My top 7 online zero waste stores!

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Since embarking on my own zero-waste journey, I’ve come across lots of plastic free and zero waste online shops in the search for more ethical products. Here’s a round-up of my personal favourites – they’re all a bit different in ethos and products so keep reading to find the ones that align best with your own values and lifestyle!

 

Anything But Plastic

https://www.anythingbutplastic.co.uk

Anything But Plastic was the first shop I came across at the beginning of my zero waste journey and made me realise plastic-free alternatives were actually a thing and that maybe living a more sustainable life was possible! From cleaning balms to beauty products, Jenny does her own sustainability breakdown that focuses not only on plastic but gives a rating to each ingredient/material that makes up the product. Thanks to her checklist and religious research, customers can make fully informed choices about what they buy. She covers: What does it replace? Why is it better? Is it worth it? Material ratings.

 

Zero Waste Path Shop

https://www.zerowastepathshop.com

ZWP Shop is run by Bianca and Giulio, two sustainability graduates committed to living a more conscious life. They have quite the history of zero waste living, and Bianca has even done a Ted talk on the topic. What I love about their site is their company trash jar – they’re very transparent about what (little) trash their business makes, how they acquired the equipment/materials they need, and their supply chain. All of their products are 100% handmade, natural, vegan, plastic-free and palm-oil-free, and the Zero Waste Path blog has lots of handy tips for people wanting to live a more sustainable life.

 

The Kind Store

https://www.thekindstoreonline.co.uk

If only The Kind Store’s ethos was the norm! Kind to animals, kind to you, and kind to the planet, this business really has everything covered. They only work with 100% vegan companies who don’t test on animals, all of the products they list are made from 100% natural ingredients in small batches by independent businesses (almost all from the UK) and they source zero waste where possible (in recyclable packaging where not). Their website has an abundance of articles and zero waste FAQs, but what really appeals to me is the thoughtful gift collections not typical on many other sites and the fact that they donate 10% of profits to Tower Hill Stables Animal Sanctuary.

 

 

Acala

https://acalaonline.com

Acala offers a large range of organic, vegan beauty and wellness brands online, as well as DIY beauty products for those wanting to get creative! They aim to become entirely zero waste and believe that we shouldn’t just be trying to reduce the amount of natural resources that we consume, but also adjust our mindset to think more about the needs of the planet as well as our own. They have tested their own carbon footprint and are working to offset their business emissions by investing in a plastic neutral scheme (though they don’t use plastic themselves) and teaming up with Carbon Footprint to support their program fighting deforestation of the Amazonian rainforest and increasing biodiversity. They even donate 5% of profits to Friends of the Earth and attend various events and markets in London for anyone in the area!

 

Wearth London

https://www.wearthlondon.com

Wearth partner with UK brands offering premium eco-friendly and ethical products, with approximately 80% of the products on the site being made in the UK. All of their products are 100% vegan and cruelty-free, ranging from jewellery to furniture and homewares. The clincher however is the option to shop by values: plastic-free, made in the UK, vegan, handcrafted, natural ingredients, recyclable packaging, recycled materials, social contribution, and sustainable materials. Their Eco Inspo section also has tonnes of great articles covering lifestyle, tips and guest blogs.

 

 

 

Plastic Freedom

https://www.plasticfreedom.co.uk

Plastic Freedom is a must when it comes to plastic free essentials such as toothbrushes and reusable bottles. Beth started her ‘plastic resistance’ when she realised that the vast majority of consumers don’t actually buy plastic because it is plastic, but because in many cases it is simply the only option available. She is very active on social media and her blog where she provides endless plastic-free inspiration, and is always offering advice through her Instagram for people that are just getting started. I’d definitely recommend you follow her if you’re only just dipping your toes into the world of living plastic-free.

 

The Zero Waste Maker

https://www.the-zero-waste-maker.com

Oktavia is a Nottingham-based costume maker making recycled everyday products from scrap fabrics that would otherwise have been sent to landfill. Her beautiful handcrafted products are more often than not unique as a result, and she tries to tell the story of each fabric too where possible. She makes dish sponges, facial cleansing pads, bowl covers, produce bags etc. from the material she recovers. She also takes any scrap pieces that cannot be reused to recycling centres so that they don’t end up stuck with general waste where they cannot biodegrade.

 

 

 

Do you have any favourites that I’ve missed? Let me know in the comments below!

Chilli sin carne recipe

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chilli

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 4/5 cloves of garlic
  • 1 medium/large onion
  • 1 large red pepper
  • 6 medium white cap mushrooms
  • 1 pack frozen vegan Quorn/free from mince (approx. 450g)
  • 400g dry kidney beans, cooked/tinned, rinsed
  • 400g dry black beans, cooked/tinned, rinsed
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 400g carton passata or 3 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1.5 tbsp chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • Dash of cayenne powder
  • 1 tbsp sriracha (or any hot sauce)
  • Dried or fresh coriander and oregano  to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Generous dash Henderson’s relish (optional)

Directions:

In a large frying pan on a med/high heat, fry the onion and pepper in oil for a couple of minutes until they begin to soften – add crushed garlic, chilli powder, ground cumin, paprika, cayenne powder and herbs if using dried, and stir continuously for another 30 seconds to a minute to stop the garlic and spices from sticking.

Once the onion and pepper are well coated and fragrant, add the chopped mushrooms and mix well for about a minute before adding the mince.

Once everything is well incorporated and the mince is brown/no longer looks frozen (about one/two minutes), add the tinned tomatoes, passata/tomato purée, kidney beans and black beans if using tinned, red lentils and a dash of water/vegetable stock.

Add the sriracha, salt, pepper and Henderson’s relish before reducing the pan to a low simmer for approximately 45 minutes (if your chilli is more on the liquidy side, leave uncovered, if its thicker, half cover with a lid).

Stir every 5-10 minutes to ensure the chilli doesn’t stick and cooks evenly. You can reduce/extend the time it is left to simmer but we’d recommend a minimum of 25 minutes to let the flavours get to know each other. If using dry beans, cook separately until tender and add to the chilli just before serving. If using fresh herbs, add to the pan at the same time as the pre-cooked dry beans or simply use to garnish. Enjoy!

 

Notes:

Feel free to play around with different quantities based on your tastes! For example, you could switch out the vegan mince for more beans and sweetcorn, switch up the herbs, or use tomatoes and vegetable stock instead of chopped tomatoes and passata. Eat on its own, top with vegan cheese, put in a wrap with rice and lettuce to make a burrito, or even use to top an oven-baked sweet potato.

To keep this recipe as plastic-free as possible, buy the vegetables and beans loose, look for oil and sauces in glass bottles, replace the free from mince with something else such as other beans, use fresh tomatoes instead of tinned/passata etc., and look for spices and herbs in bulk!

How to meal prep

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Vegetables and knife

Let’s be honest; how many times have we all started the day with the purest of intentions, only for life to happen and for that cheap ready-meal or take away to look so much more appealing? Fortunately for us, even on the longest of days, we can still eat well and help save the planet with a little bit of pre-planning. Not only does it make us feel that bit better about ourselves for avoiding those unhealthy calories (and saving that hard earned cash!) but it also means we’re much more likely to avoid all of that unnecessary plastic that is synonymous with ready meals.

While meal prepping may be the holy grail of a plastic-free lunch, it doesn’t have to mean an entire day lost to the kitchen! With a bit of practice, you’ll be saving money, time, the planet AND your waistline in no time.

Here are our top tips:

  1. Get into a routine and stick with it as best you can. If you work 9-5 and want to do all of your prepping on a Sunday to take the pressure off during those busy weekdays, plan your shopping list in advance. Don’t wait until you get to your local shop/supermarket and try to plan in the moment – you *will* impulse buy and you *will* forget something.
  2. Find recipes you love and actually want to eat. Meals that are nourishing, filling, and most importantly, delicious are the ones you’re going to be wanting after that long day at the office, so make sure you have some of those lying around if you want to avoid that impulse drive-through on the way home! Meals that include lots of veggies are a great, easy way to make sure you still get those 5 a day even on days when you really don’t feel like cooking.
  3. Stick to your shopping list! If you just buy the things you need and have planned for (instead of all those appealing-looking junk foods), you’ll save money and you won’t even need your willpower not to eat them. When faced with the dilemma of having to actually leave the house to go and buy that packet of crisps you’re fancying, you’re much more likely to just eat the healthier snacks you’d planned instead!
  4. Keep things simple. The logistics of meal prepping can be daunting at first, so don’t head into your kitchen thinking you need to be a Michelin star chef for the next few hours! You can always experiment with more fancy recipes later when you know what works for you.
  5. You don’t have to prepare everything in advance. Some things like pasta don’t taste quite so good reheated, but only take minutes to cook. Instead, freeze your favourite pasta sauce and cook the pasta fresh – it still saves time, and means you don’t have to compromise on the flavour/texture of the dish.
  6. Mix it up! Don’t get stuck eating the same meals five days in a row. Batch cook a few recipes and freeze the leftovers in individual portions – this way you’re not limiting yourself to one meal every night for the next week (which gets boring real quick, trust me) and can still eat the foods you’re craving.
  7. Aim for versatility – in your meals *and* ingredients. Chilli can be eaten alone, on sweet potato, or in a burrito for example – an easy way to keep things interesting! Similarly try to go for recipes that use similar ingredients. That Singapore noodle soup recipe you saw may look nice, but noodles tend to go mushy when reheated and the numerous obscure ingredients you’ll probably never use again will just take up extra space in your cupboard.
  8. Get into smoothies. These are a healthy, easy, and quick breakfast if prepared in advance, and set you on the right track for the day. If you’re anything like me in the morning, the prospect of chopping various fruits, washing greens and getting the blender out just feels like far too much effort – even thinking about all that healthiness when I’m still half asleep is just too much. However, if you get the blender out the night before, chop those bananas and pack the right quantities into individual pots the night before, you can whip up a smoothie in no time.
  9. Use all of the space in your oven. Not only does this cut down on bills and cooking time, it’s also better for the environment! Veggies on one shelf, potatoes on the other, you get the idea. Just don’t forget to set a few timers…
  10. Invest in some decent tupperware. Ikea do some great glass ones with bamboo lids – the bases are oven, microwave and freezer proof, and they’re very reasonably priced compared to many other glass alternatives. If you think these aren’t for you, BPA-free is the way to go – we agree reusable plastic is better than single use, but you still don’t want any nasties seeping into your food!

We know it takes time to get into the swing of things at first (and it will probably feel like you’re spending longer on planning your meals than it would probably have done to just cook them in the first place) but you’ll find it quickly becomes second nature. And, if you’re pretty lazy like me, just write up your week’s ‘menu’ and shopping list and keep it in a binder in the kitchen for future use – you’ll have your own personalised recipe book in no time.

For a great place to start, check out our last blog post for Jess’ chilli recipe!

What you need to know about zero waste shaving

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Safety razor

Hardcore hippies? Yeah us neither…

So. This week we’re going to have that conversation about zero waste shaving. Old-school barbershop style razors are really coming back into fashion of late, and not only are traditional safety razors (you know the type your dad or gramps might have once used) better at giving that close shave to get those oh-so-smooth-and-silky legs, they’re beautiful too. Yes, they’re no longer just for men – ladies, many even come in gorgeous girly colours and styles too if that’s your thing. But why bother when you’re maybe already using one with replaceable heads, or when the plastic ones are dirt cheap? Well, here’s why we think you should get your very own safety razor:

  • They give a closer shave that lasts longer
  • Less irritation and razor burn caused by blunt blades and snagged hairs – winning!
  • It’s a ‘buy me once’ thing, look after it and it will last you years
  • Despite the initial cost of the razor, it works out way cheaper in the long-run than throwaway alternatives
  • They’re more stylish than throwaway razors – why would you ever buy another cheap plastic one when you can buy something beautiful AND sustainable to take pride of place on that bathroom shelf?
  • It’s more hygienic – you can easily take them apart to clean every little nook and cranny, so no more annoying trapped hairs or dead skin

We know, you’re probably still a bit sceptical (we were too), but stay with us. In the UK, we throw away millions of plastic razors each year, and in the US that figure is closer to 2 billion! Even one person can make a big difference, to the planet AND to your bank account. For a great visual breakdown of how the safety razor holds up cost-wise to a typical cartridge razor and for a more in-depth look at the pros and cons of safety razors, just follow the link below:

https://www.toolsofmen.com/shaving-with-a-safety-razor/

So, even though your actual razor might initially set you back anywhere between £10-100 (depending on what style and brand you go for, you can get a good one new for around £25 on Amazon prime), you make back your investment pretty quick. Blades are super cheap – for less than £10, you can easily get 100 blades (we recommend Astra for good quality blades that come in a cardboard box individually wrapped in mini paper sleeves), working out at less than 10p per blade! Depending on how often you shave they tend to last around a month each, or you can just replace them whenever you think your current blade is no longer up to the job.

Tip: If you want your blades to last longer, take your razor apart after each use and carefully wipe dry and to stop the blade going dull so quickly.

Our dos and don’ts

Do keep the blade on an angle of around 30° to minimise any accidents. Remember safety razors are generally not flexible like their more modern plastic cousins so bear this in mind when you switch. Take your time and you’ll be whipping that thing around like a pro in no time (ladies, we’d recommend getting one with a longer handle to help you get to the more difficult-to-reach areas).

Do work up a good lather to help that blade glide. You can buy the fancier soaps or, like us, just use your regular body wash instead!

Don’t apply any downward pressure on the blade at all, at least until you’re more confident and know how much you can get away with. No really, don’t do this. Not only are you less likely to cut yourself this way but it also means skin that is much happier and less irritated. Let the weight of the razor do all the work for you.

Don’t just throw used blades loose in the recycling bin. Collect them in a safe container and when it’s full, drop it off at a local scrap metal collection site where they can be safely disposed of without any poor unsuspecting recycling plant workers losing any fingers!

If you have any other useful tips for us, please share in the comments below – we’d love to hear what you think and if you’ve had any ‘hairy’ experiences!

P.S. Double points if you can buy locally or find an antique one in a second-hand shop