How to do a plastic free food shop

Did you know almost a third of plastic packaging used by supermarkets in the UK is either non-recyclable through standard collection schemes or difficult to recycle? Then there’s the packaging that can be recycled yet people choose to throw it in the bin instead.

Some supermarkets are taking steps in the right direction. A few months ago, Morrisons announced that all their fruit and vegetable bags will be compostable by spring 2019 and all single-use carrier bags will be removed from the shops by March 2019. And Iceland made the announcement that its bananas will be sold in a recycled paper wrapping instead of plastic by the end of the year.

While these are all steps in the right direction, we can’t just sit around waiting for the supermarkets to change everything for us. There’s lots of ways that we can take control of how much plastic we consume when we shop right now.

  • Take your own produce bags
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Zero waste laundry

If I’m honest, I probably didn’t think much about what I was washing my clothes in until a couple of months ago. Aside from looking for a vegan product, I would generally just pick up whatever
washing detergent was on offer. However this zero waste journey has not only made me think about my plastic use, but it’s also made me aware of all the chemicals around me.

A few months ago while browsing in my local health food store, I noticed this bag of Soapnuts or soapberries. I’d heard about them online, but this was the first time I’d found them, so I bought a bag and my washing has never been the same since.

Soapberries are actually a fruit which produces a natural soap meaning you can wash your clothes free of any chemicals, parabens or additives. They’re vegan can be recycled in the compost too!

The ones I have are from Green Frog Botanic and they couldn’t be easier to use. You just put a few shells into a small cotton pouch that comes with them, and you just throw it into the wash. The soapberries shells can be reused for multiple washes so they’re much better value for money too. I also add a few drops of lemongrass essential oil to my wash so my clothes come out smelling good.

I was definitely a little sceptical at first, but my clothes feel great and I know that I’ll never go back to using chemical filled laundry detergent ever again.

So that’s my new way of washing my clothes, and I love it!

I’d really like to know in the comments below what steps you take for zero waste washing.

Zero Waste Shopping

I’ve been using reusable shopper bags like this one for years, long before I had even knew what zero waste meant.

In Scotland, there’s been a 5p charge on single-use plastic carrier bags since 2014, but even before then I carried around one of these shoppers. I’ve had a fair few over the years but this green one is my current favourite. I picked it up from Chiaralascura at a vegan festival last year. It’s really thick material and has a clasp on it to keep it closed. I would estimate that I probably carry this bag around pretty much every single day without fail. It’s always in the bottom of whatever bag I’m using just in case I need to pick up some shopping.

If you’re trying to cut down on plastic or take some steps to becoming zero waste then this is probably one of the easiest things you can do. Plus, if you like in the UK then it’s going to save you money in the long run if you keep having to purchase single use carrier bags.

Zero Waste Periods

Let’s face it, no one likes getting their period. I am currently sitting on my sofa with a hot water bottle on my stomach because of cramps and I’m not exactly thrilled by it.

However, we (women) all get periods so we need to think about what products we want to use. I’m lucky because I get light periods due to the birth control I use (it’s a UID if anyone is interested).

I read something a few weeks ago about how the average sanitary pad contains the equivalent of four plastic bags. We’ve become a nation who are trying to cut down on our plastic bag use, yet women are using lots of plastic each month without even thinking about it. Then there’s tampons which come with plastic applicators, the name alone tells you they aren’t good for the environment.

So what options do we have?

I know quite a few people who swear by the menstrual cup. I have tried one, but it just wasn’t for me. I’m sure it probably takes a while to get used to. I just didn’t have the patience and found it all a bit awkward.

So I decided that I would try reusable menstrual pads which I bought from this great shop on Etsy here. They’re really comfortable, soft, and they look so much more fun than regular disposable pads. Plus, while each pad costs a few pounds to buy you’ll be saving money in the long run and really cutting down your plastic use.

So how do you wash them?

I just soak them in some cold water and then throw them in the washing machine with my regular washing. Once the wash is done, I just hang them up to try and they’re good to go again.

If you haven’t thought about how much plastic you use each month for your period, then I recommend that you do. There’s a few different options on the market which will not only save you money but will also dramatically cut down the amount of plastic you. I’d also love to know what products and companies you’re using in the comments.

Making my own almond milk

Guess who made her own almond milk at the weekend?

I had wanted to make it for a while, but I kept putting it off. I thought it would be really difficult, but in actual fact it’s really simple. So here’s my step by step guide to making your own almond milk.

1. Soak 2 cups of almonds overnight or for at least 8 hours. Place the almonds in a bowl and cover with an inch of water. The longer you soak the almonds, the creamier the almond milk will be.

2. Drain and rinse the almonds. Use cold water to rinse the almonds which should be quite soft if you pinch them.

3. Blend almonds and water. Put the almonds in the blender with 4 cups of water and blend until the almonds are broken down.

4. Strain the almonds. Pour the mixture into a nut milk bag (I use this one from Lovetree products) and squeeze or twist the bag until the liquid comes through the bag and you’re just left with the almond meal.

5. Refrigerate the almond milk. Store the milk in a air tight container. It usually last between 2-3 days.

If you like your almond milk sweeter then you can pick a sweetener of your choice, but I usually only use my almond milk in porridge so I don’t need it to be very sweet because whatever porridge toppings I use will do that for me.

There’s also lots you can do with the almond meal whether it be adding it to energy balls, nut bars or smoothies. I just put mine in the fridge for now until I decide what to do with it, but I’ll write another post about it when I make my mind up.

Most plant based milks come in either plastic bottles or cartons with plastic tops, so making your own is a great way to cut down on your waste while also cutting out any additives that can sometimes be added to it.

Have you ever made your own non-dairy milk before? I’d love to hear your recipes.

DIY Himalayan Face Scrub

There are so many recipes for making your own face scrubs, but this one is my favourite at the moment because it’s so simple.

I’ve used lots of face scrubs over the years and more recently I had been using the St. Ives apricot one, but in reality it’s not the best for your skin. It’s one of those products that uses the word ‘natural’ but is full of unnatural ingredients. It’s also quite harsh on your skin, so I’m not sure how much good it was doing.

So I decided it was time to experiment with making my own face scrub. I looked at lots of different salt and sugar scrub recipes, but this recipe (if you can even call it a recipe) caught my eye because it’s so simple. The only two ingredients you need are Himalayan pink salt and coconut oil.

The Himalayan pink salt is great for your skin because it’s draws all the toxins out and coconut oil balances it by acting as moisturiser. You just need to be be careful not to scrub too hard.

If you want to make your own Himalayan face scrub then you just need to mix a few spoonfuls of coconut oil with some salt until you have the consistency that best works for you. If you have sensitive skin then you may want to use a bit less salt, but other than that it’s pretty straight forward.

Do you have any recipes for your own DIY face scrubs? Let me know in the comments below.