Zero Waste Chocolate Almond Milk

Zero Waste Chocolate Almond Milk

Our Almond Milk blog is our most popular blog of all time. I’ve not just made that up to sound fancier than we really are, it’s true, it has had the most views by a LONG way.

I’ve been having a little play around with this recipe, because you all love it so, and my two favourite concoctions have been chocolate and golden milk (recipe coming soon, do not fret)

Our recipe for chocolate almond milk is so great (if I do say so myself) that it can be glugged straight from the bottle, as it is yummy enough to drink solo. Its also super healthy- you know me, I always like to be able to identify EVERY ingredient in anything I ingest.

Read More

My quest to get ZERO junk mail

My quest to get ZERO junk mail

I get a whole loada junk mail.

It feels like now I’ve got adulty things like credit cards, marketers have decided I have an obscene amount of cash (this is entirely untrue!) and want to go on fancy holidays, get another credit card, change my broadband provider to a much more expensive one and just spend spend spend.

Read More

Zero Waste Avocado Toast

180125-annarachelphotography-lowres-4871.jpg

I’m a millennial, therefore, I love a good avocado toast. However, as I am a millennial, I am also very aware of the farming issues which are currently related to avocado production.

I’ve been in such an ethical pickle with this one that I actually considered not posting this recipe. I then reflected on the reasons why I purchased avocados, and realised that it was because they’re a very bountiful fruit at the market, which I buy in a large quantity, before it goes off to avoid food waste and this blog is all about reducing that kind of waste.

So, after a lot of pondering, I decided I would post this blog, risk feeling like a hypocrite as I am using avocados in my recipe, but also use this as a platform to share the ethical issues which surround the avocado.

As with any super-fruit such as blueberries or, pomegranates, our love for these fruits puts a huge strain on farmers and it is often a lot more profitable for them to swap to this super-fruit. Those which don’t lose out on wages, and those who do have to keep up with what could be a fickle passing trend.

Unfortunately, growing avocados in large quantities to ensure there are enough at our supermarkets and market stalls means that the Mexicans, who are typically farming these crops, have to cut down the rainforest for space, use nasty fertilisers and pesticides to grow the crop. It also takes about 272 litres to grow about 2 or 3 medium avocados!

It doesn’t just stop with the environmental issues either. As this crop is very profitable, it’s increasing trade is controlled by the Mexican drugs cartels. Whilst switching to avocados which aren’t produced in Mexico may seem like the best way to clear our conscience, it is highly likely that the same issues are happening world wide.

180125-annarachelphotography-lowres-4875.jpg

My take on this information is that I will still have the occasional avocado, but that I’d prefer to get the fats and nutrients I would receive from the avocado through other fruit and vegetable sources.

If all that hasn’t put you off what is a super yummy meal, here is our avocado toast recipe. We made our own bread for this recipe, and we also wrote a guide about buying good bread if you can’t or don’t want to make your own.

Low Waste Avocado Toast

Didn’t feel right calling this one Zero Waste, given all the back issues I’ve discussed above.

Author: A Zero Waste Life
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Yield: 2 slices
Dietary information: GF (choose a GF bread), DF, vegan

Category: Breakfast, lunch, dinner- whenever you want to eat it!

EQUIPMENT

  • Knife

  • Chopping board

  • Toaster

  • Fork

  • Bowl

INGREDIENTS

  • Either one very large, two medium or three small avocados

  • Two slices of bread, which we decided to toast

  • Topping of your choice. We used half a red onion, chilli flakes and

    pistachios

  • Olive oil

    *Note: other toppings could be lemon juice, black ground pepper, sea salt, other

    nuts or seeds- it’s up to you!

If you're nowhere near a bulk shop, our friends at Plastic Free Pantry have kindly given you guys a discount code! Just type zerowastelife10 at the checkout.

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Peel and chop your avocados. Put all the seeds, skins and bad parts into the compost.

  2. Put all the yummy avocado into a bowl. Mash with your fork. Leave on the side

  3. Chop up your toppings

  4. Toast the bread, if you want

  5. Put the toast onto a plate, add the avocado and toppings and drizzle all with olive oil.

  6. Marvel at your creation

Did you make this recipe?

Please let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and share a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #azerowastelife!

 

Our 10 day Zero Waste Challenge

Back in January we ran a 10 day Zero Waste Challenge, which was more successful than either of us imagined! Lots of people joined in and we had great fun seeing our Instagram and Facebook followers getting involved too.

If you want to take the challenge, take a look at the steps below. You can do it any time, at any speed or if you're feeling adventurous you could even do all ten steps at once.

Our friend Chloe took the challenge and had some surprising outcomes....

 

Day one: Bring a bag

A Zero Waste Life. BRING A BAG

If you're like us, you probably have tonnes! Pop it in your bag or car so you don't forget it when you're on the go

 

Day two: Refuse a straw

A Zero Waste Life. REFUSE A STRAW

Straws are made of crappy non-recyclable plastic, which means they can contaminate the enviroment and hurt wildlife easily. Straws tend to have an average lifespan of about 20 minutes in a drink, while they can last up to 500 years on our planet, so refuse them the next time you buy a drink.

Day three: Reject those freebies

A Zero Waste Life. REJECT FREEBIES

Free pens, notepads, vouchers, stickers... do you NEED them? How will they improve your life? If the answer is that they won't or you already have one (like a pen) refuse a freebie, to show marketeers that we want sustainable alternatives when it comes to advertising.

Day four: Pack your lunch

A Zero Waste Life. PACK YOUR LUNCH

Om nom nom. Us two LOVE food! We're always on the go, so to avoid getting hangry, we ensure we pack our food before we head out for the day. Taking our own food eliminates the need for single use packaging.

This is easier, if like me you have food intolerance, so need to know what is in what you eat.

Day five: Bring a water bottle

A Zero Waste Life. BRING A BOTTLE

Simples! 

Fill it with water, squash or even prosecco if you're having one of those days...

We find having a bottle on us makes us drink more. We've sacrificed the bag space for it, so we may as well make the most of it!

Day six: Take a coffee away (in your own mug!)

A Zero Waste Life. USE A REUSABLE MUG

Don't have a reusable coffee cup? Ask if you could purchase one in the cafe (most coffee chains now offer reusable cups with money off your hot drinks to encourage you to use them) or opt to sit down down and drink your coffee in a china mug.

Day seven: Have a single-use plastic free day

A Zero Waste Life. SINGLE USE FREE DAY

We put this one on day seven as you can combine everything you've done on the last six days to make this work.

Go on, you've got this!

Day eight: Make your own snack


A Zero Waste Life. MAKE SNACKS

Why not try protein snacks, a flapjack, nuts toasted in oils or homemade crisps?

Day nine: Buy or make a zero waste beauty product

A Zero Waste Life. BEAUTY

We're not trying to say you don't already look incredible, because you sure do!

But the beauty industry fills our products with harmful chemicals, dyes and micro-plastics. Then they package them in non recyclable containers. Why not make your own or buy a bar of soap?

Day ten: Re-purpose something

A Zero Waste Life. REPURPOSE SOMETHING

Let your imagination run wild with this one!

Odd sock = friendly sock puppet

Holey t-shirt = new kitchen surface wipes

Old pillow case = new produce bag

Brown bananas = banana cake

Or maybe you just need to get round to fixing that button, zip, or hole in your clothes!

Snoop around a Zero Waste Kitchen

The beautiful Charlotte (said by Anna) 

The beautiful Charlotte (said by Anna) 

I LOVE cooking from scratch, which means I spend a lot of me evenings in the kitchen.

My kitchen, unsurprisingly, is part of an actual house, which is on one of the main roads in Birmingham. I live near the park and access to the town centre is easy – it's a decent location.

As mentioned before, I live in Birmingham, which is in the top 10 of the worst UK cities for recycling, Since taking on the zero waste lifestyle, I've learnt to focus on what I can do to improve this, rather than blaming waste produced on the city I live in.

So, how has my kitchen changed, since I adopted the zero waste lifestyle?

Zero wasters can seem like aliens from the outside, but as with anything, you can adapt to it in time. Here's what I do to eradicate kitchen waste all together...

180125-annarachelphotography-lowres-5049.jpg

I compost the waste

Luckily, my rented property has a compost heap. In true zero waste style, we didn’t buy a caddie for this, we just switch between containers with lids and put the contents into the compost bin as necessary.

Before I was living with my partner, I'd freeze the compost in a designated bowl as I was worried about it getting in my previous housemate's way – this meant it didn’t smell and wasn’t visible on the counter like it now is.

Freezing compost is a good way to get around the issue of not having a compost heap in your garden. The frozen compost can be put into a wipe clean bag and taken to a market, community centre or allotment and put onto their compost heap (just ask first!).

Another option for composting when you don’t have the proper bin is to blend it. Sounds weird, I know, but this makes it into a state which you can put straight onto your garden plants or flowers, without having obvious vegetable peelings showing.

Working on reducing food waste in general is a great way to have less compost to deal with in the first place.

180125-annarachelphotography-lowres-4595.jpg

I have a super fancy kitchen gadget

I saved up and asked for cash for my birthday last year. I purchased a Thermomix last summer and it's wonderful.

I never want people to feel like we are influencing them into purchasing products in order to live the zero waste life, but if you can afford to, and would like to, I personally think the Thermomix is a very worthwhile purchase.

Why? Because I can grind spices, coffee beans and grains to powders. I can make jams, peanut butter and tomato ketchup. I can chop onions, grated carrots or make vegetable stock. I can prep bread, cakes and other bakes, whilst being certain what I make is gluten and dairy free. I can cook a full, three-course meal, and the Thermomix will ensure the food is cooking at a regulated heat.

This is all in one gadget which is easy to use and has a super long warranty. It may not work for your lifestyle, but for mine (I work full time, and run the blog in my spare time) this is a dream.

I am certainly not saying you have to have one of these to be zero waste – I didn’t for the first seven months of my journey. Anna doesn’t have one and gets on just fine. If you think it could work for you, take a look at their website.

180125-annarachelphotography-lowres-4568.jpg

Tupperware boxes (not foil, clingfilm or plastic bags...)

I'm never too far from a Tupperware box. I usually have a couple in my bag, for my lunch and food waste, with multiple in my fridge and freezer. Without these, a zero waste life would be near impossible. I’ve inherited some from my Mum and Grandparents. Before I fully committed to the zero waste lifestyle I purchased glass Tupperware. I'd recommend them to anyone as two years on they are still going strong (one did break but that's just because I’m clumsy).

180125-annarachelphotography-lowres-4561.jpg

I have less in the fridge

To keep down the waste I buy only what I need. I typically go to the markets twice a week.

There's no packaging in my fridge, which means everything is as fresh as possible. I buy way more fresh fruits and veggies than I used to. I wash these and put them in the fridge with any cut foods put into boxes, along with soft fruits and vegetables like mushrooms.

I have heaps more in the freezer

If I end up with more fruit and veg than I can eat before it goes off, I will freeze it. I also freeze meals including things like homemade beany burgers, so I can use these when I need a quick and simple dinner.

180125-annarachelphotography-lowres-4548.jpg

We store dry food up like a squirrel

Nuts, seeds, flours, spices, lentils, rice and other dried goods are stored in old coffee jars.

Bristol and London are the closest cities to me which have decent waste free shops where I can put the foods straight into the jars. I can buy certain things like nuts and seeds from The Nut Centre in the Bullring markets.  If I've run out of some foods, I often have to buy them from supermarkets and select products in recyclable packaging.

This will change when The Clean Kilo arrives, and I can get there in 15 minutes!

Jarred and canned foods

I buy foods in glass jars and cans. I do still recycle. I know that this can be a wasteful process in terms of resources used during recycling, but I still choose to buy some of these items, often due to convenience.

180125-annarachelphotography-lowres-4919.jpg

Milks

My dairy milk comes delivered to my door twice a week, which is ordered through Milk & More.

I also make nut milks. Almond milk works really well, but you can use any nut you like or oats if you prefer. 

Fresh eggs, cheeses and meats

I'm a 'reducatarian' meaning I try and limit the amount of meat I eat each week.

I have researched veganism a lot, and, call this an excuse if you wish, but I have intolerances which would make veganism difficult. It's therefore not the best decision for me right now. I know zero waste living would be easier without eating meat as the industry is awful at producing waste.

However, when I buy these products, I try my best to limit the waste they are sold to me in. 

I take my own egg boxes back to be refilled with fresh eggs each week at the market. When I buy meats and cheeses I take a large Tupperware box, which they're placed straight into.

I'd love to know about your kitchens? Do you have similar storage habits to me?