Plastic Free Chocolate (+ zero waste perfectionism)

I’m a major chocolate lover. Since starting my waste-free journey in 2015, chocolate has gone from being a guilty pleasure to a guilty pleasure on a whole new level; environmental guilt! I just want a sweet fix to cure whatever ails me, I don’t want to layer that with ethical and environmental guilt!

I recently mused on the Keep Auckland Beautiful podcast about having late night chocolate craving conundrums. The nearest shop that was open at 11 pm was a small dairy (aka corner store or milk bar, for you non-kiwis), where my chocolate choices were individual plastic wrapped chocolate bars (by brands like Nestle) or blocks of Cadbury and  Whittaker’s. Cadbury is in plastic, which can be recycled through the Red Cycle soft plastic scheme, where it’s made in to park benches and furniture like this one:

Park bench made from recycled soft plastic. I spotted this one in Australia.

However, Cadbury seems to be constantly having ethical dramas, with the most recent being their move from New

Zealand to an Australian factory. Whittaker’s is an NZ company, they proudly use fair trade chocolate and it’s the better tasting chocolate of the two. The outer wrapper of Whittaker’s is paper, but the inner gold wrapper is a plastic-lined foil, which cannot be recycled. So here I stood, late at night, wondering what the heck do I buy. Usually, I’d buy Trade Aid chocolate in compostable packaging, but I didn’t have this option. So, I chose Whittaker’s.

 

You’ll see that I have a soft spot for Whittaker’s chocolate, based on how much of it ends up in landfill rubbish at the end of each year. I’ve taken up my issue with Whittaker’s, quite a few times before (like a substantial number), and others have subsequently hassled them about their packaging.

I’ve been learning not to beat myself up over the small things. If I’m craving Whittaker’s, then so be it. It’s not sustainable for me in the long term to constantly be depriving myself of things. Unfortunately, it does mean I am creating landfill-bound trash. 

Me with my expensive chocolate rations

As much as I love some of the fancy, sustainable chocolate options, they often cost a small fortune. Just recently, I went to GoodFor in Ponsonby, the zero waste shop in Ponsonby, and bought some chocolate covered liquorice bullets. I nearly cried when the lady told me the price. $27! For a small paper bag worth, about 2 scoops. That’s over an hour of work?! (Good thing I like my job(s) aye).

Coincidentally, this incident happened not long after my late night dairy chocolate mission. Thus, I went on a massive rant to my boyfriend about zero waste, accessibility and perfectionism. I’m not going to go too much into it, as I don’t feel I am very eloquent at tackling that massive issue, but I have touched on it before.

 

Low waste chocolate options available in NZ:

Please note, that while some things can be recycled in Auckland (such a tin foil) this is unfortunately not the case NZ wide.

 

 

Cardboard & Foil packaging; i.e. Green & Blacks Organic range, Lindt blocks, Cadbury Coco block range.

The cardboard can be recycled or composted. The foil can be recycled by collecting a large enough amount to make an easter egg. My favourite is the Green & Black’s milk chocolate.

Compostable packaging; i.e. Trade Aid

Trade Aid not only have their ethics down pat, but their chocolate can actually be home composted. I’ve very successfully composted this packaging in my compost heap. Make sure you check the packaging says it’s compostable, as it can often be mistaken for plastic. Loving Earth also does compostable packaging (the inner liner) with a recycled cardboard box.

 

No packaging; i.e. Bulk Bins

I’ve been keeping my eye out for bulk bin chocolate, and over the past year, I’ve noticed it’s starting to be much easier to find. Previously I was stuck with the not so great tasting chocolate/lolly range at Bin Inn (which has improved since I first started shopping here years ago). Now with more bulk stores like The Source and GoodFor popping up, there are heaps more options. I’ve even found bulk chocolate pieces at the supermarket, like New World and Pak n Save!

 

   

 

Make your own

Lastly, you can try your luck at making your own. I’ve had a crack at a few recipes and haven’t been too fond on it, unfortunately! You can find cocoa butter at GoodFor and The Source bulk stores, this is a key ingredient for making chocolate.

If you have had any luck with making your own chocolate, or know a good chocolate brand I’ve missed please let me know!

Other Blogs To Check Out:

Litterless- Zero Waste Chocolate

Zero Waste Chef- Don’t be Perfect 

 

  10Comments

  1. Naomi   •  

    moonbean chocolate! Single origin, Uganda, home made, beautiful wrapping, ditto chocolate – on its way over to NZ next year! Take a moment to connect to the website 🙂

  2. Camilla   •  

    I love that you give so many options. Jealous of the bulk chocolate in New Zealand.. I don’t normally consume chocolate but if I have to buy some I will definitely keep all of these considerations in mind! Thanks for posting

  3. Eco Friendly Mama   •  

    My local Whole Foods store has a variety of dark chocolate packaged in cardboard and paper (no plastic) that I buy, including the organic Green & Black brand. While I will comparison shop for everything else, I will pay more for good quality chocolate without batting an eye! : )

    • Amanda   •     Author

      Good chocolate is definitely worth the extra price!

  4. Tegan   •  

    Wow, impressive that you can compost Trade Aid chocolate wrapping in your home compost!

    Have you ever had a response from the brands you’ve contacted about their wasteful packaging?

    • Amanda   •     Author

      Yes I’ve messaged a few, Whittaker’s have told me numerous times over the past year + that they might start looking at making the packaging recyclable. Nothing has yet to change though unfortunately

  5. Charlotte Jessop   •  

    This is the sort of post I need in my life. I love chocolate too and I feel guilty enough about eating it so I’d love if I didn’t have to feel bad about the environmental impact too. Thanks for sharing!

    • Amanda   •     Author

      Thank you Charlotte!

  6. Emma Walmsley   •  

    It is hard to find chocolate that ticks all the boxes isn’t it! I try to look for low-waste, vegan, organic, palm-oil free and fair-trade, and as you can imagine there aren’t many that can claim all of that! Home-made is great whenever we can 🙂

  7. Clive   •  

    Lindt is the best chocolate, Bendicks are the best bitter mints but I don’t know about their green credentials (yet).

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