Home Made Wraps

Like most of us eco worriers Iโ€™ve been making changes in every aspect of my life in order to reduce my plastic consumption and reduce my carbon footprint.

As a family of four with two fussy children there are some things that are extremely hard to avoid. For example, for lunches my kids love wraps and they always come in plastic. I’ve managed to switch a normal bread loaf for a fresh loaf to avoid the plastic but so far I cannot avoid plastic with regards to wraps, so itโ€™s something Iโ€™ve still been buying.

Yesterday I decided enough was enough and so I came up with the idea of researching home made versions of kitchen staples which usually only come in plastic.

So here it is, my very first post in the new section of the blog “Plastic free kitchen staples.”

I found my wrap recipe on Pinterest (my absolute go to for recipes) and I so made my own wraps! I cannot tell you how easy they were and I am notoriously terrible at baking.

They arenโ€™t circular like the shop bought ones but they are 100% made by me, with only a few ingredients that most people would already have in their cupboards.

Now I have no need to buy shop bought wraps l ever again ๐Ÿ˜Š

Hereโ€™s the recipe… I substituted wholemeal flour for plain as I didnโ€™t have any in the cupboard ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™€๏ธ

Time needed around 1.5 – 2 hours

The recipe makes 16 small or 8 large wraps depending on your preference.

The dough takes approximately 15 minutes to make (5 minutes to activate yeast, 5 minutes for mixing, 5 minutes for kneading)

Proving time 45 minutes

Separating dough, rolling and cooking around 30 minutes depending on your speed.

Tools required:

Large mixing bowl

Extra flour for flouting your surface

Spoon for mixing

Large rolling pin

Knife for cutting dough

Non stick frying pan

Plate for cooked wraps

A bit of patience… ๐Ÿ˜ฌ

Step 1 – put the yeast and sugar in a large mixing bowl and pour in the water. Leave to sit for 5 minutes to allow the yeast to activate. Whilst I was waiting I got the other ingredients ready.

Step 2 – After 5 minutes have passed add the salt and the olive oil to the mixing bowl and stir well.

Step 3 – Add in three cups of flour (you can use plain or wholemeal) I used plain flour for my recipe as I didn’t have any wholemeal in my pantry.

Step 4 – Mix together with your hands until the dough resembles play dough. If it’s too wet add a bit more flour and if it’s too dry add a little water.

Step 5 – Flour your work surface and knead your dough for 5-10 minutes.

Step 6 – Flour your mixing bowl and put the dough back in. Cover and leave for 45 minutes to prove.

Step 7 – Make sure your work surface is floured well and put your dough on ready to separate.

Step 8 – Cut the dough in half, half again etc until you have 16 pieces of dough, or 8 if you’d like to make larger wraps.

Step 9 – Heat your frying pan (no need for oil) on medium heat.

Step 10 – With your hands, roll each piece of dough into a ball. Begin to roll out with rolling pin, turning the dough clockwise with each roll. This will help it stay more circular. Make sure you flour your surface after every wrap has been rolled otherwise it will stick and rip when you try to pick it up. How you roll will determinate the thickness of your wraps. I did mine one at a time and whilst one was cooking I was rolling the next.

Step 10 – Pick up your wraps and place in the frying pan. After five minutes use a spatula to turn the wrap over. The wrap should have golden spots on it if it’s ready. If not put it back on that side until you reach the desired colour. Once both sides are ready pop onto your plate and put the next one in…. and so on!

If you don’t have time to roll and cook all of your dough you can freeze some for another time.

The wraps also freeze well (so I’m told) so if you don’t use them all then you can freeze them for another day. ๐Ÿ˜Š

Please let me know if you try these out I’d love to know how you all get on.

For more plastic free kitchen staples please visit http://www.pinterest.com/thriftygreenlife

Don’t forgot to follow my blog for more zero waste inspiration and eco product reviews.

Come and join my army of eco warriors on the Thrifty Green Life Facebook group. I would love to see you there ๐Ÿ˜Š

Nikki

The bollocks of bioplastics and what โ€œcompostableโ€ really means!

On a previous episode of Channel 4’s Food Unwrapped a few months ago, the presenters talked about plastic consumption and more specifically about so-called “compostable” plastic. This type of packaging is set to become more and more common as supermarkets attempt to tackle consumer demand for more eco friendly packaging. This is great news… isn’t it?

To the normal, every day consumer if you saw the word compostable on the back of a label, like me you would more than likely assume it was compostable in your home compost bin. Unfortunately you’d be wrong! Sadly SOME of these products are only compostable on an industrial level which means that only specific recycling plants are able to compost these types of items.

An example of this type of “compostable” material is plant based plastics such as corn starch. The sad truth is that less than 50% of recycling plants actually offer this type of industrial composting facility.

So what happens to the packaging if it can’t be industrially composted?

Compostable plastic CANNOT be recycled, and not only that it could potentially contaminate other recyclable plastics therefore it has to be put in general waste. Not only can it not be recycled but it will NOT BIODEGRADE under normal circumstances, therefore it puts it in a similar category to single use plastics. This also means that this ‘compostable’ packaging won’t biodegrade in your home compost bin either and so it shouldn’t be put in there!

But do the companies tell you this fact?

Probably not! I can tell you that I haven’t ever seen it mentioned on the packaging of certain items I’ve bought recently. A corn starch toothbrush from Jack N Jill for example.

I gave them the benefit of the doubt despite the toothbrush bristles being made or nylon as the toothbrush itself was made of corn starch plastic. The packaging was also made of paper with a corn starch blister packing. This product said compostable and when I contacted the company they told me it could go in my home compost bin but would take “considerably longer to degrade.”

We are now at a point where the toothbrush needs replacing so I’m gonna test there theory and let you know how I get on.

So how do we know if we can compost the packaging at home?

There are two logos to be aware of, the compostable logo (which means industrially compostable) and the home compostable logo (yes, go on and whack it in your home compost bin)

Home compostable

This is the logo you need to look out for if you want to be able to compost your packaging at home.

Industrially compostable

If you are lucky enough to have one of these elusive industrial composting facilities in your county then this is the logo you need to look out for. Be sure to contact your local council to find out what you need to do with this type of packaging.

Here are a few questionable products I’ve found so far…

Cheeky Panda toilet paper

Unbeknownst to me I had been buying The Cheeky Panda paper because it’s a great B Corp company. The only problem being the outer packaging was made of oxo plastic. This packaging cannot be recycled in your normal recycling because the plastic is oxo degradable.

What on Earth is an oxo degradable plastic?

Here is a cute little video from Oxo plastic giants Symphony Environmental to explain how this process ‘works.’

The European Parliament are so concerned about its eco credentials that they are even putting a ban in place to reduce the use of this type of plastic being used.

Thankfully it seems as though Cheeky Panda have substituted their D2W oxo degradable toilet paper packaging for alternative paper packaging! Phew!

Degradable and biodegradable bin liners

In theory all plastic bags are degradable, degradable just means they break down into smaller and smaller pieces of plastic! This DOES NOT make them eco friendly! Green washing at its best!

Just like these “degradable” bin liners from Ethical Superstore.

On the same lines as above I’ve also found degradable dog poo bags. Specifically these below from Beco pets.

These bags are being marketed as green but are made using D2W which is the oxo plastic as mentioned above.

Here is an example of a product which can actually degrade in a manner that is safe for the environment.

Home compostable caddy liners from Ethical Superstore

If you want to find out more about composting and these so-called ‘green’ plastic alternatives then there are some useful links at the bottom of this post.

If you are unsure about the packaging on any products you are interested in purchasing or already have at home then why not get in touch with the company via social media. Or feel free to contact me and I’ll do my best to find out ๐Ÿ˜Š

Don’t forget to check out the logo on your packaging and if you are unsure, don’t buy it.

If you have any great home compostable products or want to name and shame a company who is guilty of greenwashing, please do let me know in the comments or you can find me on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.

Don’t forgot to follow my blog for more zero waste inspiration and eco product reviews.

Come and join my army of eco warriors on the Thrifty Green Life Facebook group. I would love to see you there ๐Ÿ˜Š

Nikki

Useful links:

https://docs.european-bioplastics.org/2016/publications/fs/EUBP_fs_industrial_composting.pdf

https://www.european-bioplastics.org/bioplastics/standards/oxo-degradables/

https://www.newplasticseconomy.org

https://publications.europa.eu/en/publication-detail/-/publication/bb3ec82e-9a9f-11e6-9bca-01aa75ed71a1

https://docs.european-bioplastics.org/2016/publications/bp/EUBP_bp_additive-mediated_plastics.pdf

https://docs.european-bioplastics.org/2016/publications/EUBP_QA_enzyme-mediated_degradable_plastics.pdf

https://www.ows.be/news/oxo-degradable-plastics-do-they-biodegrade-in-search-of-a-definite-answer/

https://myplasticfreelife.com/2008/01/bittersweet-symphony-called-d2w/

http://lawprintpack.co.uk/news/curious-case-compostable-packaging/

https://www.european-bioplastics.org/eu-takes-action-against-oxo-degradable-plastics/

My nameโ€™s Nikki and I am an eco warrior! โ™ป๏ธ๐ŸŒŽ๐Ÿค˜๐Ÿป

When I first started Thrifty Green Life at the beginning of last year it was with the intention of documenting our families money saving journey. We made a plan to change our money wasting habits and find “thrifty” ways to make changes to our lifestyle. We wanted to own our home, but we had no money to be able to afford a deposit for a mortgage and this was our goal.

Over the last year I’ve realised that this blog and our journey has become so much more than I ever anticipated. It’s become less about saving money and more about protecting our planet and the health and future of my family.

We still desperately want to own our own home but we also want to build our own home. We dream of living a more minimalist, sustainable and self sufficient life. We still want to save money on unimportant things but we also want to spend the money that is necessary to improve our lives and the health of our family and the planet.

I never anticipated that I would become extremely passionate about zero waste, plastic free shopping and recycling. Or that I would become a forager, a gardener and start my very own eco community. But, here I am today, with my little old blog, documenting not only my journey to sustainability and self sufficiency but hopefully providing a useful source of info and inspiration to help you change the future of our planet too (If you want to ๐Ÿ˜Š)

Come and share our experiences and who knows, it may even inspire you to do the same! I promise I will have some amazing products and ideas to share with you along the way.

I am really excited for the year ahead and what ever experiences and challenges it may bring and I canโ€™t wait to share it all with you, 2019 Lets do this!

Fellow eco warrior? Don’t forget to…

1 – Follow my blog โœ”๏ธ

2 – Come and join my eco army (we are always recruiting ๐Ÿ˜‰) โœ”๏ธ

3 – Follow me on Instagram and Twitter โœ”๏ธ

Welcome to my thrifty Green Life

Nikki x

The Slow fashion revolution – Could Depop be the New Topshop?

For the last couple of weeks my teenage daughter and I have been absolutely obsessed with Depop. If you haven’t heard of it then I’ll give you a little brief explanation of what it is. It’s basically eBay for 2019 but for second hand clothing.

Now since doing my university dissertation on sustainability in the fashion industry in 2016, I’ve been a bit obsessed with finding ways of avoiding fast fashion. I’ve always really loved thrift shopping and like most people my go to thrifty shop is usually the local charity shop on the high street. One of the biggest problems I’ve encountered with charity shopping is that most of what’s available is pretty unfashionable, and as a fashionable but thrifty girl, I do struggle. I’ve tried charity shopping many times, some days I’d get an amazing find, but others there would be nothing. This has left me little choice but to, on occasion, go back and forth to Boohoo.com for a bargain fast fashion fix I’m not at all proud of. In fact, it’s pretty soul destroying.

But now for the silver cloud, I have now discovered Depop! I’ve heard it mentioned by fashion YouTubers when popping by my daughters bedroom to pick up washing (the usual!) but I didn’t really give it much thought.

But for some reason I decided to give it a go and downloaded the app. Depop is basically a place where cool, fashionable 18-30 somethings sell their unwanted cast offs. These are often people stuck in the fast fashion whirlpool who only want to be seen in the same item once or twice and then sell it off at a bargain price. These kids are friendly as hell, and are just as happy to converse with you about your style needs as they are to take your cash. It’s honestly great! To show you how great it is I have managed to convert a trend obsessed, fast fashion and high streetaholic (my 14 year old daughter) and now she has swapped her topshop sprees for Depop shops and is so excited about getting so much more for her money and helping the environment in the process.

Here’s a little list of all the bargains we have found on Depop so far in the last couple of weeks…

Brand new โ€œIn the styleโ€ Mom jeans – ยฃ13
Nike trainers – ยฃ10
Adidas Stan Smith trainers – ยฃ15
Hollister T shirt – ยฃ3
Topshop ripped jeans – ยฃ13
Vans T shirt – ยฃ6

And I even managed to find a gorgeous dress for an upcoming wedding for ยฃ8

and this seller couldn’t have been lovelier or more helpful. That’s the kind of service you don’t get from these big brands on the high street.

And here’s my little outfit! Hurrah! Am I cool again? ๐Ÿ˜‚

I’m converted, and if you are looking for an alternative way to shop which is not only kinder to the environment but is also kinder to your wallet then you should totally give Depop a go! What’s also great is you can sell your own unwanted clothing on there too. There is a small fee from the company when you sell and you also have to pay a postage fee on top of the final cost if you buy but postage costs tend to be very reasonable and under ยฃ3.

Have you tried Depop? I would love to hear from you!

Leave me a comment below and don’t forgot to follow my blog for more zero waste inspiration and eco product reviews.

Come and join my army of eco warriors on the Thrifty Green Life Facebook group. I would love to see you there ๐Ÿ˜Š

you can also find me on Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter

Nikki

Making a runner bean teepee โ›บ๏ธ

Since before we even acquired our allotment I’ve been busy thinking about ways I can make it a really fun and engaging place for my kids. I have a fourteen year old and a two year old, the age gap makes it really hard!

It’s really important to me and my husband to engage the children in the allotment as we want them to feel a connection to nature and to have a good understanding of where food comes from.

Last weekend we concentrated on making something that was both functional but also super fun for the littlest one. My husband has built us a runner bean teepee!

I’ve seen it a few times on Pinterest and fell in love with the idea and have been busy growing my runner beans for months in preparation.

It took my husband a few hours to build the actual structure, he built it using pieces of wooden batton which were going to be thrown away by a blind company. Apparently these are regularly thrown away so we are already thinking of other things we can make with them. (I would love any suggestions!)

Building the frame

Not only will it eventually be a really cool tent once it’s covered in leaves and vines but it’ll also make picking the beans a bit easier as me, and the little helpers will be able to pick from inside too. ๐Ÿ˜Š

Teepee all painted ๐Ÿ‘

Although I didnโ€™t help build, I did grow all the beans after all ๐ŸŒฑ

After a couple of hours waiting for paint to dry (literally ๐Ÿ˜‚) and getting the plants in their place, here’s our finished project ๐Ÿ‘Œ

The little one is very happy! Next zero waste project is strawberry guttering planters. Watch this space ๐Ÿ’š ๐Ÿ“

Have you tried to grow your own? I would love to hear from you!

Leave me a comment below and don’t forgot to follow my blog for more zero waste inspiration and eco product reviews.

Come and join my army of eco warriors on the Thrifty Green Life Facebook group. I would love to see you there ๐Ÿ˜Š

you can also find me on Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter

Nikki

Foraging; One of the thriftiest ways to get FREE food!

Last summer I discovered foraging! When I say the word foraging most people think of little squirrels gathering nuts for winter, and in a way you are exactly right, but in this instance you have to think of yourself as the squirrel and the woodlands, hedges and trees are the nuts!

For my birthday last year I was given a collection of River Cottage books and one of them was all about foraging.

After reading through I became fascinated by the idea of picking wild foods (that were free!) and went off out during the summer holidays on a quest to find some incredible edibles. I was able to spot Hazel, walnut and even Burdock.

Burdock

I gathered damsons, haw berries and the classic foraged fruit, blackberries.

The best thing I collected had to be a Passion flower fruit.

If you’ve ever seen passion flowers you’ll know that these are some of the most beautiful flowers you’ll ever see. For that reason I decided to try and cultivate my own passion flower plant from the fruit I picked. I planted the fruit in a pot of soil, I left it weeks and forgot about it. Nothing grew ๐Ÿ˜ญ and so I decided to throw the soil from the pot into the garden. As I did so I noticed loads of tiny roots! I quickly gathered the soil back up along with the roots and put them back into the pot! I couldn’t actually believe it had worked! And so, my little Passion flower plant grew, and the three vines that survived are now planted outside and will hopefully grow some fruits of their own after being moved to its final place by the front door.

I didn’t actually try the fruit so I’m really excited to actually grow some of my own.

Back to foraging… When I first started Thrifty Green Life one of my objectives was to save money where ever possible, so foraging fitted perfectly into this ideal (have you seen how expensive berries are?)

And so going back to my birthday last year again, I was also given a foraging course as a present from my lovely friends. I had to wait until spring this year to take part as apparently this is the best time of year for foraging. So, this weekend my husband and I went on our foraging course in beautiful Studland near Swanage.

We identified Jack by the hedge (or garlic mustard)

Jack by the hedge

This was delicious, with a mild garlic flavour, it would be absolutely yummy on a salad.

Plantain
Plantain

Turns out there’s another type of plantain, not the bananary type, this amazing plant has antibacterial properties so forget the myth of the doc leaf and if you do get stung then this is your go to plant!

Even the evil little plants have a purpose after all, if you take a young baby nettle leaf near the top of the plant, roll it in a ball and crush the needles in your fingers you can eat it! I was rather scared of doing this but after watching the course leader do it safely I tried myself. Much to my surprise nettles taste really yummy! We even stopped for a spot of nettle tea which was quite nice too,but don’t get me wrong, I won’t be swapping my Yorkshire tea for nettle tea anytime soon ๐Ÿ˜‚

Did you know you can eat goose grass? (better known as sticky weed) neither did I! But… I wouldn’t bother, it’s bloody disgusting ๐Ÿ˜‚

We found ground ivy which you can also eat.

Ground ivy

And gorce, a very spiky bush with pretty yellow flowers from the pea family. The flowers are edible. I didn’t enjoy these at all they tasted really bitter and metallic.

Gorce

but the absolute highlight of the whole course was walking through the most amazing wood filled with wild garlic!

I’ve never seen or tasted wild garlic before but it was honestly incredible. The leaves have the most amazing garlic flavour and the flower heads have a garlic pepper burst that leaves a spicy tang in your mouth.

Wild garlic

My husband said he’d never seen anything like it and it was like being in a garlic infused fairytale ๐Ÿ˜‚

It was so beautiful. The backdrop was the ocean between the trees, truly stunning.

The best part was I was able to collect some to take home.

and we had some wild garlic and rosemary butter basted chicken with our Sunday roast. Heaven!

So, if you’ve never tried foraging you should absolutely give it a go, it’s so satisfying! You never know what you’re going to get, and the best part is it’s completely free!

If you enjoyed my post feel free to leave me a comment below or tweet me ๐Ÿ˜Š

Thrifty Green Life – Eco army

Come and join my army of eco warriors on the Thrifty Green Life Facebook group. I would love to see you there ๐Ÿ˜Š

you can also find me on Instagram and Twitter ๐Ÿ˜Š follow the hashtag #thriftygreenlife for all things eco!

Nikki

The Allotment Diaries: Part 2

It’s been a super busy couple of months since my last update. I’ve been planning and sowing in preparation for planting on the allotment and I’ve also been doing a lot of work in my edible back garden.

I’ve been doing a lot of research on companion planting so I can plan exactly what is going to go with what and where. So far it seems to be going well. It helps me to decide what vegetable seeds to sow and what edible flowers will help attract bees and hopefully keep the pests away.

These are my garden raised beds, the second one needs more filling then I can plant my veggies out once they are ready.

In my garden raised bed we have two types of potatoes (Maris Piper and Charlotte) My spring onion plants and chives were doing well until my potatoes went a bit wild the last week and are now hiding the spring onions so I might have to relocate them!

Potato plants

I’ve got two established broad bean plants, and a few seedlings have just started coming through. I’m not even sure I like broad beans but I really like growing beans and the flowers are really unusual.

Broad beans

I have also planted some more garlic, but my original shop bought garlic is doing well in comparison to the nursery garlic I planted weeks ago which hasn’t shown its face yet!

Garlic

I have recently planted out my cauliflower plants. After an initial purple spell which I’m told is quite normal they have gone back to green and are growing very well.

Cauliflowers

I had to discard some of my cauliflower seedlings as I planted too many. Note to self; Don’t sow the whole packet of seeds in one go as now you have a million cauliflower plants to find a home for! Lol.

I have a little space left in my first bed for some flowers to attract the pollinators. I’m currently growing Nasturtiums, marigolds and chamomile in my green house for this bed. These make fabulous companion plants for these vegetables.

My tomato plants are doing amazingly, they are really happy in the greenhouse so that’s where they will stay for the time being. My scotch bonnet chillies are back indoors and are growing much better now.

Tomato plants

The allotment

I have also just acquired an allotment so I have tons of space to grow! Feeling very lucky. There’s a lot of work to do there still, we’ve built four raised beds but only one is filled and ready to use. So I’ve been busy deweeding and planning what I’m going to grow there. (Probably more cauliflowers!!)

I have been growing cucumber, courgette and beetroot seedlings which I will plant there when they are ready.

Courgettes
Cucumbers which are a little slower to grow compared to the courgettes

I have also sown chantenay carrots, red onions, leeks and sweetcorn to go in the bed when the weather warms up. A few more marigolds and nasturtiums and we have ourselves a veg bed ๐Ÿ™‚

We are also planning a runner bean teepee for our two year old to play in and now. I’ve been growing our runner bean plants in preparation so they are ready to plant out on the allotment once the teepee is built.

It’s surprising how quickly these little beans grow. I can’t remember exactly when I sowed the seeds (should really start writing it down) but they are doing so well! I initially put them in the greenhouse but brought them back in as it seemed too cold and they started to grow within a few days of being indoors on my window sill. They are back in the greenhouse for the time being as the weather is improving and they are thriving!

Runner beans

I’ve got also got some alpine and regular strawberries in hanging baskets which were in the greenhouse for a few months. Keeping them in the green house really sped up their growth and now they are lush and green and are outside ready to be transplanted in their own palette planter. I’ll take a photo of this when it’s finished. We need to get this done ASAP as the strawberries are now producing runners so we can make even more strawberry plants for next year. We are big fans of strawberries in our house ๐Ÿ˜Š

Have you tried to grow your own? I would love to hear from you!

Leave me a comment below and don’t forgot to follow my blog for more zero waste inspiration and eco product reviews.

Come and join my army of eco warriors on the Thrifty Green Life Facebook group. I would love to see you there ๐Ÿ˜Š

you can also find me on Instagram and Twitter ๐Ÿ˜Š follow the hashtag #thriftygreenlife for all things eco!

Nikki

How to have an eco friendly Easter

I have to shamefully admit that this is the first Easter in my 34 years that I’ve even considered the environmental impacts of Easter and it’s many plastic packaged eggs.

This year, on my mission to plastic free I wanted to see exactly what plastic free eggs were on offer to me and the increasingly eco conscious consumer.

After some serious research I have finally put together my top picks for a plastic free Easter. So here’s my guide to the most eco friendly Easter eggs for your loved ones.

HIGH END EASTER

The following options are in the ยฃ6-ยฃ10 price range. I didn’t look at luxury eggs as frankly paying more than ยฃ10 for an Easter egg is mental in my eyes and realistically what parents with an average income can afford this? Especially with more than one child. So with being thrifty and eco friendly in mind, here are my more expensive Easter options.

Montezuma Organic Eco egg

Montezuma have aptly named this chocolate egg the Eco Egg. The egg is available in three flavours, dark chocolate with cocoa nib, white chocolate and raspberry and milk chocolate with butterscotch (none of which I have tried myself yet!)

The egg is wrapped in foil and the outside packaging is made with biodegradable paper and a recyclable sleeve.

The individual price ranges from store to store at ยฃ6 to ยฃ9 with the cheapest available from at Sainsburys at ยฃ6. Grab yourself a bargain while they last cos I don’t imagine they’ll be around for long.

Booja Booja dairy free Easter egg – ยฃ9.95

This stunningly gorgeous, hand painted chocolate egg from dairy free brand Booja Booja is almost too pretty to eat.

The small egg is expensive at around ยฃ10 but the large egg is astronomical at an eye watering ยฃ26.99. Both ribbon tied and possibly a lovely gift for a special one at Easter and best of all completely plastic free!

Hotel Chocolat Quail eggs in sustainable box

Scanning the Hotel Chocolat website for plastic free chocolate is a difficult task, the majority of Easter items have a plastic element. So when I stumbled across the quails eggs in sustainable box I was quite surprised. Hotel Chocolat have updated their Quail egg packaging and ditched the plastic. The quail eggs are little individual truffles and the box is made from sugar cane so completely compostable.

Hotel Chocolat do have delicious chocolate treats but at ยฃ10 for 12 little eggs I’ll probably be giving these a miss!

MID RANGE EASTER

The Real Easter Egg by the meaningful chocolate company.

Fair trade, palm oil free and reasonably priced at only ยฃ4.50, (ยฃ4 in Morrisons) The Real Easter egg by the meaningful chocolate company is completely plastic free and also comes with a 24 page activity book based on the real reason we celebrate Easter (I appreciate the religious element isn’t for everyone) stocked in Asda, Tesco, Waitrose and Morrison’s.

The company replaced their plastic packaging for 2019 after a survey revealed a preference for plastic free from survey participants.

This is also the UK’s only charity Easter egg as well.

More than 400 eggs have been donated to food banks across the UK. For me despite not being religious myself I think this is a pretty strong contender for value and ethics.

Divine chocolate Easter Eggs

Fairtrade, vegan and palm oil free Divines whole range of Dairy free Easter eggs are completely plastic free and available wrapped in foil in a recyclable cardboard box. Individual eggs are priced from ยฃ5 each.

Green and blacks organic dark chocolate Easter eggs

Foil wrapped dark chocolate egg with a cardboard box, some of these eggs also contain a bar of chocolate wrapped in foil and paper. They come in three flavours and are usually ยฃ6 but Only ยฃ4 at the moment in Sainsburys.

Supermarket own brand Easter eggs

Trying to get information from the supermarkets on their plastic free options was like trying to get blood out of a stone, no one really wanted to tell me what they offered in regards of plastic free options, not even to talk about their own brand Easter eggs. What I did get back was avoidance of the subject and a load of pre written PR crap.

I didn’t have time to visit all the supermarkets individually to look for myself (busy mum of two) but here are some of the responses I received online from them.

whilst the plastic casing was removed from Waitrose coconut egg the box still has a plastic window! Honestly what is the point?

Thornton’s was one of the most infuriating responses and so long!

and from what I learnt from looking at Thornton’s eggs in the supermarket all had a plastic window on the box and I imagine plastic casing inside. That explains the overly unnecessary response.

Marks and Spencer’s response was equally as bad.

I got no response from Asda or Tesco.

I only visited Sainsbury’s in person but I did try to check all websites of the other supermarkets. I’d love to know if anyone else has had any luck finding plastic free eggs in any of the other supermarkets.

I’m using sainsburys as an example of how not to do Easter as I was particularly annoyed with their Twitter response when asked about this topic.

Turns out Sainsburys were one of the worst offenders for plastic on their own brand Easter products.

I found plastic netted chocolates and assorted plastic eggs *sigh* in Sainsburys, Asda, Morrison’s, Tesco.

However, Sainsburys and ASDA had an Easter bunny wrapped in foil and Sainsburys are selling paint your own ceramic Easter eggs for ยฃ5.

BEST OF THE REST

I contacted Cadbury and Mars to ask which of their eggs were plastic free. Cadbury’s didn’t respond and Mars response was rather confusing. They named three products which were supposedly plastic free but when I looked into it myself they were not plastic free at all! I was actually unable to find any Mars Easter eggs which were plastic free. All of the eggs had either packets of sweets or bars wrapped in plastic. Even the Maltesers Bunny egg had a plastic packaged bunny in it. So disappointed as Mars is my favourite and one of the better value options.

CADBURYS

All Cadbury’s giant Easter eggs contain a packet or bar of sweets wrapped in plastic which is a huge shame as the eggs are wrapped in foil. The boxes are recyclable cardboard but they have a clear plastic Window. However, I did manage to find a few Cadbury’s eggs that were plastic free which is good news for the family as we are big Cadbury fans.

Cadbury Dairy Milk Easter egg – 75g and 72g

Both of these eggs are essentially the same and the same price at ยฃ1. The only difference is one is inside a cardboard box.

Cadbury’s Creme Egg

Both the large egg and the two Creme Eggs are wrapped in foil and the box is recyclable cardboard.

Cadbury’s mini bunnies

Foil wrapped and cardboard packaging.

Cadbury full size bunny

Cadbury’s cream eggs, caramel egg, Oreo egg – all wrapped in foil. Multi packs are packaged in foil and cardboard.

Cadbury’s bunny toy and Easter egg. Whilst this isn’t plastic packaging the toy is made from 100% polyester!

Thornton’s had nothing plastic free to offer.

Lindt

Every Lindt Easter egg had a plastic window in their packaging so for this reason I couldn’t list them. The only Lindt Easter chocolate I could add to my list is the classic Lindt foil wrapped bunny. These are available in small and large and white and milk chocolate. You will also find these everywhere at Easter!

Kinder

We absolutely love Kinder in the Jones household but the only Kinder Easter chocs I could find which were plastic free were Kinder friends on a trip. Foil wrapped in cardboard bus.

Nestle

Nestle had the most plastic free Easter offerings of all the brands.

The small Milkbar Easter Egg, foil wrapped and boxed in cardboard.

The Milkybar Milky Barn is also plastic free and consumers are encouraged to make a puppet show out of the box, quite sweet.

Milkybar Egg hunt pack

Milkybar bunny

Smarties Hen house and smarties Easter egg hunt pack

So what now?

All of the brands are really letting themselves down with the plastic packaged sweets that come with the foil wrapped eggs. If they could go back to the old skool way and put the sweets inside the egg itself then the plastic problem would be solved!Also, putting plastic windows in boxes is also a cause for concern.

Supermarkets need to ditch the plastic windows and netting and really up their game for next year as they are all very disappointing.

As for the foil, perhaps there needs to be another way forward, as whilst it’s not plastic, foil can have its own environmental impacts.

What are the alternatives?

Make your own eggs!

I’ve never attempted to do this before as I’m not great at this type of thing but if it avoids plastic then it might be worth considering. Be aware that some chocolate bars are packaged in plastic so to use these to melt and make your own eggs would defeat the object of not buying a plastic encased egg in the first place.

To get you started ASDA sell silicone egg moulds to help you on your way, these are easily cleaned and can be used for Easter’s to come saving for a fortune on over priced posh choc eggs!

I hope this post helped you make the right decisions for your family and the environment this Easter. Obviously I haven’t listed all the plastic free eggs that exist as I’m sure there are many more out there, so if you know of any other plastic free eggs I can add to the list please feel free to leave me a comment below or tweet me.

Have a lovely Eco Easter!

Come and join my army of eco warriors on the Thrifty Green Life Facebook group. I would love to see you there ๐Ÿ˜Š

you can also find me on Instagram and Twitter ๐Ÿ˜Š follow the hashtag #thriftygreenlife for all things eco!

Nikki

Why I think cash back sites are a saving game changer

Saving money can often seem like an thankless task, especially when there always seems to be something that needs paying for. Unfortunately, no matter how hard you try to save there are some things we simply canโ€™t avoid paying out for. Has your washing machine broken? Do the kids need new clothes? Is it Aunt Sally’s birthday already? For those unavoidable purchases youโ€™ll be surprised to know you can actually get cash back for your purchases. I want to introduce you to my newest find on the journey to saving money, TopCashBack <<Cue applause!>>

If you make your purchase via the TopCashBack website or app you can get a percentage of your purchase back. Retailers such as Argos, M&S, ASOS, eBay, Debenhams, George and Matalan amongst many others full retailer list here) have joined to give you money back on your purchases. Time frames for cash back varies depending on the retailer and can sometimes take a few months to reach your account but if nothing else then at least you can save without even thinking about it. I’m. Fantastic spender but not such a great saver so this for me is the ideal way for me to save.

An even more useful section on the Top Cash Back site focuses on utility companies If you are looking to change energy suppliers or phone providers TopCashBack is definitely the place to go. I managed to gain ยฃ11 back in one transaction by opening a new 30 day sim-only contract with Plusnet, something I was going to do anyway, bonus!

For home improvement purchases get cash back from B&Q, Screwfix, Dunelm and Homesense to name but a few.

Itโ€™s not just the obvious companies that have gotten involved, you can gain cash back on airport parking and hire cars for those unavoidable trips. Save money on birthday and Christmas presents with Gift experiences from Buy a gift, Virgin Experience days and Red Letter Days with as much as 13.65% Cash Back.

The only two downsides I’ve found so far and one particular thing to be aware of is when you sign up you are automatically put onto the sites “plus” membership (yearly fee ยฃ5, with little to no worthwhile benefits) as opposed to the free membership so once you earn your first ยฃ5 it will be taken off! Make sure you chose free membership if it gives you the option or if it doesn’t which I don’t remember being asked make sure you switch it back in your account settings on the desktop site. The second downside is that some purchases may not track, I’ve had to open a dispute for two so far, one exclusively from Plusnet as it didn’t appear and the other a cancelled purchase from Gatwick parking. They can take up to three months to resolve so do be aware of this and don’t make purchases based on how much cash back you think you’ll get as it may not always go through based on whether or not you meet the terms and conditions.

Another amazing cash back site I discovered only today is KidStart, this site is designed as an additional way for families to save money for little ones using the same principles as other cash back sites. Like TopCashBack, KidStart also has an app. One of the most appealing parts for me was the availability of cash back from Amazon. I make a lot of my everyday purchases on Amazon so to gain money back for these is great news for my bank balance. As far as I’m aware Amazon do not affiliate with TopCashBack or any other site of this kind either so its the only place Iโ€™ve found that I can get cash back on Amazon purchases. It’s a little slow to register your purchases though, I’ve made two and they’ve still not shown up but I did get an email straight after confirming my purchase so don’t worry too much as I’m sure it’ll show up eventually.

There are other cash back sites such as Quidco but I havenโ€™t had any experience with this one yet, itโ€™s worth looking into different sites for your country as there may be many others, this is specifically this UK based.

Iโ€™d love to know if you have had any personal experience with cash back sites or if you have any others youโ€™d like to share with me. Leave your thoughts in the comments ๐Ÿ˜Š

P.S This is not an affiliated post I just think cash back sites are pretty damn awesome.

Happy saving!

Come and join my army of eco warriors on the Thrifty Green Life Facebook group. I would love to see you there ๐Ÿ˜Š

Please leave a message in the comments, you can also find me on Instagram and Twitter ๐Ÿ˜Š follow the hashtag #thriftygreenlife for all things eco!

Eco sell outs – When โ€œethicalโ€ companies put money before morals

This week I learnt that “eco” brands Ecover and Method have been bought out by Johnson and Johnson. (I’m a little bit late to the party as the announcement was made in December last year!) I also learnt that J&J test on animals, a fact I had also been blissfully unaware of despite having used various products on both my children over the last 14 years.

I decided I would look into this some more just to be certain and sure enough the evidence was there in black and white!

https://www.peta.org/issues/animals-used-for-experimentation/shareholder-campaigns/johnson-johnson-shareholder-campaign/

https://www.jnj.com/about-jnj/company-statements/guideline-on-the-humane-care-use-of-animals

Back to Ecover…. as an eco advocate I naturally stumbled across Ecover as a brand. I’ve been using many of their products, from fabric condition to washing up liquid prior to learning this new info.

I was naturally disappointed, and as a certified B corp I thought they were a pretty safe bet. Their B Corp status was just one of the many reasons I have been a supporter of them up until now.

A few reasons why I chose to purchase Ecover products…

The company stands for “Clean business,” (Fair trade, BCorp)

Clean plastic,” (if there is such a thing?! it’s recycled plastic anyhow)

Clean water (Phosphate free, low water usage)

“Clean sourcing,” (sustainable ingredients and supply chain)

But interestingly on this subject is their “Clean ingredients,” statement (mostly plant-based, renewable, biodegradable and VEGAN FRIENDY!)

I have a question for you, how can a vegan friendly company with a leaping bunny certification to state they NEVER TEST ON ANIMALS, allow themselves to be sold to a company who actively and so publically TEST ON ANIMALS?!

This whole dilemma begs the question why would a company with credentials such as these sell them selves out like this? Turns out money speaks louder than brand values and customer loyalty! But do we have to put up with actions like these from our chosen brands?

The body shop is a very famous example of how decisions like this can go horribly wrong for ethical businesses. In 2000 Naturewatch launched a boycott Bodyshop campaign after the Bodyshop was sold to cosmetic giants L’Oreal. The boycott lasted ten years, only ending in 2017 after new owners Natura updated their animal cruelty policies to industry gold standard.

Actions like these show us just how strong consumer power is in this century, and how it is becoming increasingly more powerful in the age of social media.

I spend a lot of time on Twitter engaging with other people with a vested interest in climate change, other eco bloggers etc and I see a lot of these types of campaigns. I’ve also personally reached out to a few companies on their plastic usage. Calling companies out in public is a great way of highlighting not only the problem but also encouraging brands to look at their own practices and listen to consumers.

As much power as these big corporations have is nothing compared to the power we ourselves yield as the consumer. We can choose what we buy, how much we buy, how often we buy and who we buy it from. If you look at it like that who really has the power? Us! We do, we are the consumers and we choose what we consume, simple.

Choose your products and companies wisely and we can slowly change the way these companies operate and how much power they really have over us and our buying decisions. If their company values aren’t in line with your own, don’t buy from them, simple ๐Ÿ˜Š

Sorry ECover, I’m out.

The Allotment Diaries: Part 1

I’ve been so busy for the last month growing lots of vegetable seedlings in my journey to sustainable living. My house had officially been taken over by plants so I decided to buy a greenhouse for the garden.

Today I finally planted out the broad beans I’ve been growing for weeks, and Jude and I planted a few more beans straight into the bed.

Whilst I was planting I noticed a few unusual looking plants emerging from the soil and then I realised that my Maris Piper seed potatoes were finally showing.

I counted about 8 of them and I’m so happy as it’s the first time I’ve ever grown potatoes and they’ve taken a long time to come up. I’m still waiting for my Charlotte potatoes to come up but I know they’re ok as I accidentally dug one up today ๐Ÿ™ˆ

I repotted six cauliflower plants into their own pots after initially sewing far too many seeds in one go.

I tried to choose the strongest plants but it was hard to separate the roots so I don’t know how well they will do.

I’ve learnt a valuable lesson from this and I’m now only planting one seed per module. It’ll be a miracle if the cauliflowers survive but here’s hoping. The cauliflowers will be planted with the potatoes, broad beans, garlic and eventually spring onions. I’ve done a lot of research on companion planting so this combination should work well together.

In other news we spent a very beautiful Sunday at our allotment this weekend. My husband and his dad built four raised beds and we prepared one for planting, we mixed in some soil and then I literally spent the afternoon shovelling shit! Let’s hope the plants like it! ๐Ÿ˜‚

Three more to prepare, lots more to do but we are getting there slowly.

We even got to take home some delicious rhubarb from a plant that was already growing on our patch!

I can tell you it made the most incredible rhubarb crumble for after our Sunday roast. It was a great end to a great day.

That’s all from me for now but follow me on Instagram for more updates.

Have you tried to grow your own? I would love to hear from you. Leave me a comment below, and don’t forgot to follow my blog for more zero waste inspiration and eco product reviews.

Come and join my army of eco warriors on the Thrifty Green Life Facebook group. I would love to see you there ๐Ÿ˜Š

you can also find me on Instagram and Twitter ๐Ÿ˜Š follow the hashtag #thriftygreenlife for all things eco!

Nikki