With summer finally in full swing here I have a few road trips coming up! Since going zero waste I've taken a few road trips and after a few mishaps I have learned what I need to bring with me to reduce waste on my trip. Here's my list of what I'll be bringing with me on all my road trips this summer:
1. Grocery Bags:
While you may not be planning on going grocery shopping I find that I inevitably do. Whether it's on my way home and I want to stop at the grocery store to restock my fridge or trying to stock up on snacks while I'm on vacation I always end up at the grocery store. The last couple times I've gone on a road trip I've forgotten my bags because I just wasn't thinking! Now I put them on my packing list so I'll always have them. But if you do happen to forget your bags don't sweat it! Just ask for paper bags at check out and you can recycle or compost them when you get home.
2. Travel Mugs/Cups:
These are a must for any road trip! If you plan to stop for coffee bring your travel mugs and see if they will let you use them (with the pandemic this won't always be possible). Another thing they're useful is for storing water! Once I'm on the road I can't always just refill my water bottle whenever so I like to always have extra to prevent me from having to buy a plastic water bottle at the gas station.
3. Travel Utensils and Reusable Napkins:
Bring your travel utensils and some reusable napkins with you on the road. This way when you stop for food you can say no to getting these extra items when you don't need them!
4. Bring Enough:
While I know one of the core tenants of living a low-waste lifestyle is minimalism, for your trip don't fret about overpacking. This is especially useful if you're taking a road trip and have extra room in the car. Just pack enough so that you are prepared. Even if you don't think it will rain, bring a rain jacket or umbrella! This way in the chance it completely downpours you don't need to buy a new umbrella when you have one sitting at home. Just bring enough with you to be prepared and you won't need to buy as many (or any) "emergency things"
5. What You Already Have:
Last but not least be sure that you are using what you have before buying new things for your trip. And this goes for just about anything! For example, several years ago I bought a travel sized shampoo and conditioner and keep it in my overnight bag. I don't need to replace these with a plastic free option when I haven't even used them up yet. And when I do use them up I'll keep them to refill with my own shampoo and conditioner for trips rather than buying travel sized liquid containers! Remember: the most sustainable thing is the thing you already have.
At the end of the day we are all trying our best to live the most sustainably we can. If you take a road trip and forget something and need to create some waste remember that it's going to be okay. Having a week where you aren't perfect to enjoy yourself is well worth it in the long run when you're reducing your waste the other 51 weeks of the year.
My blog post on Tofu Recipes for Tofu Haters got a lot of love so I wanted to make a part 2 with some more amazing recipes that I've recently discovered! Tofu is great because it's high in protein and comes with zero cholesterol and it's so versatile you can make it into almost anything. Plus, since it's spongey by nature it absorbs things very quickly meaning if you're pressed for time you only need to marinade it for a few minutes and it will still taste like it was marinated for hours.
Crispy Baked Tofu
Okay I got this recipe from Goodful when Rachel made Chicken Souvlaki into a vegan dish for her mom. And while the recipe overall looked amazing I couldn't get the way she baked the tofu out of my head so I went to the store and bought skewers just to try making tofu this way and hoped for the best. Not going to lie it was phenomenal. The tofu crisped up perfectly all the way around and in the marinade tasted amazing. This is now our go-to tofu cooking method when we have the time for it and it tastes amazing in so many dishes!
Here is the recipe--
Marinade (you can easily change this to match any dish but this is a good place to start):
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (if you don't have this & aren't vegan powdered chicken broth works just as well)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon dried rosemary
½ teaspoon sweet paprika
1 bay leaf
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
Mix this all together in a bowl and after pressing the tofu for 30 min rip it apart in bite sized chunks and slowly stir into the marinade. The recipe I found this from said to marinade for 2 hours but I found 15-30 min works perfectly fine!
After the tofu is done marinating skewer the pieces and lay across a baking pan to catch any drip. Then put in the oven at 375F for 30-35 min. About halfway through cooking rotate the skewers to ensure they cook evenly.
It seriously comes out delicious! We've now put it over a greek salad as our protein and over Avgolemono Soup and it was amazing every time!
As a small hack/waste savings since tofu isn't raw meat I kept the marinade in my fridge and reused it for the next batch!
This is a great lunch recipe with tofu! And fairly simple/customizable too. I just started out with my spinach wrap and topped on hummus, spinach, roasted red peppers, tomatoes and cucumbers. And then of course some pan fried tofu just quickly seasoned with a home-made salad dressing that Kyle made. This was a delicious and easy lunch for the week for me!
These tacos might be my nw favorite at-home-taco I've made! Here's the recipe we used.
For the Tacos:
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cayenne
Then crumble the tofu into the marinade and mix well making sure the tofu is evenly crumbled. Then place onto a baking pan and bake for 30-35 min at 350F. Be sure to stir the tofu every 10 min or so, and more frequently towards the end to ensure it doesn't burn. Once done and you take it out of the oven pour the salsa into the baking pan and mix to incorporate.
While the tofu is baking make the avocado-cilantro dressing.
For the Dressing:
In a blender or food processor mix together-
1 clove of garlic
1/2 tsp of salt
1/2 tsp of pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tbsp fresh cilantro
1 lime juiced
This makes a perfect creamy dressing that can be used in place of sour cream and can be made entirely zero waste! Not to mention we both loved it so much I had to make a second batch mid-week, now that's a 5-star rating if I've ever seen one!
Lastly we decided to pickle some onions to place on top which truly was the perfect thing to add! Kyle made these without a recipe so here's a Quick Pickled Onion recipe for anyone who's a little more like me and needs to go off a recipe!
Crispy Baked Tofu
This recipe took us a couple of tries to get right but after we did it tasted amazing! We found this in a cookbook Kyle's parents had called Mostly Plants. I'll give you our edited version here.
Put it all together over some rice and be sure to add some more chopped peppers and green onions to garnish!
These are just a few of the tofu recipes I'm currently loving, what tofu recipes should I try next? Comment them down below!
Now that we're in a new season seems like the perfect time for me to put together another guide on storing food to reduce food waste! I love researching and learning how to properly store my produce when I buy things now so that I'm not wasting as much food which is always the goal. If there's anything specific you want to learn how to store comment below and I'll add it to my next list! And if you want to check out part one of this series read it here.
1. Leafy Greens
Anything from lettuce to kale and spinach can all be stored the same way! Place a reusable paper towel down in your Tupperware container and then fill in your greens! This will help absorb any excess moisture to stop them from going bad as quickly.
I love this one. Place broccoli in a jar standing upright like a bouquet of flowers. Fill the jar with water so that the stem of the broccoli is submerged and put it in your fridge!
This one I just recently learned about, I love strawberries but I hardly ever buy them because they go bad so fast- but not anymore! Place strawberries in an airtight jar and they'll last in your fridge for a week and then some!
This will be just like the broccoli, submerge the bottom of a jar in water and place cilantro standing up in it in the fridge.
I've been making mango/pineapple smoothies almost everyday now that mangoes are in season! And they're actually pretty easy to store. Keep them out on your counter until they're ripe and then put them in your fridge until they're ready to use! Only warning I will give you is while they're out on the counter make it a goal to check them each day, my mango looked fine from above but when I went to check it the bottom had bruised up and it had gone bad, which was unfortunate.
What produce items do you always have on hand and how do you store them? Let me know in the comments below!
With Plastic Free July just around the corner, how do you plan on breaking free from plastic? While it's nearly impossible for us to avoid plastic in every aspect of our lives, there's a lot we can do to reduce plastic on not just an individual level - but on a societal level as well.
While I do believe that individual actions can create change, hence why I'm out here trying to reduce my waste no matter how small, what creates even bigger change is supporting legislation that enforces environmental policies, and holds companies accountable for all of the waste and pollution that they create. The Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act is helping to address these issues. Check out their website here to learn more about the mission of the act and see what you can do to support it. There's a great option to contact your representatives and request their support on the act (the letter is already pre-written for you too-- unless you want to make any changes to it there's very little work on your end).
Additionally, if you want to write your own letter to your representative check out this guide by Shelbizlee that gives a great clear outline for what you should say when writing to your representatives!
Attached below is a fact sheet from the break free from plastic act so you can learn more about the act and its goals for addressing our plastic problem.
**Update to add that Imperfect Foods has begun taking back any gel packs or aluminum packing that came in your order to reuse with future orders, making this even more zero waste!
Incase you missed it last week we tried out Misfits Market for the first time. While we decided it wasn't the best fit for us, we were still excited about the idea of having a grocery delivery service for sustainable groceries. Enter Imperfect Foods. This is another delivery service I've heard of and from what I had read it had slightly different features than Misfits Market, so we figured this week we'd give it a try!
I'm going to break down my whole Imperfect Foods experience for you the same way I did with Misfits Market, then I'll be making a comparison post to showcase the different pros and cons of each service compared with your local grocery store option as well. Here are my thoughts:
The Set Up:
Setting up my account was really easy. I put in my zip code and email so I could be sure they delivered to my area and then created my username and password. Once logged in I saw that my delivery date would be Friday and was told I would be able to log in to make my selections starting Monday at 1 pm through Wednesday at noon.
I think that not being able to choose your delivery date is a con because if you don't work from home it wouldn't be great to have all your groceries sitting out if your delivery date is on a weekday. However, for me personally I want my groceries delivered on a Friday and that's the date I got so I was perfectly happy with it!
Choosing My Box:
I picked the medium produce box for $22 after shipping. I thought this would be a good fit. However, in the end it didn't really matter what box I picked because you add all of your items in individually and your total is based on what you buy. Imperfect Foods is great because you can fully customize your box and there aren't any restrictions by placing foods into groups etc. Also they let you know what's wrong with the items where you add them to your cart so you can decide if the imperfections are something you're okay with. I really liked this added feature because it helped me decide between organic and inorganic broccoli based on what imperfections I was okay with etc.
While you can fully customize the box, they do start you off with a full produce box in your cart of seasonal items. If you forget to go in and make any selections this is what you'll be sent for the week. While I don't love that, one feature I did really like is that you can select a "never list" of food items you would never want to receive. You can also add in recurring weekly items so that they know if you want anything each week and what quantity.
Another thing I really liked was that their grocery section of the site was really well built out with tons of options. They also had skincare and lotion (all zero/low waste options too) that I have a hard time finding. I felt that everything was priced reasonably too.
With Imperfect Foods your cart just sits until the cut off date and time when it's submitted, so even after you're "done" you don't fully submit it on your own. It made me a little nervous to not "check out" my cart but after the cut off time I received an email stating that my order had been placed.
The delivery process was very smooth, I received a text on Friday when my order was out for delivery with an estimated delivery time and I could see what number my delivery was in the queue. I also received a text right after the package was delivered so I was able to go grab it and bring it in!
The packaging I thought was great! It was very minimal, just a cardboard box. My special add ons I chose were in a recyclable aluminum bag with an ice pack.
After last week's box from Misfits Market I was feeling cautious about how the produce might be. However, we were pleasantly surprised with how great the produce was. Honestly it was all stuff I would have picked out at the grocery store -- actually the romaine lettuce heads where HUGE and I probably should have ordered 2 rather than 3.
All this to say we've converted to Imperfect Foods! We loved the experience and the produce and are going to keep up our subscription and spend hopefully less time at the grocery store from now on!
Would you try a grocery delivery service? And if so which one and why? Let me know in the comments below!
*Links to Imperfect Foods are my refer a friend link, if used you'll get $20 off your first 4 orders and I'll get $30 off my next order too :)
I'm not a huge fan of Zero Waste DIY's honestly. I feel that more often than not the product comes out subpar and the effort I put into it just isn't worth the end result. And most of the time if I can find the ingredients near me I can't get them without plastic. However, this is DIY is one of those rare occurrences where it's easier, cheaper, less waste and it works just as well as what I would buy in the store. And that's my leave-in conditioner.
Using a leave-in conditioner is pretty standard for people with wavy/curly hair, I don't need quite as much for my hair because it's more fine and on the thinner side. Which is why I love that I can customize this leave-in conditioner to meet the needs of my hair.
I use a spray bottle I bought last year and fill it with water. Then I add in several drops of my Plaine Products conditioner, some drops of a liquid protein treatment and voila! That's literally it. The beauty in this is that you can use it and then continue to tweak the ratios until it's right for you and your hair.
The protein drops that I use I got last year and honestly think they will last me forever given that I use less than 10 drops a month. However if you're looking for a zero waste alternative to these I found these from A Simple Planet. I plan on replacing mine with these if I ever do run out.
Obviously how much you use will depend on how often you wash your hair and how much hair you have but I find I can go 4-6 weeks on a single bottle of this. And since it's so easy to make it's never hard to whip up a new bottle anytime I run out!
What DIYs do you love doing? Let me know in the comments below.
Ever since I started my journey zero waste I've been hearing about different grocery subscription boxes that rescue odd-looking produce and sell them to you at a discount. I've gone back and forth a lot on whether or not to even try one of these out for quite some time now and had ultimately counted this option out for myself. That is until one of my co-workers mentioned she started a subscription at Misfits Market and was enjoying it!
With an unsponsored recommendation behind the company I decided that I wanted to try it out for a week to see if it would fit my life and budget, I also wanted to document the whole process and put it together here as a review for anyone else considering trying it! I often find these reviews online to be sponsored so I wanted to see for myself how the process and the product are and give an honest and thorough review. Maybe even a little too thorough, buckle up because this will be a long one!
To give some more information on Misfits Market first, they partner with farms and food hubs across the Americas who supply certified organic produce that will be thrown out based on looks and rescues it to deliver to consumers like us at a discount. Their website claims their packaging is recyclable and compostable as well. They also supply produce as they are able to get it so their offerings will change with the season, ensuring you're always eating seasonal produce!
The Set Up:
To set up your account you start by entering your zip code so they can ensure that you live in a delivery region of theirs. If you live in any of the states that they currently service in you can live in any zip code and they will deliver to you! After this, I had to select which box size I wanted and pay. One thing I didn't like about this was I didn't get to see what the options would be before I had already paid for my box. However I later found that on their website you can visit the "What's In Your Box" page for what they currently have so you can ensure you can pick things you'll actually eat/like.
Then I picked what size box I wanted, their smaller box they said had 12 types of produce with 1-2 portions per type. This was the cheaper of the two at $22 for the week and was recommended for 1-2 people. Typically I think that Kyle and I would go for the larger box which was 14 types of produce with 2-4 portions per type but for the first try I wanted to go with the cheapest option and see how it worked.
Next I got to pick my delivery date. This was really important to me to be able to control what day my order arrived. If my box came too early in the week it could go bad sitting in the fridge while I'm eating all my food I just bought over the weekend.
I set up my account on a Sunday and it was already time to make your selections for a Thursday or Friday delivery. Nothing before Thursday was available so keep in mind that with a service like this you'll need to plan ahead. Usually we grocery shop on Friday, for this week however I selected Thursday incase we didn't get enough of something that way we would be able to buy more the next day. (If I continue using this though I'll probably switch it to a Friday delivery).
Choosing My Box:
Next was the fun part! I got to pick out all the items I wanted in my box. They had the produce in groups and you had to pick a certain number from each group. One thing I didn't like is that it didn't let you select any item more than once. So if I wanted them to send me double the apples and have it count for 2 slots of that group it wasn't an option. This to me is the biggest con because if I was to upgrade to the larger box I would want the option to double or triple up on items to make a full weeks worth of meals on, not just get more varieties of produce! There is only 2 of us after all.
Honestly though I was pretty impressed with the variety of produce they had and I was able to get all of the items for my meals next week.
One other thing is that you could choose an option called "Surprise Me" and just get a variety of the offerings if you're feeling adventurous or are just too busy to make your selections. I think it's great they have this option but personally I would probably always want to control what items I'm buying and I went with this service specifically because I could pick my box. Scroll through the images below to see what was available in each of the three groups.
After I selected everything in my box I was brought to a grocery page where I could add in more options. I really liked this because if you wanted to you could easily get everything you need for the week in one box! I did go through and check out what they had in each category but I didn't add anything on this time around. If I like the box and I think the packaging is eco-friendly I'll definitely do more of these add ons in the future.
The delivery of my box was overall smooth. On their website they say they use FedEx to deliver the boxes. I scheduled my delivery for Thursday but it actually got delayed and I received an email letting me know my delivery was delayed the day before and my package would come on Friday. I'm not sure if this is a normal occurrence with this box or truly just a one time thing but for me this week it was fine. I think it would bother me a lot though if I set up my delivery on a day I knew I would be home all day and it got delayed to a day I wouldn't be home.
Misfits Market recommends not leaving the box out for too long so you should schedule your delivery for a day when you'll be around to bring it in somewhat quickly.
I received some texts from the delivery service to let me know the estimated times of delivery and then again with a photo of the package on my doorstep after the package was delivered. I was overall happy with this delivery process.
Overall I found the packaging to be what I would expect from the website description. It was mostly paper minus the ice pack. Their website says they are non-toxic and eco-friendly ice packs. We put ours back in the freezer so we can use it again. However, if I constantly used this service I would probably run out of use for ice packs and would need to find somewhere I could donate them.
This is the unfortunate part. The produce was only okay. Since this box is supposed to be the rejected fruits and vegetables I was by no means expecting them to be perfect. However, when they say 1-2 portions per person what they really mean is 1-2 items regardless of how small they are. Scroll through my pictures below and you'll see what I mean. I selected potatoes as one of my choices because we plan to make curry for dinners this upcoming week and we got the two tiniest potatoes I've ever seen. I don't care that they are tiny but for 1-2 portions per person I should have received at least 10. Same with the head of lettuce, I had planned on making salads for lunch and I could probably only make one salad out of this.
The bell peppers were also extremely small as well, and my only other complaint is that the bell peppers and the tomatoes were both bruised and were well past ripe. I can look past a bruise on an apple that I can cut off but I really didn't like that I just paid for a some tiny going-bad peppers.
Honestly I ended up cancelling my subscription service after going through my box and seeing the amount of produce that we got for $27 (after shipping). I really think if I had the option to control better the amount of each item I was getting I would like it a lot more. Also, if I was using each of these items for just one meal each it would probably be fine but since we tend to make the same dinner every night for the week it just wasn't enough for us. I think that this box could be great for some people but it just wasn't a good fit for our lives and how we like to shop and eat.
I still really like the idea of a subscription box so next week I'm going to be trying an imperfect foods box and then I'll make a post comparing the two with also just grocery shopping at Walmart for the same produce! Be sure to sign up for our email list if you're interested so you'll get an email with the posts!
Comment below your thoughts on these grocery subscription boxes and if you've tried any before!
Join me as I document my journey to becoming zero-waste through this blog as a resource to others.