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!

World clean-up day, 15th September

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bottle

Saturday 15th September is World Clean-up day, a day where we’re all encouraged to clean up our little patch of the planet.

To mark  this day, our #pfp10for10 will become #pfp20for20 for the day. You’ll get double the discount of your next order in exchange for picking up twice as much litter. Pick your 20 pieces of litter on 15th September, share it on social media with #pfp20for20 and mention our social media profile and we’ll send you a 20% off code.

We’re on Facebook and Instagram as @plasticfreepantryuk and Twitter as @plastfreepantry

You can do it on your street, in a local park, your favourite beach…anywhere.

There’s nothing quite like picking up litter to open up your eyes to just how much litter there is in the world, but also to give you a sense of accomplishment as you can see the difference immediately from just a little bit of litter-picking.

 

A quick & easy guide to making your own bread

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Man holding bread

Making your own bread is really easy and can cut lots of plastic wrappers out of your life if you normally buy it from a supermarket.

When you’re used to popping to the shop to buy bread, making your own can seem like a far too time consuming task, but when you consider the time it actually takes to get ready, go to the shop, get what you need and get back again, you could probably have made a loaf and saved the stress of shopping!

Here’s what you need for a basic loaf (based on the BBC Good Food basic loaf recipe with some minor adjustments) :

  • 500g strong white flour
  • 1 teaspoon active dried yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 300ml warm water
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

Method

  • Mix together the dry ingredients then add in the wet ingredients. Mix until they’re combined and the dough is roughly together.
  • Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead gently for around 10 minutes
  • Transfer back to the bowl and cover with a clean cloth. Leave to rise for 1 hour or to have fresh bread in the morning, place in the fridge over night
  • Give the dough a quick, gentle knead to reduce the air and then shape in to a rough ball
  • Cover a baking tray with flour then place the dough on the tray. Leave for an hour to double in size again
  • Pre-heat the oven to 200°/gas mark 7
  • Lightly dust the dough with flour and score an x in to the top with a sharp knife
  • Cook for 25-30 minutes until it sounds hollow when you tap it on the bottom
  • Leave to cool before eating

The BBC recipe recommends using baking paper to line the tray but we always use flour when making our own bread which prevents the dough from sticking to the tray while reducing the waste.

You could also break up the dough and make smaller rolls. You’ll need to reduce the cooking time. Start at 15 minutes and place back in the oven for extra time if required.

If you don’t have anywhere warm to let your dough rise, you can try the microwave method – untried by us but recommended to us. Let us know if it works!

Microwave proofing method

Heat a cup of water in the microwave for 2 minutes. Place the dough in to the microwave with the water, close the door, and leave it to rise. It should double in size but if not in around half an hour but if not, take the dough out and reheat the water then place the dough back in. Don’t heat the dough up directly in the microwave!

Taken from The Kitchn

Let us know if you try this and what your favourite bread making recipe is

How to make popcorn

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Popcorn

I have a confession to make – I love crisps. Crisps are such a serious addiction for me and I crave them a lot. Not even fancy flavours, just your basic ready salted crisps. But crisps come in that foil-plastic material which can’t be recycled and so I’ve been trying to curb my habit, and that’s where popcorn comes in.

Popcorn is such a quick, easy, and healthy snack to make and for me it satisfies my need for something crunchy and salty. OK so the salt makes it less healthy, but the great thing about making your own popcorn is you can flavour it any way you like, and you can also control the salt content if you like salty snacks like me.

There are two methods for making popcorn that we’re going to share here: microwave or in a pan.

Microwave

  1. Place a small amount of kernels in a microwave safe glass bowl – just enough to cover the bottom of the bowl in a single layer. Don’t add too many as they expand a lot and you’ll get un-popped kernels and/or an overflow situation which you don’t want.
  2. Cover the bowl loosely with a ceramic plate which is also microwave safe. If you can, leave a little gap for the steam to escape
  3. Heat the popcorn on full power for 4 minutes. It will take slightly longer than this but this is a good starting point.
  4. Once it ends, keep adding time on a little at a time while listening to the popping.
  5. Once the popping has slowed to less than 1 pop every 5 seconds turn off the heat.
  6. Leave the popcorn to rest for at least 2 minutes – it will be really hot. When you remove the plate, use an oven glove and watch out for steam
  7. Transfer to a bowl and flavour however you like. A light sprinkling of sea salt is my favourite

In a pan

  1. Use a good heavy-bottomed pan which has a lid (ideally a clear glass lid so you can see what’s going on, otherwise you can depend on listening to the pops).
  2. Put the pan on a medium-high heat and preheat slightly
  3. Add popcorn kernels to the bottom of the pan in a single layer. Like with the microwave method, don’t add too many. A little goes a long way with popcorn. You don’t need to add oil if your pan is non-stick or a well seasoned cast iron skillet, otherwise add just a little oil, not too much so you don’t get greasy popcorn.
  4. Put the lid on the pan. Don’t leave it unattended, you don’t want burnt popcorn and once they start popping things happen quickly.
  5. After a couple of minutes you’ll hear the kernels pop. Leave the popcorn on the heat until popping has reduced to less than 1 pop every 5 seconds.
  6. Take the lid off and leave to cool for a couple of minutes before transferring to your bowl of choice and adding seasoning of your choice.

What is your favourite way to flavour popcorn? Let us know in the comments

You can buy your popcorn from our shop here

The ultimate guide to plastic free and zero waste shops in the UK

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We’re part of a growing network of shops offering plastic free food options. If you’re looking for somewhere you can pop into to fill up your jars near you, here’s all of the physical retail locations that we know of offering plastic-free food options. If we’ve missed somewhere, let us know on shop@plasticfreepantry.co.uk

England

London

Hetu, St John’s Hill

Unpackaged, various locations

Unpackaged have a concession inside some Planet Organic stores and other locations

Shop Without Packaging SWOP market, Lee Green

The Naked Larder, Herne Hill

Collection service

Harmless, Wood Green

The Source, Chiswick

Coming soon

Bring Your Own, Tooting

 

North East

The Paddock, Rowlands Gill

The Paddock offer an organic fruit and veg box scheme, focus on zero waste, with unpackaged fruit and veg and recycled pulp egg boxes. They take all packaging back from customers to reuse and also offer delivery on organic milk in glass bottles with a bottle deposit scheme and have a range of refillable eco friendly household cleaning products which are all plant based

 

North West

A Small Good Thing, Bolton

A small, community greengrocer in Smithills, Bolton. Local, seasonal produce; zero waste.

Cut the Wrap, Ulverston

Cut the wrap is a new twist on an old idea- buy by weight, using your own container. Refill not landfill!

Goodness and Grain, Cockermouth

Currently operating as a market stall in and around Cockermouth

The Severn Way, Thornbury

Waste Not Want Not, Birkenhead

Currently open Saturdays only at Birkenhead Market

Wheelie Green Market, Southport & Ormskirk

Wheelie Green Larder is a zero-waste shop on wheels. It is a place to buy or have delivered your everyday essentials without the unnecessary packaging.

Coming soon:

Flourish Foods, Manchester

Zero waste food store in Manchester City Centre! Bring your own containers and Fill, Eat, Rinse, Repeat

Fulfilled, Ramsbottom

Ramsbottom plastic free food & household shop opening soon.

Utopia, Warrington

 

Yorkshire & The Humber

Our Zero Waste Shop, Sheffield

Sheffield Students’ Union’s new outlet dedicated to plastic free wholefoods and environmentally friendly household goods. Open to all.

Unwrapped, Sheffield

Unwrapped is a zero waste grocery shop based in Crookes, Sheffield.
Newly opened in May, we sell a wide range of wholefoods, liquid refills and eco products.

Jarfull, Harrogate

Pop-up shop and home delivery service with online ordering in Harrogate

Alligator, York

The Little Vegan Market, Middlesbrough

The Weigh It Was, Stockton-on-Tees

Coming soon:

Ecotopia, Leeds

Ecotopia are currently crowdfunding to open up a zero waste store in central Leeds. Visit their crowdfunding page to support them

The Jar Tree, Leeds

We’re working hard to bring a zero packaging, plastic free, more mindful way of shopping to Leeds in 2018.

Zero Yorkshire, Huddersfield

Zero Yorkshire is currently running pop-up shops and crowdfunding for a permanent space in Huddersfield.

Saker Wholefoods, Todmorden

 

East Midlands

Plastic Free Pantry (yes, us!) Nottingham

You can pick up any order from our central Nottingham location and soon we’ll have regular open hours

A Simpler Life, Rutland

Mobile and online shop covering Rutland

Nada, Leicester

A zero waste store in Leicester. Offering plastic free/bulk shopping alternatives on daily items!

Dash Vegan, Nottingham

Specialises in gluten-free vegan items with a weigh your own section

Coming soon:

Refill Revolution, Market Harborough

Bringing the Refill Revolution to Market Harborough! Promoting simple changes to reduce waste.

Scoop, Leicester

Coming soon! Leicester’s new package-free shop. Zero-waste groceries and lifestyle products for the conscious shopper.

 

West Midlands

Pack Your Own, Kings Heath

Bicycle delivery service with online pre-orders of plastic free food and household goods

Nature’s Intention, Bromsgrove

We will be opening this summer in Bromsgrove area, stocking everything from Bran Flakes to Bamboo Toothbrushes. They appear to be now open but have’t updated their Facebook description yet

The Clean Kilo, Birmingham

Zero Waste Supermarket based in Digbeth, Birmingham

Indigo Wholefoods, Moseley

Unpackaged fruit & Veg and detergent refills

The Waste Not Shop, Ledbury

Pop-up shop operating in Ledbury, Herefordshire

Coventry Market, Coventry

Coming soon:

Pack It In, Worcester

Opening soon in central Worcester: A Zero Waste shop selling a wide range of food items, toiletries, detergent range and lifestyle items.

 

East of England

Arjuna Wholefoods, Cambridge

Workers’ co-operative with refills of herbs & spices, unpackaged bread, and loose organic vegetables

Backyard Food, Peterborough

The Green Parrot, Swaffham

Cupboard Love, Woodbridge

 

South East

SESI, Oxford

Social Enterprise. 12yrs campaign reducing plastic pollution and food waste. Find them at East Oxford Farmers Market every Saturday

Faringdon Unwrapped, Faringdon

Scoop Zero Waste, Oxfordshire

Pop-up zero waste events in the Oxfordshire area

Charlotte’s Cupboard, Sussex

The UK’s first zero waste shop on wheels, Charlotte’s Cupboard offer a delivery service from their electric van and also have regular stop off locations you can find them to refill your jars.

Bamboo Turtle, Letchworth Garden City

The Refill Pantry, St Albans

Lesser Litter, Taunton

Wild Thyme, Southsea

Rice Up, Southampton

Eco-Freaks Emporium, Gosport

Fetch’em from the Cupboard, Leatherhead

My Refill Market, Milton Keynes

A zero waste stall where you can shop without packaging and bring your own containers at local markets

Nowhere, Chertsey

Keep, Godalming

A zero-waste personal care and household products market stall that does pop-ups up at various local markets and events.

 

South West

Earth.Food.Love, Totnes

Earth.Food.Love is an organic, wholefoods, zero-waste shop based in Totnes, South Devon.

Good Fayre, Salisbury

Goodfayre, an ethical shop in Salisbury, created by Dana Burton as part of her mission to help, not harm our planet, people or animals.

Loose, Stroud

Loose bringing you unpackaged foods and other household and personal care items in a largely plastic free environment. Bring your own packaging.

Preserve, Bristol

We are a zero waste shop where there is no plastic packaging. You can bring your own containers and buy as little or as much as you like.

Zero Green, Bristol

Packaging free shop in Bristol

Southville Deli, Bristol

Scoopaway Health Foods, Bristol

Better Food Co, Bristol

Waste Not Want Not, Bridport

Dorset’s first zero waste shop selling organic, unpackaged, plant based wholefoods

Harvest, Bath

Offers a range of loose nuts, seeds, dried fruit and detergent refills

Scoop & Spice, North Somerset

Refills of wholefoods, spices, and detergents

Cariad Wholefoods, Dorset

Unpackaged wholefoods, loose veg, plastic free toiletries sold by a committed zero waster

Spill the Beans, Wimbourne

Un_rap, Falmouth

The Refill Store, Truro

Gillian’s Larder, Helston

Nature’s Nutrition, Bideford

Nourish of Topsham, Exeter

The Real Food Store and Cafe, Exeter

Almond & Co, Bournemouth

Coming soon:

The Severn Weigh, Thornbury

 

Isle of Wight

Easiweigh, Newport

 

Scotland

Lil, East Lothian & East Edinburgh

Lil is a pop-up store covering East Lothian & East Edinburgh. Check their website to find out when and where you can next find them

New Leaf Co-op, Edinburgh

Scoop your own tasty wholefoods in Edinburgh, at our friendly worker-run cooperative

Locavore, Glasgow

Social enterprise aiming to connect people with local food. Offers loose foods at their store.

Green Place, Glasgow

Zero Waste Market, Glasgow

Zero Waste Market is currently operating as a market stall in Glasgow with plans to launch an online shop and physical shop in the near future.

Foodstory, Aberdeen

Cafe with a food dispenser section where you can get food refills

The Green Grocer, Inveurie

Offers refills on herbs, spices and oils

Wildcat, Fort William

Opening soon

Sea No Waste, Angus

Society Zero, Glasgow.

Due to launch in August 2018, initially as a stall.

 

Wales

Happy Planet Green Store, Narberth

Plastic free refill store in Narberth, Pembrokeshire

Natural Weigh, Crickhowell

Natural Weigh is a zero Waste shop, offering organic, additive free dried foods free from plastic packaging, as nature intended.

The Little Pantry, Tenby

Cherished Earth Wholefoods, Chepstow

Pwys, Swansea

Sustainibbles Ltd, Bridgend

Coming soon:

Ripple, Cardiff

Not-for-profit refill store coming soon to Cardiff.

6 ways to eat quinoa

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Quinoa

We love quinoa. It’s such a nutritious little grain, and thanks to our supplier Hodmedod, eating it supports British farmers rather than taking an essential food source away from communities in Peru. We often use it as a substitute for rice, or in salads but there are lots of ways to eat quinoa, even for breakfast!

We got lost in a quinoa rabbit hole on Pinterest, here are some of the best recipe ideas we dug out. All are vegan or can be made vegan with an easy substitution.

Crunchy quinoa wrap

Perfect for packing up in your lunch box and loaded with nutrients, this would make a deliciously healthy but filling lunch. We’d use our own cooked chickpeas instead of tinned and if you’re super prepared you can even make your tortilla wraps with flour, salt, and water.

Mexican quinoa wrap

Satisfy your burrito yearnings with this nutritious loaded wrap featuring quinoa, black beans and veggies.

One pot Mexican quinoa

One pot cooking is great for simplicity and saves on washing up too. This hearty Mexican stew features many of the same ingredients as the wrap above which is a great way to save time – cook your beans and quinoa once then use in two different meals for variation

Garlic mushroom quinoa

This looks like a really hearty and satisfying dish, yet is actually low in calories and full of goodness. Sub the parmesan for nutritional yeast blended with cashew pieces.

White bean quinoa chilli

Quinoa, cannellini beans, and chickpeas come together in this dish to create a fibre and protein packed meal.

Microwave breakfast quinoa

If you’re bored of porridge you can use quinoa instead of oats for a protein and fibre packed start to the day. This recipe is for cinnamon and banana flavour but you can add whatever flavours you would normally to porridge. Sub dairy milk for your favourite non-dairy milk

Do you have a favourite quinoa recipe? Let us know

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 

Easy vegan chocolate cake – recipe

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chocolate cake

This a really easy and vegan-friendly chocolate cake which you can cook in your microwave for a speedy chocolate fix, or in your oven if you’re more patient than I am…

Note: this recipe uses cups which is 240ml

Dry ingredients:

3/4 cup self-raising flour
1/2 cup golden granulated sugar
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of sea salt

Wet ingredients:

1/3 cup sunflower oil
1/2 cup warm water

Mix all of your dry ingredients together in a bowl then add the wet ingredients and mix well.

Pour in to a glass bowl and cover with a plate, leaving a little room for steam to escape. Microwave for 4 minutes, allow to stand for 1 minute. Serve with homemade cashew cream, custard, ice cream, or just eat it warm straight from the bowl!