Buying in bulk, at Costco or any other bulk retailer, reduces packaging waste and is therefore a good environmental decision. Think about it, which produces more waste – ten individually wrapped products or one big bag of ten? The one caveat is to make sure nothing goes to waste – if you buy say, strawberries in bulk and half of them rot before you’re able to use them, then your bulk buy would be a bad environmental decision.
I would tend to agree with the second half of the answer above me. I think that it’s a poor decision, environmentally, because stores that function on the bulk model, like Costco, usually sell foods that are over-processed and encourage over-consumption. Over-consumption and the sheer amount of things that we purchase is one of the things, above all else, that is adding to our environmental impact, especially in the United States. Large wholesale superstores like Costco also offer very few locally sourced goods that add carbon miles from large freight shipments to most of the goods purchased there.
I don’t think Costco is better for the environment then other options are.
First of all while Costco products are sold in bulk, I think that most of them are still individually wrapped in smaller packages. In a way Costco is simply using the same products but cutting out the middle man and selling in larger quantities. The same amount of packaging is used if you buy one thing ten times or ten of the same thing once.
Secondly most of Costco’s products are shipped from around the world. The shipping itself creates huge amounts of emissions that could be avoided by buying things, especially food, made close to where you live.
This isn’t even considering the human rights violations committed in order to have things made as cheap as possible delivered to your door.
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