Zero Waste Nachos

I mentioned a few months back that I love nachos and have been struggling to go without nachos as everything comes in plastic… Well tonight I finally did it! I had tried a couple of months ago to make my own corn chips, it was the biggest hassle and a bit of a fail, so I was so excited to finally find corn chips plastic free. I’m vegetarian, so these are meat free and healthy. You can very easily make it vegan by leaving out the sour cream or make a sunflower seed sour cream.   Corn Chips- I got these in my cloth bread bag from Mexicali Fresh in the city. They make them fresh and in-house. I just asked if I can get some corn chips takeaway in my own bag, I didn’t buy anything else and wasn’t eating in. The server said that wasn’t weird and people […]

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Guest Post: ReMaterialise- Plastic Bags into Fantastic Bags

ReMaterialise shopping bags (photos: Fi Leaning).   I discovered ReMaterialise at the beginning of this year. I can’t recall exactly how I stumbled upon their website, I was probably looking for a creative ways to reuse plastics. I was finding all sorts of innovative ways to re-use plastic bags, and plastic bag fusing seemed the best way to use heaps of bags to make a useful and strong item. I attempted plastic bag fusing myself, and I quickly learned it was not easy! It is a slow process of painstakingly ironing plastic bags on a low heat. My finished product was a wonky sheet of plastic that I used as a place mat for the cat bowl.  About a month ago I unexpectedly found myself meeting the creator of ReMaterialise, Fi, while I was volunteering for Ecomatters. I was very excited to meet Fi, and may have fan-girled a bit […]

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Homemade Vanilla Extract

 I recently learned that vanilla extract is super easy to make, saving me from buying overpriced extract or the cheap essence in plastic bottles.Not only is it easy to make, but it is fairly cheap too and it makes great gifts! What you need:    Spirit- vodka, bourbon, brandy or rum. I am fortunate to date/live with someone who distills their own (hey-yo free booze!). Vanilla beans- Some supermarkets sell pods that come in glass jars with plastic lids, which you can reuse. Or you can find some at an organic store, however they come in plastic tubes. Glass Jar- I steep my beans in an old coffee jar, but you can use any old larger jar. I keep small quantities in smaller jars, caper jars are perfect. What to do: Slice the beans in half, you can leave the tops connected if you wish. Chuck your beans in a […]

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Keeping up with the Kombucha (& other ferments)

Kombucha is probably a buzz word you have heard recently. You may be wondering what the hell Kombucha is and why is everyone talking about it?! I started brewing Kombucha about 4 months ago, knowing little about it myself. It’s that easy to make though, all I did was spend a few hours watching Youtube videos and reading blogs about fermenting Kombucha and I had the hang of it in no time. So what is Kombucha?? Simply put it is fermented tea brewed using a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast, aka SCOBY. At this point I should mention SCOBY’s look absolutely disgusting, so if you have a weak stomach it’s probably best not to see the SCOBY before trying Kombucha for the first time. Kombucha is a “health drink” as it is fermented it is full of good bacteria, vitamins and is good for your gut etc etc. To […]

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Produce Bags & Bulk Bags

The easiest switch to avoid unnecessary plastic is to use reusable mesh bags for buying fruit, veges and bulk bin items in. Bags: Rethink small, homemade, Rethink large, Mighty Ape. Where to buy mesh bags in NZ: Remateralise: 3 pack $20 these mesh bags are sold package free and are made in Auckland. Perfect for produce or bulk bins.  Rethink: 3 large bags for $12.50  these bags organic cotton bags are only suitable for produce and larger items (not bulk bins). Rethink also sell multi-packs with other sizes and various other options. Some of the other bags, such as the bread bags, come plastic wrapped. Mighty Ape: 5 large bags for $14.99 While these are the cheapest option, I ordered some from Mighty Ape back in June and was highly disappointed with the amount of packaging I received. The bags themselves come plastic wrapped as well as the extra plastic […]

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Waste Free Homemade Deodorant

I recently ran out of conventional store bought deodorant, but instead of rushing out to buy more I was actually excited, as I had been wanting to make my own. As I am now waste-free conventional deodorant won’t do as the packaging is plastic and wasteful, and I have concerns about the ingredients in the product. As a preteen just starting to use deodorant I remember tossing up which deodorant was better for the environment; spray-ons or roll-ons? Wanting to avoid the aerosols I opted for roll-ons, however I always felt guilty when I had to throw out (recycle) my roll-on container as I thought “surely this thing could be useful for something?” When I went to North America last year I purchased a stick deodorant, which I think was more novelty than necessity. I saved this container when it recently ran out to use for my homemade concoction. Except […]

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Plastic Free Supermarket Shopping

Being plastic free has its challenges when it comes to grocery shopping at a conventional supermarket, but fear not, it is possible! I have found since going plastic/waste free that we no longer do large shops every few weeks, instead opting for smaller shops and one larger shop once a month at Bin Inn. This is mainly because we can’t get everything plastic free from the supermarket and now have to shop around a bit. How to Shop Plastic Free at a Conventional Supermarket: Fruit and Veges- I avoid prepackaged items and purchase the loose items, either leaving them loose or packing in a mesh bag. Pak n Save & New World sell loose salad mix, they once had loose spinach as well, but it was gone the following week to my disappointment (hint hint Pak n Save). Seeds, Nuts, Dried Fruit, Lollies- All from the bulk section! I use […]

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Last Week’s Waste Free Meals

I am often asked what I eat as I don’t eat meat and I don’t purchase anything that comes in plastic. I am finally going to answer that with a better answer than “I dunno, beans and veges and stuff.” Here is a look at what I ate last week.  DISCLAIMER: I am not the healthiest person in the world and I am not a chef!    Breakfast Toast: I buy bread from the bakery/bakery section of the supermarket in a bag I take with me. Condiments: honey from the bulk bins or farmer’s market, peanut butter from the machine at Bin Inn, Marmalade (made by my flatmates or my Nana) or homemade yogurt cheese Or: Weetbix: I buy my weetbix plastic & package free from Bin Inn, I usually use an old extra-large Ziploc bag as this is by weight and Weetbix can be a bit messy for mesh […]

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Peach Cove Tramp

After a week of heavy rain the weekend cleared up in time for me to have a scenic Whangarei adventure from Urquharts Bay to Ocean Beach, with an over night stay at the cosy Peach Cove Hut. While the tracks were short- only about 3 hours each way, it wasn’t necessarily an easy stroll through the park. We were welcomed with a windy paddock scramble to the start of Busby Head Track, which consisted of an hour or so of a straight up-hill stair climb. This was a slow climb for us Aucklanders as we realised we have been caught up in the rat race and perhaps we weren’t as fit as we had previously impressed upon ourselves. When we eventually made it to the top we were definitely rewarded as we looked out across the heads and toward Poor Knights. I had a snack of lollies which were left […]

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The Latest Zero Waste Fails, Successes, Attempts and Adventures

I am going tramping this weekend! Hiking/backpacking/bush walking for all you non Kiwi folk. I am hoping to do this as waste free as possible, however this will be my first attempt and as I still transitioning to this lifestyle there may (will) be shortfalls. As I am not the trip leader I won’t be doing the group shopping, however I did make the winning group food suggestion- vegetarian burgers. I know how I can make these waste free (this has become a bit of a staple dinner of recent), so on the next tramp I intend on cooking rubbish free burgers. For my own food I will be packing things I already have in my pantry/fridge, as it is only an over-niter and my pantry is well stocked. I will be packing some items (such as homemade porridge) in Ziploc bags that I already had, as I do not […]

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