Thursday, September 13, 2018

Azure Standard

Screenshot of Azure Standard logo. https://trimazing.com/
#VeganMoFo18 Day 13 - Azure Standard

As I've mentioned before, we try to buy as much as possible package-free, zero waste. This means I shop stores with bulk bins that let me use my own containers (mesh bags and glass jars) or unpackaged produce. I have a list of stores in my local area that have products I like and need:

Photo collage of New Seasons Bulk Bin Offerings, including spices in glass jars; liquid dispensers, nut butter grinders, and tare weighing station. https://trimazing.com/
Collage of New Seasons Bulk Bin Area
  • PCC Market
  • Peet's Coffee (they grind coffee right into our reusable container and give us a discount and a free cup of brewed coffee for doing this)
  • Local Farmers Markets (produce, bread, bulk dried beans)
  • Fred Meyer (limited offerings and only allows mesh bags, doesn't tare jars, so only get non-powder, non-liquid things here)
  • QFC (limited offerings and only allows mesh bags, doesn't tare jars, so only get non-powder, non-liquid things here)
  • Central Market (includes Town and Country Markets)
  • Town and Country Markets (part of the Central Market chain)
  • Sno-Isle Co-op (has liquids I can't find elsewhere, like molasses, white vinegar)
  • Zenith Supplies (great for cleaning supply needs)
  • New Seasons Market (Very far away, so I only go if I'm in the area. They don't have a huge selection anyway)
Note, Whole Foods Market is NOT on this list. They do not allow filling of any of your own containers, mesh or glass, with their bulk food items. Therefore, I do not shop at all at Whole Foods Market, and won't until they change their policy.


Photo of burned sugar in baked baking soda when making washing soda (left) and burned sugar in a fine sieve (right). https://trimazing.com/
Burned Sugar in Contaminated Baking Soda When Baked
These are all great, but there's a limit to how much I can get at these stores. We use a lot of baking soda and citric acid to make our dishwasher and laundry detergent and eat a ton of oatmeal. I've also started making soy milk, which takes a fair amount of soy beans. I was having to go every week to buy two jars at a time of these items, and it was not convenient or zero-waste since I had to make special trips for it. Most bulk bins didn't have quantities of those items on hand to fill my containers anyway. In addition, when I baked my baking soda to turn it into washing soda, I discovered that the soda had been cross-contaminated with white sugar and burned! So we needed to find another solution for buying large quantities of goods with zero waste principles.

A local naturopathic doctor suggested I check out Azure Standard. She mentioned that her husband had purchased bulk items from them and that it might work for me. Azure Standard is a distributor of natural, organic, and non-GMO products located in Moro, Oregon, that started in 1971. They drop ship frozen foods, dry goods, produce, and even plant starts to over 3,000 locations throughout the US, including Alaska, Hawaii, the Caribbean, and the South Pacific. There is no delivery charge for having something drop shipped, but you can request delivery by parcel post, for a fee. You can learn more on their webpage How it All Works. All that is required is a minimum $50 order. 

So I decided to try Azure Standard out. I was impressed that I could order bulk items in paper sacks and it appeared that I could get the same paper-wrapped toilet paper I was ordering by the case from a local grocery store, but for a better price. For my first order, I ordered a 25 pound of old-fashioned oats, 25 pound bag of whole organic soybeans, 50 pound bag of baking soda, a case of Natural Value toilet paper, a dozen 1-gallon glass storage jars and metal lids, a 5 pound sack of citric acid (note, I wanted to get a larger amount that came in a paper sack, but it was unavailable at that time, and I really needed citric acid), and a 5 pound sack of organic russet potatoes. There are two drop sites near me, so I tried one and will try the other one next time to see which I prefer. When you order, you get the date the shipment will be dropped to your site, so you can schedule your life around that, which is great!
Photo items in Azure Standard order, including 50 pound paper sack of Baking Soda, Box of Natural Value bathroom tissue, 25 pound paper sack of organic whole soybeans, 25 pount paper sack of organic old-fashioned oatmeal, three boxes of 1-gallon glass jars, a box with metal lids for glass jars and a 5-pound bag of citric acid. https://trimazing.com/
My Azure Standard Drop Ship Order

The drop location called and texted me when my shipment arrived. I went out and all of my stuff was in a pile together on the driveway. There were a bunch of other piles for other folks, so it is a popular service in my area! I was pleased that everything was in paper sacks or cardboard boxes. The only things in plastic were the potatoes (disappointingly in a plastic mesh bag, so I won't order those from them again) and the citric acid (which I knew beforehand as I couldn't get the large paper sack at the time of order). Interestingly enough, the sack of oatmeal and the box of toilet paper were the same exact brands and packaging that I was getting at my local grocer when I special ordered itbut for much less cost! I was super pleased!

I am a believer in Azure Standard! They aren't a zero waste company, as they do provide thousands of packaged food items, but they do have a wide array of bulk options in cardboard and paper sacks, which I really appreciate. And, they prefer to bulk drop-ship over direct mailing, which saves energy. We will be continuing our relationship with Azure Standard for sure!  

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