Monday, 9 May 2016

What we have improved so far (1) ~ Zero waste Lifestyle


I was going to title this post 'What we have changed so far'. But, to me when I hear people say they change things or Need to change things. I think of negative things. It can be hard to change and break habits. I don't want this lifestyle to be a negative thing. Living this lifestyle should be and is a Positive thing. I don't want it to look difficult. Especially because the things we are now making and purchasing are improving our health, lives and the planet. And saving us money.

No more, Or a LOT less waste and chemicals in our home/lifestyle is an improvement to me.

So far we have:

Been cooking a lot of meals from scratch.

Cottage pie



Yorkshire puddings



Can you tell which ones are the Gluten Free and Vegan ones! lol :/ They still taste good :)

Gluten Free Bread

Cakes (Blog post)

Biscuits (Blog post)

Sauces

Pizza (Vegan)



Coleslaw

Peanut Butter (Blog post)

Sweets (Honeycomb)

Chips (Fries)

Soups (Blog post)

Coconut Milk

Smoothies/Fruit Juice


Our Sundays, we like to call them 'Meal prep Days' :)

All of the above meals are Gluten Free, Vegetarian and or Vegan. And From March this year, my meals mainly will be Vegan (No egg).

Making these we have a lot less (and in most cases no) oil, sugar, salt, preservatives and other nasty chemicals in our foods. And less or NO packaging. They all work out ALOT Cheaper! and the most important thing taste GREAT!

We purchase what we can in glass, card packaging and/or loose. We still have a few products that are still in plastic packaging, like pasta, lentils and rice. But we purchase a Big, bulk bag. We sadly don't have any Bulk (unpackaged) stores near where we live :(. 

There are still some products that are in Plastic, but we choose a better alternative. eg. Coconut Milk, instead of purchasing a carton (Tetra) normally once or twice a month, and I will admit sometimes I have to throw away some of the milk. I have purchased a bag of Desiccated Coconut and I will make my own Milk whenever I need it. It really doesn't take long to make your own. Plus I'm not getting any added rubbish. If you actually look at the ingredients on Coconut Milk there is only 5 or 8% Coconut in it!!! My Milk is only Coconut and Water. Plus I use the left over coconut by adding it to my smoothies. :).

We are still trying to find alternatives, looking for brands with less packaging or use paper/card. And we are looking into making our own pasta. But, Gluten Free and Vegan Pasta seems quite difficult to make. If anyone knows a good (hopefully easy) recipe please leave a link in the comments below :) Thank you.

Another food item we use a lot is Quorn. Sadly most of their products are packaged in PLASTIC!!. I have contacted Quorn about their packaging...And they replied back with ~ " Research into new and sustainable packaging technology is ongoing. Their 'plastic' bags can be recycled and a new recycle logo is going to be put on there products throughout  this year. "

(I don't think I can share their full reply, because it had Confidential stuff in the small print on the email, I don't want to get into trouble :/. )

Not really the answer I was hoping for. To me there is no excuse why they can't package their products in (recyclable) cardboard like other brands (okay not all products. Mince would be difficult to put in cardboard.) Personally, I feel like they fobbed me off with their reply. They just kept making excuses that their packaging can be recycled (which we all know, they can to a point!! Plastic can only be down cycled :( !!) For a company that is a part of the Carbon Trust They should know, what actually happens.
  
So I suppose its down to me. I will be Voting with my money and will be cutting back on and eventually out.. Quorn products. I can't cut it out just yet. I'm finding it quite difficult to find an alternative that is suitable for Coeliacs and most vegan ranges are not suitable for Coeliacs :(.  I'm hoping I will find an alternative soon. I'm staying positive (unlike the last few times my 'diet' had to change see blog post here)

We are also shopping more at our local Fruit and Veg markets and or Farm Shops. Its quite difficult to purchase products with less or zero packaging in a supermarket. But, I have found a website that lists products with less/zero waste that you can find in supermarkets (Link here Blog Post).

Made my own Toothpaste



Recipe:

1 teaspoon of Bicarbonate of Soda
1 teaspoon of Coconut oil
and for flavour a few drops of Peppermint oil (changing to spearmint)

It took me a few days to get used to the taste and texture. But, within a few days I noticed my teeth were whiter and less sensitive.

There are so many recipes out there, this one seemed to pop up a lot. At the moment I'm sticking with this one until I get a spearmint oil. Peppermint oil is not agreeing with my gums. But, I will be experimenting :).

I'm reusing my old LUSH lip scrub jar, to store my toothpaste in. Its just big enough for 2 weeks worth of toothpaste. ATM I'm only making small batches, I'm unsure how long it will last. Plus it doesn't take long to make a batch. 

Loose Leaf Tea



Did you know there is plastic in tea bags!?! We didn't!! But it made so much sense. Whenever we checked our compost bin and Wormeries , the teabag bags were always still there and hadn't biodegraded :(.

Worms like tea but not the bags they come in :(

I need to look for loose leaf Decaf and some Green Teas. Do you know any good ones? please leave a comment below :).

There are no more Plastic (disposable) water bottles in our home

We both use Stainless steel, BPA Free Water bottles. I still also use my Vie Active Water bottle (it is BPA free).

We purchased Two stainless steel bottles from Amazon. There are quite a few other brands to choose from on there. We both chose a 1100ml with a Bamboo lid from Glogg.




I don't understand why we purchased plastic water bottles before, esp. disposable ones, when we are luckily enough to have perfectly good drinking water from our Tap!.



All Purpose Cleaner



Recipe:

White Vinegar (please note: This is Not Gluten Free. I will need to wear gloves when I clean.. Lets hope the gloves last me ALONG time.)
Orange Peel
Rosemary (we used rosemary from the garden :) )

To stop the strong smell of vinegar. I infused these ingredients for about 2 weeks.
Then Add some to a spray bottle with Water and you are ready to go.

At the moment I'm reusing old spray bottles for this. Until they break and I can find a glass or stainless steal spray bottle.

Note: This is still in the testing phase. Because I'm gluten intolerant, I'm unsure if I will get a reaction from this. Will let you know in future posts :). 

Less Bins

We had 3 bins in our home, for 2 of us!. One medium sized bin in the kitchen. and 2 small bins. Now we only use 1. The middle one :)



Just over a month into this lifestyle, we got rid of the kitchen bin. The big one. Okay, we still have it, its in the spare room. But, its not being used. Its there for now :).

We still have 1 Food Waste Caddy, from our local council. 1 Wormery Caddy and a little compost caddy. Our Wormeries and Compost bins are at our parents houses. We empty the caddies when needed.

We used to take at least once a week, 1 FULL Recycling Bag and 2-3 times a month we would take a full bag of Trash to our communal bins. They are small bags of trash, but it still adds up. We are only a household of two! Back then I was quite proud of only taking our rubbish 2-3 times a month and Our recycling bag was always Full. I thought I was doing a good thing. Now I know
Recycling is always the last option.

I'm feeling quite proud of us because 3 months in to this lifestyle, we've managed in just under 4 weeks fill up our recycling bag. I wanted to try and make it to the end of March, but the bag was starting to split :(. And 31 days to fill up a (carrier bag size) bag for the Trash, that was full mainly due to the left over grout I used to make my mirror with (Link Here).

Aprils Trash, we are not even half full :) Recycling bag filled up in 4 weeks :)

I can't believe we have already managed to reduce our Recycling and Trash by 75% and we are still going through products! So I'm hoping this will only improve and our aim is to fit all our trash into a small mason jar.

NOTE:

Things that will be put in the Trash and will definitely Not be put in the Jar:

(None of this can be recycled or put in the compost.)

Dust from the Vacuum Cleaner: Because we have synthetic carpet (came with our home) and we can't guarantee what is in the dust, we can't compost it :(.

Dental Floss: I have quite a lot to go through still. I'm looking into a Waterpik. I know they are made out of plastic. But, it is a better alternative to Floss and the Waterpik should last a long time.

Sanitary products: There are lots of other options out there. I'm doing my research. Choose what is right for you.

Birth Control:  (FYI from Trash Is For Tossers website: but aren't condoms trash? Yes. They are. But I have talked about this before. While condoms produce garbage, they are a much better option that having unprotected sex and risking getting an STD or having an unplanned pregnancy which will result in bigger issues than just trash. )

Again..Always choose what's right for you :)


Also, Just a little disclaimer. You don't need to put your rubbish in a jar with this lifestyle!. Its just one way of seeing and making it clear what rubbish you have and what you can/need to improve on.



So far this is it. I/We still have quite a few products to go through. So while we are going through them. I'm looking for less/zero waste alternatives and/or recipes to make our own products. If we can't make our own, we will be purchasing what we believe to be the best alternative. Cruelty free, vegan, ethical and if they only come in plastic, make sure the container can be reused or recycled.  

To some this might seem a lot of hard work and time consuming. Yes, I will agree, at the start it is. But the benefits are so rewarding. I'm really enjoying it. You (well, I do :) ) feel really proud of one self when you look at something and you can say I/we made that. And I'm learning SOOOO much. My food choices are actually expanding! and tasting so much better. We are spending more time together and we are only 4 months in and already noticing the money we have saved. I/we know that once we have figured out what we are doing, it will get easier and less time consuming. Taking the rubbish out is one less thing to do each and every week. No more smelly bins.

Do you aim for a zero waste lifestyle? Do you recommend any recipes for homemade beauty and cleaning products? Please leave a comment below :)

Till next time

Eat Clean ~ Train Mean ~ Live Green

Donna x

Like this post? You might like to read: My Journey towards a Zero-waste lifestyle and Take3For365

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