill good stewardship for future generations.

When done with intentionality, buying in bulk can be both cost-effective and good for the environment. The main benefit of buying in bulk is reduced packaging waste. This also generally suggests cheaper prices on household items that you frequently use. It also means fewer shopping trips, which reduces your environmental footprint and may also reduce your chances of impulse buying.

Northwest Arkansas

Ozark Natural Foods Co-Op in Fayetteville is arguably the OG of the movement in Arkansas. Established in 1971 by 20 people who bought $5 “lifetime” memberships, Ozark Natural Foods remains a locally owned consumer cooperative dedicated to healthful living and sustainability by providing its owners and the Northwest Arkansas community with natural and organic products and related services.

In addition to supporting local farmers, growers and makers, the store boasts the best bulk department in Arkansas. They have the standard herbs, spices, nut butters and coffees, but they also offer more niche bulk options such as almond oil, witch hazel extract and bath salts, allowing customers to fill them in containers they bring from home.

Central Arkansas

In central Arkansas, The Green Corner Store in Little Rock is the gold standard for promoting true sustainability. Their stated mission is “to transform the way we live in our ‘corner’ of the planet by showcasing eco-friendly goods and promoting healthy lifestyles and safer, greener environments at home, work and school.”

One of my favorite places to shop for gifts, The Green Corner Store offers green products in the categories of bath and body, home, kids, pets, and wellness. They also provide a huge selection of Arkansas-made products. You can enjoy bulk refills on cleaning and personal care products like Dr. Bronner’s castile soap and concentrated general cleaning solution, shampoo and conditioner, dish soap, laundry detergent, hand soap, and lotion, along with cleaning products for tub and tile, floor and glass.

Although it’s not a bulk item, it does eliminate single-use plastics, and so for the last several years, I have been using shampoo, hair conditioner and lotion bars. The Green Corner Store is a great source for these products.

The Natural State Market in Benton is quickly making a name for itself as an eco-friendly destination for health and wellness products and Arkansas-made, Arkansas-grown goods. They are dedicated to keeping things natural and have a zero-waste mission. Customers will find local handmade goods, sustainable home and garden items, plus health and wellness products. They make it easier to produce less waste and be more planet-friendly by limiting excess plastic and offering basic cooking and kitchen staples in refill options. You can bring your own container or use one of theirs and fill up on dry goods such as coffee, nuts, beans, spices and pasta, many of which are organic and locally sourced. Refillable cleaning supplies are offered without harmful chemicals, additives or plastics.

In my little section of the state, we are fortunate to have two options for bulk foods and local, sustainable emphasis: Good Measure Market and The Natural Food Store.

For over 10 years, Good Measure has offered local produce, such as eggs, beef, coffee, bread, honey, and flowers. They also provide a wide variety of bulk food products, including spices, baking supplies like cocoa, flour, cornmeal, baking soda and baking powder, beans, oats, rice, popcorn and salt in organic, non-GMO and certified gluten-free options.

I recently discovered and began using toothpaste tablets, which Good Measure sells in refill bags in several flavors.

Also, in Searcy, a long-time community staple, The Natural Food Store works with small local farmers who grow responsibly and organically to provide fresh seasonal food for their customers.

They are also carving out a niche market by offering locally brewed kombucha on tap. You can buy your own growler to get refills on flavors such as blueberry sage and sencha green tea with orange peel and vanilla. You can bring your own container or use the baggies provided to take advantage of their bulk herb, spice and tea section.

Northeast Arkansas

With locations in Jonesboro and Mountain Home, The Truck Patch is providing Northeast Arkansas with locally sourced meats, seasonal fruits and vegetables from local farmers, as well as bulk food items. (A truck patch is a garden that is grown for sale at a market. Most farmers have two gardens, a personal and truck patch.)

Their 80 bins of bulk food include beans, nuts, seeds, grains, dried fruit, rice, granolas, flour and snacks. The bulk spice section has more than 80 selections, along with 30 teas and 10 coffee bins.

Let’s all do our part to take better care of The Natural State!

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April Fatula is student publications adviser and instructor in Harding University's Department of Communication. She lives in Searcy with her husband and three children and dreams alternately of being a travel writer and drinking her coffee while it's still hot.

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