Thursday, December 28, 2017

Zero Waste Coffee

I stopped drinking coffee a while ago. As a student, I used to work in coffee shops, study in coffee shops and hang out in coffee shops. Studying has some perks, mainly the availability of time that you can spend any way you want -guilt free! I would spent a lot of time sitting in my favourite place staring out of the window and just pondering about the world. When I started working after University, I would pick up a coffee on the way to work to perk me up and to give me that feeling of bliss (would rather be staring out of a window with a cup right now but this is second best feeling ). There was a lot of money spent on coffee, not to mention all of that packaging that came from it!

I realized that I was actually quite caffeine sensitive so I tried to cut down. My tea consumption in that time has however quadrupled so it was probably all psychological anyway :) What I realised in the process of curbing my habit is that a coffee shop visit was more of a time for myself where I could think, process my thoughts and just relax.  It wasn't about the coffee really. So now I try to recreate that moment for myself at home without spending literally hundreds of pounds every year. The solution is simple, cheap and completely zero waste-make your own. 

I now buy all of our coffee in bulk from a local shop in Sheffield called Pollards. They stock a huge amount of varieties. Who would have thought that there is so much to choose from? When you enter the shop, your taste buds are screaming as the smell of freshly ground coffee welcomes you in. You can ask to smell different varieties to see what you fancy each time. Our current favourite is Monsoon Malabar.  I bring my jar, get it filled with coffee beans and grind them at home using a coffee grinder. The coffee lasts fresh for longer when all of its flavour is locked in the bean. If you don't have a grinder, don't worry as they can grind it for you! 

There often is a misconception that good quality items costs a lot more. If you buy 2 x take away coffees  for 2.50 each, for the same price you will be able to get a really good quality fresh coffee which will last you for weeks! 

We use an insulated stainless steel coffee french press to brew the coffee at home and compost the coffee grounds. 

No more take aways in plastic coffee cups either!  If I want a drink whilst I am out I bring a reusable mug and ask the staff to fill it. As long as the mug has a lid I have never been refused. 

When on occasion I want a coffee (Craig is the main coffee hound these days) I make it at home, have a moment for myself and relax knowing that I am supporting local shop, drinking good quality coffee and there is no waste as a result. But I'm not going to lie, I I still like a good coffee shop every now and then ;)

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Christmas Furoshiki- Zero Waste Gift Wrap

I have been wanting to do this little DIY for a while. I am not quite sure why I have not got round to doing this sooner as this is one of the easiest and most satisfying projects that I have done. Introducing Furoshiki, also known as Japanese Gift Wrap. Furoshiki is a century old technique which originated in Japan. It is used for transporting gifts, lunches and other items. Think of it as origami, but for fabric, creating beautiful gift wraps or useful bags out of a single piece of cloth.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Flying Zero Waste


I love slow journeys.  By bike is my favourite, closely followed by train travel, depending of course on the distance. But sometimes it is just a lot more practical to fly. I often get asked about it. Flying has a huge environmental impact, there is no question about that. I think when it comes to Zero Waste and environmental footprint, you should start changing things which are (relatively) easy to start with. Buying package free, swapping a plastic bag for a tote bag and bringing reusable mug instead of your usual paper cup is a good place to start. Tackle one thing at the time. Flying home to see your family doesn’t fall into the category of easy choices. 

Monday, December 11, 2017

How to Enjoy Christmas Markets Zero Waste

Christmas markets hit every major city in Europe at the end of November. Some are authentic and some are not so much, depending which country you live in. We have been lucky this year to briefly visit the Christmas markets in Budapest. I am not interested in any other stalls apart from the food stalls as it is a good opportunity to sample some local produce. Think roast duck with red cabbage, potatoes with roast pork through it, smoked salmon and some mulled wine to wash it all down with. You really can’t go wrong there!

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Saying no to Christmas cards- give Christmas hugs instead

According to the Greeting Card Association, every year in Britain alone, we send 1 billion Christmas cards. If you think about it, the number is astronomical, compared to the 65 million people who live in the UK. I have taken the above photo on the 6th November by which point most shops were selling Christmas merchandise. There is a reason why you can buy Christmas stock so soon. I very much doubt that the shops are concerned with your time management and getting things ‘done’ before Christmas. Instead, the greeting card industry wants you to spend and spend.