I’ve been wanting to write this post for a long time but I always seem short of time, dealing with many small everyday tasks but last Saturday 13th January I had the pleasure of giving a presentation at Anglia School in Plovdiv, Bulgaria on my favourite topic “Zero-Waste Lifestyle”.
While I was getting ready and I was thinking about the easiest way to present this topic, I started walking around my small but cosy appartment and I noticed something. Each room had its own soul, with its own worries and characteristics, with its own wounds which needed balm. First I got into the role of a doctor and I came up with a diagnosis: The trash in the kitchen can be divided into 3 categories: food waste, food/drinks packaging and food shopping trash (plastic bags, labels, price tags, receipts).
Food waste is all of the food leftovers which can’t be eaten such as fruit/veggie peels, tea herbs from the loose leaf tea that you’ve just made and any other leftover out of date food. If you live in a house the best solution is composting which turns food waste into a natural soil fertiliser. However, if you live in a flat the situation is a little bit different. You can either use a newspaper as a bin bag or a paper bag but remember to take your rubbish bin to the container, otherwise you risk your bin bag to fall apart half way (tried and tested) 😀 Another option is to use a cardboard box as a rubbish bin and you can throw it in the container. You can find cardboard boxes from all of the major supermarkets, more information about that is available here
Enemy number 2 of the clean kitchen is food packaging, especially the plastic one. The glass and paper ones are recyclable and have a good recycling rate so your only concern is to throw them into the right containers. Unfortunately, that is not the case with plastic packaging with only 9% recycled since 1950. So what can we do to reduce our waste?
Plenty of things 🙂
Observe what foods you consume and what you can get packaged in glass/paper or do my favorite thing-shop in bulk.
Here is a list of the things that I’ve buying in bulk directly from different markets and small shops in Plovdiv, Bulgaria:
Quinoa, lentils and rice: Boutique Foods shop on 110A “Shesti septemvri” boulevard and Havasy Shop (Магазин Хавасу) at 68 “Vasil Levski” boulevard, I use jars or cotton bags, whatever I have in hand but I prefer jars because that way my food is already organised and I don’t have to deal with that once I get back home 🙂
My jars also have a story- they’re especially engraved by my dear friend Neli. Why engraved? Watercolors aren’t eco-friendly and are easy to wash with water so that wasn’t a good option as I wanted something permanent so Neli came on rescue like a fairy with a magic wand 🙂
Tea: Monday and Thursday markets (Ponedelnik and Chetvartak pazar), the market next to the Rowing canal (Grebna baza)
Spices (salt and chubritsa, local Bulgarian spice): Monday and Thursday markets (Ponedelnik and Chetvartak pazar), the market next to the Rowing canal (Grebna baza)
Dried fruits and nuts: The market next to the Rowing canal (Grebna baza) and the Borsa
Cheese:Lacrima, at the corner of Vasil Levski street and Anri Barbus street, bring your own containers, I’ve repurposed 2 old ones from ice-cream
Eggs: You can buy them “loose” from most small corner shops in Plovdiv, just bring a paper container and ask for the number of eggs that you need
Fresh cow milk: I personally do not consume it but I just found a milk making machine where you can bring your own bottle at 46 “Kapitan Raycho” street
Bread-There are a lot of bakeries in town but I can recommend you one that stands out “Zelena rabotilnica” aka as “Green Workshop” which sells yummy gluten-free treats. Tell the ladies over there in advance not to pack your bread and bring a bag 🙂 Hmm…there are only a few things which smell as good as bread out of the oven on a Saturday morning, ideal for sandwiches on the go which you can wrap in this beeswax wrap, which is not only beautiful but also sustainable, reusable and 100% biodegradable.
*If you’re using a container/jar when shopping in bulk, weigh it out first before you put the products in it and subtract its weight from the end one of the product. For example, if your container weighs 50 grams and your cheese + the container is 350, you subtract the weight of the container and get 300 grams which is what you to pay for your cheese 🙂
Forget about plastic bags, they’re so yesterday 🙂 Get some beautiful cloth bags, paper bags or shop using your backpack, it’s very comfortable and your hands will be free
Refuse the unnecessary packaging such as shoe boxes, rollerblade boxes, sport equipment boxes, and any receipts which you do not need
A lot of people think that zero-waste shopping is a mission impossible. Well, thank god, they’re wrong 🙂 It’s one of my favorite things which is not only eco-friendly, but also fun. Do you remember the last time when you were that close to the people actually making the food that you’re eating? The markets give you that opportunity. And when can you really know what are all of the ingredients which your dish contains? When you make it yourself, of course. And if it still looks like a complicated thing to do or if you’re busy, no worries, I can do your Zero-Waste shopping for you, the same way I do it for myself at the price of 15 BG Leva (7.5 Euros) with delivery straight to your door included. This is a video of me doing a Zero-Waste shopping trip to the market, check it out here
And what is food without clean water? Like Sherlock Holmes without Dr. Watson, somehow incomplete 😀 In the spirit of Zero-waste living and my own health, I decided to use a Brita filter jug which filters my water perfectly every day saving me money, plastic waste and the hassle of carrying heavy plastic water bottles. At home instead of washing an endless amount of cups every time I get thirsty, I use a reusable water bottle 🙂
I also have a stainless steel strawwhich I use when I’m making smoothies and I give to my little niece when she is visiting me because she is still only one year old and can’t drink from a bottle. The same little girl also loves the spoon-crackers which I also keep at home as they turn eating an oatmeal into a fun game leaving me enough time to sip a coffee from a dream-coffee machine which doesn’t produce any waste as I purchase my coffee in metal containers which I repurpose afterwards for storage of nuts, dried fruits and loose leaf tea.
A lot of people complain that making loose leaf tea is too hard, that it requires a lot of preparation…actually no, they just don’t have the right home appliances 🙂
I introduce you to my favourite filter jug.
I continue to walk around the kitchen and I reach the sink. I am happy that I found a natural, universal cleaning detergent, which comes into a repurposed borax container which I return to QQ Natural after use and they sanitise and reuse it, 100% zero-waste 🙂
That is all from me for now, I’m wishing you an inspirational and creative day and I cannot wait to find out what zero-waste kitchen tricks and tips do you have in the bag 🙂