How To Make Vegetable Broth From Kitchen Scraps

When it comes to waste in the kitchen, reducing and reusing is the name of the game. Reducing packaging, reducing plastic appliances, reducing and reusing plastic, reducing food waste, reducing toxins. 

But sometimes the amount of food waste you produce can sometimes feel unavoidable. You are often left with what seems like a neverending pile of peels, inedible skins, nasty tasting stalks and hard roots and ends, all of which end up in our rubbish bins. 

Did you know that organic material buried in landfills causes over 3% of Australia’s total greenhouse gas emissions annually?

There are so many great ways to reduce plastic packaging, but you might be wondering ‘what can I do with my food waste?’. 

Even when cooking simple, nourishing meals the number of food scraps produced can quickly build up. A great way to target this is to make a vegetable broth from kitchen scraps. Making your own provides a hearty winter warmer, reduces your need to buy pre-produced broth and offers you a powerful blend of vitamins and minerals. 

Aside from the packaging that store-bought broths come in, these are also known to contain a high level of salt, toxic preservatives and nasty msg’s so a homemade broth is a great way to give you and your family’s immune system, and overall health, a boost during the colder winter months. 

The great thing about this broth is that there really are no rules. Collect any and all food scraps you produce throughout the week and place them in a jar or container in your fridge. 

Veggies that work really well include potato peel, the roots and peels of carrots, onion skin and roots, broccoli stems, celery leaves, pumpkin skin, and any herbs or veggies in your kitchen cupboard or fridge which are starting to look sad (don’t use if it’s mouldy though). Get creative, and experiment with flavours, by chucking anything you have in the pot and simply boiling it up!

This broth is great to use as a base for soups, stews, risotto and sauces. Just store in a clean jar or container in your fridge or freezer and pop it in your recipes throughout the week. Your boiled scraps can then be added to your compost bin. Happy cooking!

Ingredients:

4 cups of food scraps

12-14 cups of water

A handful of any wilting herbs you have in the fridge (rosemary, thyme and parsley are great for this), or dried to supplement 

 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed

1 inch of fresh garlic, peeled and sliced

2 bay leaves

salt to taste

Method: 

Place everything in a large stockpot including your water. Bring to the boil

Reduce heat and simmer on a low heat (covered) for 1 hour

Turn off the heat and remove vegetable chunks with a slotted spoon

Strain remaining liquid through a metal sieve. Allow to cool

Store in a jar or airtight container for up to a week, or freeze in portions

Have you tried making your own stock before? Let us know how it went!

Travelling more sustainably – our top tips!

As countries start to open up again post-Coronavirus, you may be starting to think about getting that Wanderlust fix you’ve been dreaming about for the best part of the last year. In Australia, overseas travel is resuming to New Zealand, and Singapore may not be far behind, so many are rushing to book a trip as soon as they can. 

This is a great opportunity to create the new ‘normal’ that you want to live by. A clean slate almost to live a life that you are more fulfilled by. You’ve started to transform your home into a more planet-friendly and human-kind friendly environment so you may be wondering how you can bring these new practices into the way you travel. 

So, we want to show you how to travel sustainably, so that you can be a little bit friendlier to the planet when you travel in the future.

The impact that tourism has had on many countries is massively damaging. Many destinations which once had thriving communities have seen people pushed out from their homes in order to make way for huge, corporate-owned hotels. Local businesses have been crushed by American-owned restaurants and coffee shops taking their customers. Areas of beauty have also been destroyed by the sheer footfall of tourists visiting popular and well-published areas. 

One example is Maya Bay, on Ko Phi Phi Leh island in Thailand. You would recognise it from the movie The Beach with Leo DiCaprio (yep, that one!) which has been closed indefinitely to tourists thanks to an overwhelming amount of pollution on the island. At its peak, the island was receiving almost 5,000 tourists and 200 boats a day, who brought litter, boats and sun cream caused. It is estimated that more than 80% of the coral around Maya Bay has now been destroyed.

Travelling sustainably doesn’t mean that you need to stop flying altogether, or leave the life you know and take to the road for 6 months. However, there are a few simple changes you can make to your mindset and your actions that can make a huge difference. Here’s how:

1. Think carefully about your destination 

Obviously, the distance you are travelling will impact the environment but it’s good to check how eco-friendly the actual city you are visiting is. One of our favourites, Ljubljana in Slovenia, has been voted one of the greenest in Europe⁣⁣.

2. Stay in one place for longer⁣

⁣If you can, base yourself in one city or area for long enough to soak up the culture, meet the locals and get a sense of your surroundings⁣. Book homestays or local apartments to stay in instead of big hotels. Spend time getting to know your hosts if you have the time, ask them for recommendations, take up offers of dinners and be more flexible with your travel plans.

3. Travel by road or train to your destination to save on carbon emissions

Choose a location that you can explore on foot or by bike. Take the road less travelled. Visit destinations and attractions that are a little bit less known, don’t just follow the guidebook’s recommendations or go to that clifftop on everyone’s Instagram. Avoid crowded areas so that you’re not contributing to the damage to the flora and fauna.

4. Seek out local guides to show you the area, rather than big tour companies⁣

Tip generously⁣. Ignore the guidebook and contribute to the local economy by shopping and eating in smaller, locally owned businesses⁣⁣. By support locals, instead of global corporations, you will be enabling the community to thrive and survive for years to come.

5. Pack smart! 

The most important thing is to pack light, especially if staying in homestays which won’t have a porter service. Try to think about which toxic products, like sunscreen, soaps, shampoos, you are taking with you and look for natural alternatives.

6. Share your stories with your friends and family afterwards⁣. 

Pass on contacts of what you enjoyed, encourage others to do the same! Lastly…leave the throw away little trinket souvenirs there and complimentary hotel toiletries alone. You’ve probably got plenty from pre-corona time travel still sitting in your bathroom. 

Do you think about how sustainable you travel? What are some of your favourite eco-friendly methods of travel? Let us know in the comments below.

9 Essential Items to Build a Plastic Free Starter Kit

We all have the best intentions of living completely plastic-free, but then you accidentally forget to decline your plastic straw when you order your drink, you grab a coffee and realise you left your reusable coffee cup at home, or you can’t make it to the bulk store. We get it. Life happens right?

Don’t get hung up on these things, move on and make changes now so that you can avoid making the same mistakes in the future.

The first step towards change is often the hardest, but a good place to start living a life of less waste is a plastic-free kit.

A plastic-free kit is a collection of essential items which you can keep on your, or near you, at all times so that you’ll never run the risk of being without something and having to opt for the plastic version.

Perhaps you’re just starting out, or you’re looking for some inspiration on how you can reduce your impact even further, so we’ve put together 9 essential items that every good plastic-free kit needs.

Reusable Coffee Cup

Nothing tastes better than a ‘proper’ coffee from a coffee shop, made by an experienced barista. What used to be a quick pick-me-up has now become a morning ritual.

Australians throw out 2.7 million single-use or disposable coffee cups every single day. This adds up to 1 billion coffee cups thrown out every year. Can you even imagine what 1 BILLION coffee cups look like?!

Reduce the waste that you produce by grabbing yourself a reusable coffee cup. Not only do they usually look better than a paper or plastic version, they will keep your coffee warmer for longer and do good for the planet too.

Shopping Bags

Getting yourself a reusable shopping bag is one of the easiest ways that you can reduce your plastic waste.

Up to 5 trillion single-use plastic bags are used worldwide every year. These often end up in our oceans and are often consumed by turtles mistaking them for jellyfish, or by whales.

We love an insulated shopping bags to keep our veggies fresh and frozen food frozen for longer.

Tea Leaf Strainer

If you’re anything like us and average upwards of 5 cups of tea each per day, every day then over the course of a year you’ll be sending over 2,000 tea bags to landfills. The numbers are shocking when you think about it!

Teabags are made from a very fine plastic that realised particles into your tea, and our water stream. To reduce your impact swap your tea bags for tea leaves in a metal strainer instead.

Loose tea leaves are often better quality too, so it’s a win-win.

Water Bottle

More than 60 million plastic bottles end up in landfills and incinerators every day. Six times as many plastic water bottles were thrown away in the US in 2004 as in 1997. Plastic waste is one of many types of wastes that take too long to decompose.

Normally, plastic items can take up to 1,000 years to decompose in landfills so add a stainless steel metal water bottle to your plastic-free kit and reduce your impact on the environment.

Metal Straw

Plastic straws are not biodegradable. Most plastic straws simply break into ever-smaller particles, releasing chemicals into the soil, air, and water that are harmful to animals, plants, people, and the environment.

Fortunately, saying no to plastic straws no longer leaves you with the option of a soggy paper straw. Equip yourself with a reusable straw, they are so easy to keep in your handbag so you’ll never be left without.

Zip Lock Bags/Wax Wrap

There are so many better options for eco-friendly food storage on the market than plastic.

Only recently have the wonders of honey bee products been discovered by the masses. In recent years, people are starting beehives in their backyard and now the benefits of beeswax are going mainstream as well!

They may not be a vegan option but beeswax wraps are safe for you and mother earth. They are made of 100% eco-friendly materials and can be left to compost when ready to discard.

Lunchbox

Say goodbye to pre-made sandwiches or salads in plastic boxes.

Get yourself a lunchbox that is made from natural and renewable wheat straw fibre, starch and food-grade PP instead. They are 100% environmentally friendly, BPA-free, non-toxic, renewable, degradable and food safe.

Toothbrush

It’s estimated that the average person uses 300 toothbrushes a year. That equates to billions of toothbrushes lying in landfills and oceans which never break down.

Swap your plastic toothbrush for a brush made from biodegradable natural fibres like bamboo instead.

Hairbrush

Another plastic product which can be easily swapped for natural material alternatives.

A plastic-free bamboo bristle hairbrush will look oh so pretty sat on your bathroom shelf and will also improve the condition of your hair and scalp. 

Do you have a plastic free kit? What do you keep in yours?

5 Ways to Have an Eco-Friendly Valentine’s Day

Are you a full-on romantic, with Valentine’s plan carefully constructed in January? Or are you more of a last-minute, petrol station flowers and chocolate, panic buyer?

Plastic wrapped chocolates. Cute teddy bears made in sweatshops. Flowers imported from across the world. They might tell your significant other that you care, but what are the consequences for the planet, and the people making them?

Either way, if you want to celebrate the most romantic day of the year, it can be easy to get caught up in the hype. Often, this means spending money on things that aren’t environmentally kind or ethical.

Being more aware of what you consume on Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to mean missing out on all the fun and romance. You can still show someone you love them without extravagance or mass-produced plastic.

This year, have a little heart and show some love to the planet by aiming for an eco-friendly Valentine’s Day. Here’s how to keep it free from plastic and full of ethics.

1. Dinner for Two, Minus the Food Waste

A candlelit dinner is as green as it is romantic – think of the electricity you’re saving!

Eating at home can be as romantic as eating out. Set the scene with mood lighting, candles and music, and leave the washing up until the next day!

It’s also a great excuse to enjoy the warm weather of the Australian summer and pack up a picnic and enjoy a bike ride to a local beauty spot. An afternoon in nature is good for the soul, just remember to leave nothing but footprints behind!

Whether you go out or stay in, spending quality time with your loved one over a delicious meal is the perfect way to celebrate anything.  In either case, avoid over-ordering/cooking so that all the surplus food that you don’t eat doesn’t end up in the bin and aim to eat as much local produce as you can.

2. Free From (Plastic and Bad Ethical Practices) Chocolate

If you’re feeling the love, why should that be at the detriment of someone else? The chocolate trade is steeped in bad ethics, from unfair working conditions and pay, to the use of palm oil. So this year, look for a Fairtrade box of chocolates. Warm cocoa also makes a tasty drink to share with many health benefits. Cacao is available at most health food stores, look for one without plastic packaging.

3. Finer Florals

Seasonal, locally grown food is sustainable, and the same can be said for flowers. When it comes to beautiful bouquets, keeping things environmentally friendly means that roses are out. When buying flowers, consider the amount of plastic wrapping they come in too. Would a potted plant be a better option? It’ll certainly last longer!

Also, if your flowers have come from overseas, there’s every chance that they’ve been grown and cut by someone not paid a fair wage. This is especially true at this time of year to meet demand.

4. A Handmade Valentines

You don’t need to be a genius to be creative. Remember how simple life was when you made your own Valentines cards? Just because you’re an adult now, it doesn’t mean you can’t still make them.

Can you bake a cake or cook your Valentine’s favourite meal? Can you make them a beautiful Valentine’s card? Or write a poem, a piece of music or a song? Maybe you’re good with wood or metal. Painting or sketching. Can you sew without stitching yourself up? Whatever you can create, the chances are it will be more appreciated than something bought from a shop.

If words or art aren’t your thing, something else that can be given is a massage. Set aside an hour and do a loving massage for your partner. You could also make this into a fun activity for both of you by getting your partner to exchange the massage. 

Get as creative as you like, safe in the knowledge no one else will be giving the same gift. It doesn’t matter how good it is; it’s the thought that counts!

5. Valentines Experiences

Experiences are often worth so much more than stuff. You can keep it simple with a walk in the park or an evening together playing board games with no phones or tablets. Dedicating time to each other, including the kids if you want to, can be so valuable.

Buy gift experiences like cookery class if they love being in the kitchen and you have the budget. Or simply handwrite some IOU messages, and leave them around the house. You could promise a massage, making dinner for a week or a trip to the cinema.

If you’re thinking of going away for the weekend, look for eco retreats. One that is accessible (and affordable) by train rather than driving gives you even more eco points.

Go against the grain, and do something different whilst being mindful of the planet. Often, a simple “I Love You” with breakfast in bed is more than enough.

Have less of an impact, show the planet some love and opt for an eco-friendly Valentine’s Day this year.

Do you celebrate Valentine’s Day? Let us know how you’ll be spending it this year in the comments below.

6 Ways To Have A Plastic-Free Summer

We find the summer holidays one of the most challenging times to be plastic-free. The routine of the week and comforts of home make packing your own lunches in glass or metal containers, remembering your shopping bags and sipping from your water bottle easier. 

Now the summer holidays are here, and you might be out of the house a little bit more, away from home visiting family or looking for ways to treat yourself to a coffee from your local cafe. It’s all too easy to fall back into your old plastic wasting habits.

Incorporate some plastic-free activities and practises into your summer holidays. Soon they will become second nature, meaning that you will be reducing your plastic without even thinking about it! Here are six of our favourite plastic-free activities to get you started.

Take your own picnic

If you’re lucky enough to be able to explore or even travel further afield, pack up a picnic and set off for your local park or beach. 

For the ultimate plastic-free picnic, wrap your goodies in muslin or wax and store items glass or metal containers. You can also bring your own water bottles or thermos’ to drink from and bamboo cutlery, if you need them. Then all you need to do is just sit back and relax.

Remember your water bottle

Plastic bottles are the quickest thing to sink to the bottom of the ocean, and they never biodegrade. Plastic particles from bottles are also slowly eroding into your water so on a whole they are bad for the environment, and bad for your health! Grab yourself a stainless steel water bottle instead and remember to keep these on hand when you’re out and about this summer.

Visit the local farmers market

Farmer’s markets are a great activity, and a great way to save on plastic wrapping, eat organic, support local and independent businesses and have an all-round more personal shopping experience. You can find these in your local town, and more and more are popping up in cities. Bulk food stores are also another way to save on packaging, just grab your favourite refillable container!

Buy from the deli or bakery

When it comes to buying the ingredients for family gatherings or summer BBQs, try to visit your local bakery, butchers or deli. Most small businesses are happy to wrap your products in your own containers, or wax wraps so just ask!

Start your own herb garden or veggie patch

Herbs and veggies often come with a considerable amount of plastic waste. From herb portions wrapped in plastic to fruit on plastic trays, there are so many ways that you can reduce your plastic waste and growing your own is one of the best. Even if you just have space for a few small pots of herbs or salad leaves on your window ledge growing your own is a perfect activity to keep the whole family busy all summer long.

Ditch the coffee runs

We know that grabbing a coffee from a cafe feels like a treat, but disposable coffee cups can no longer be recycled. It is estimated Australians use 1 billion disposable coffee cups each year. That’s approximately 2,700,000 paper coffee cups thrown out every day! Instead, invest in your own reusable coffee thermos or some quality, fair-trade coffee that lives up to your takeaway coffee standards and make your own at home.