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Live Waste Free

Easiest. Hot Chocolate. Ever!

Welcome back! I have exciting news… I figured out how to make hot chocolate and it’s basically the easiest thing ever! It’s been awhile since I’ve had one. The only way I knew it growing up was either in small pouches or in a giant tub. Both of which create waste and are basically just sugar mixed with flavors. Delicious sugar mixed with delicious flavors mind you, but it’s all completely processed. So if you’re looking for a nice treat to help warm yourselves up on during these icy times, without adding to your trash bin, look no further!

Time: 5 minutes max

Serves: 4

What you’ll need:

1 small pot

1 metal whisk

 

Measuring utensils of choice

Ingredients:

2 cups of water

4 cups of 2% milk

1 tsp of vanilla essence (yes, I found this in bulk 😉 )

1/2 cup cacao powder (I had the dark kind because that’s what was offered in bulk section)

4 tbsp sugar

Directions:

First, add all the liquid ingredients to your pot and put on high. Cover and bring to a boil whisking sporadically. Be careful that the liquid doesn’t boil over. Speaking from experience, it’s not pleasant!

Once you’ve reached your boil, turn down the heat to low-med. Add the powdered cacao and sugar. Whisk constantly at this point to avoid clumps. Whisk until it’s all dissolved and well combined. It should take about 2 minutes.

That’s it! You now have a delicious treat, with no waste and is perfect for those chilly nights. You can use this as the base and add any other flavor you want. Some ideas include, but are in no way limited to:

  • Whipped cream and sprinkles
  • Marshmallows
  • Creamed liqueur
  • Cinnamon
  • Coffee
  • Wanna try a vegan version? Use coconut milk or almond milk instead!

The list can literally go on and on. The next time, I think I’ll add a pinch of salt to see how that fares. There we have it friends, the simplest and tastiest hot chocolate base you’ve ever tried. I hope you enjoy this!

For more recipes, tips and tricks to help live a Zero Waste lifestyle, head over and like my page on Facebook Live Waste Free. Where you’ll get daily ideas to keep you going on the Zero-Waste path.

Or follow me on Instagram @livewastefree for random pics and funnies!

Live Waste Free

Begun with a Bang! -January’s Waste-

    

Hey Hey! So if you’ve seen my blog post from the beginning of the year, you’ve seen that 2018 is the year of accountability for me! I decided to dive head first into the deep end and go all in! I started a trash jar and am learning so much about what waste I still have in my home! Some things just crept up and I had no clue! Now that I’m aware, I’m actively seeking alternatives and have found a bunch for the most part. I had a few guidelines before I began (listed here) and I tried hard to stick to them and let me tell you, It was not as simple as I had hoped!

     One of the most popular questions I receive from others who want to cut their waste is ‘where did you begin’? My answer is often the same. Do a trash audit. See what you’re using the most of and find reusable options or try to live without that product. It’s easier than you think to analyse, but trickier to stick to the principles. This is how I’m looking at my trash jar now. Being able to collect it all and see exactly what I have, I know to look for my alternatives.

     Some products in the jar (which really, is now a plastic clam-shell from strawberries my husband bought) were things that were already in my house, but that broke or were finished because I used it. Oh and a lot of fruit tags Those sticky suckers really know how to cramp my style.

Here’s the bigger than-I-thought-it-would-be list:

1-) Plastic wrapping from our toilet paper

We used to buy our tp from Costco and still have a few months supply left, because ya know – Costco. Since I use it, I kept the bag to show that I am contributing to waste. Our goal is to find a more sustainable toilet paper wrapped in paper or is naked (not impossible to find). Also, once we move, we’re going to look into a bidet. I’m actually quite enthusiastic for this upcoming change!

2-) Plastic bag from milk

The store I usually buy my bulk milk from had none left this particular day. Which would not have been the end of the world, however, I had a cake to make that called for milk. Typically, I would have just waited it out, but I had a deadline and I was unable to wait this time. Next time, I wait for them to re-up on their order before buying the packaged variety.

3-) Plastic from a co workers coffee gift to us

A friend brought our office back coffee from his trip to Trinidad. It came in a small plastic pouch, so I kept it. Since I thoroughly enjoyed this delicious treat!

4-) Stick from cat toy

Cat’s toy broke. We’re still using the other part. But this was the end of the stick. One day, I swear, I’ll make her own wooden toys, but for now, she’s stuck with this broken toy she loves, a few balls of yarn and more boxes that even she can handle.

5-) Miscellaneous plastic wrapper

I cannot remember, for the life of me, what this is from and it’s really bothering me! GAH!

6-) Vegetable stickers

I try to look for naked fruits and veg, but sometimes they sneak in. No one’s perfect right?

7-) Plastic clam-shell from strawberries

Husband bought, but I ate some. I took accountability for it.

8 -) Lint from dryer

This one’s a bit weird I know. I just don’t think that lint from the dryer is compostable since my clothes have microfibers. I make an honest effort to buy more responsible clothing, but a lot of my old clothes that are still good have these fibers. What I try to do is avoid washing more frequently. It extends the life of the clothes and the majority of them aren’t even dirty. So why wash them? I’ll happily re-wear sweaters, work shirts and jeans for as long as I can! Underwear and socks are a different story, but I have enough to tide me over until I wash my next load in a few weeks. In the summer I hang dry my clothes, so there will be no lint there, but the wintertime is a bit trickier to hang dry. It would take more energy to heat the room it’s in to hang dry items, then it is to run the dryer. I feel that washing less helps this overall impact.

9-) Plastic screen protector from my cell phone

Came with the phone a few months back and finally peeled off. I’m going to be careful to not damage it, but there’s a chance I’m going to get a glass cover protector. I’d rather extend the life of the phone by keeping it protected by buying sturdy products.

10-) Foamy cover from an ibuprofen bottle

I’m human and sometimes have pain. I try hard not to take pills, but other days I can’t help it. My consumption has gone down considerably and maybe one day I won’t take any at all!

11-) Medical tape from some blood tests I had

I couldn’t figure out if it was compostable. I don’t think so. The cotton ball was fine, but this I kept incase. The rest is pretty self explanatory and unavoidable

12-) Floss

I recently found a fully silk one, but I will finish what we have before converting. Rather than wasting a product that’s still usable.

13-) Wrapper from vegetables that were essentially loose

This wrapper held together a bunch of spinach. Its a wire wrapper but covered in a material I can’t quite distinguish. So rather than wishfully recycling (or wish cycling) it, I kept it.  

Not Pictured or Weighed

  • Bag of chips from work

We buy office snacks and I ate quite a bit of these snacks!

  • A small packet of butter from a family supper

I use the leftover butter from a small packet my husband had (at a family supper) and I forgot to bring home the small container. Boo! Avoidable completely!

     Total weight for January batch of waste, including the container itself was a whopping 50 grams! Seeing as how it’s the first month of being accountable, I’m quite happy with this. I’ve learned a lot and fully intend to implement what I have learned. Stay tuned to see how my February goes and how my will power will hold up against Valentine’s day candy! <3

     To follow more closely my journey to being accountable, or even for tips and tricks to living Zero Waste, head over and like my page on Facebook Live Waste Free. Where you’ll get daily ideas to keep you going on the Zero-Waste path.

Or follow me on Instagram @livewastefree for random pics and funnies!

Live Waste Free

Cut your office waste in 10 easy steps

When I first started working in an office, I didn’t know what to expect. The only office I got to see was run by Michael Scott from one of my go-to shows “The Office”. I would watch Jim and Pam prank Dwight over and over; and unless staplers get put in Jell-O often, I knew it wasn’t a typical example to follow.  For my first personal experience I noticed that I had never had this sort of freedom when it came to having my things physically near me. As I mentioned in my last blog, I worked in a factory prior. We had our lockers but no desk or closet and everything was only accessible to use during our breaks. Being in an office has really opened up a new world of keeping at minimizing my waste and having access to my ‘tools’. If you personally do not work in an office, do not worry. I’ve been doing a bunch of the examples below for years and they are very transferable to the more ‘on the move’ career choice.

1-Bring your own lunch from home. Possibly the biggest waste I see are from lunches. I know how tempting it is to go out and grab a bite or hit up the local sushi shop and bring back a clamshell of delicious sushi for your lunch. Imagine though, hypothetically let’s say you eat out 4 days out of the 5 (I’ve actually known people who do this!). That’s 4 days of takeout food that contains: wrappers (carton, paper or wax paper), plastic cutlery, paper bags, napkins and plastic bottles or to go coffee cups with their lids. Also, depending on what you’re eating, quick meals will more often than not offer no positive nutritional value and are saturated with fats and salts. AND THE MONEY! I don’t even know how much I’ve saved. Average 8$ a takeout meal, with the previous example of 4 times a week. That’s $32 a week and $1,664 a year. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather keep that cash and go on adventures!

2-Bring your loose leaf tea (or coffee) I drink SO MUCH green tea at work. I’m slowly starting to cool it on the coffee; it really just hurts my stomach more than it’s worth. The transition to tea has been made simple by keeping everything at my desk. I have a jar of loose leaf green tea and a jar of peppermint tea (both bought in bulk) tucked away in my drawer. On the window sill near me, I keep my mug and strainer and am able to refill with the kettle in the office whenever I please. Even when I was drinking coffee, I would use the communal drip pot; keep some sugar in a jar and some milk or creamer in my lunch bag in the fridge. So I know it’s all ‘me’ approved.

3-Keep a mug at your desk (and extra cutlery and plates etc.). This one’s pretty simple, by keeping reusable with you; you won’t need the single use option. Use them, clean them, and store them away until the next usage.

4-Turn old paper into notepads. I made a whoops this week. While copying a note that I had to send home to each family at the Pre-K, the Xerox had cut off the entire bottom. I realized this AFTER each one had already been posted to the cubbies. In a rush, I had to print out more, remove the bad versions and re-stick the good copies. This lead to a massive pile of papers that I now have no use for. One of the teachers explained how we can turn them into notepads as long as there is no sensitive information on the back. And By Golly! She was right! They are amazing and I feel way better when I take messages or make notes on the reused paper instead a new blank Post-Its

5-Print on both sides when you can. You cut the paper use literally in half by doing this. Or even better, if you can, just email notices around. Keep them out of the way and out of the recycling bin afterwards.

6-Make the exact number of copies you need. This one’s really specific to office work, but you wouldn’t believe how often it happens. Someone once told me to make 80 copies for 65 students. I made 67 instead, that way there’s one exactly per student, and a couple extra if I need. I’m always able to make more copies if the paper gets lost.

7-Keep the garbage can far away from you. I keep the garbage can way out of reach from me, that way I’m less likely to allow habit interfere with my hard work of reducing my waste.

8-Keep a couple of extra reusable bags with you. I have a few in my cupboard at work, just in case. On lunch, I sometimes go do the groceries and this way, I know I’m safe. Also, for the unexpected things that you may need to bring home, you won’t have to grab a plastic bag or worry about fumbling with a bunch of things to carry at once.

9-Compost at your desk and HIDE ITI don’t mean a legitimate compost, I mean to keep an empty container of your choosing to bring home daily compostables (used tea leaves, lunch scraps, snack crumbs). I used to keep my container on the corner of my desk, out of the way. For about a week straight, I didn’t realize the caretaker was emptying it into the trash. It was a sweet gesture on her end, but why would I bother keeping a compost container if it’s going to be thrown away anyways. So now I hide it!

NOTE: It really should be emptied every day, or max every second day. Don’t let it go long enough to create an aroma, that’s when people will start to complain.

10-Don’t be afraid to talk about your lifestyle. It’s a unique part of you and some people are genuinely interested. Through chatting about it, I was able to stop countless Styrofoam cups and plastic forks from being tossed into the garbage.

And there you have it friends, 10 simple and doable steps to help cut your waste in the office. Remember to take everything a step at a time, and to not give up. What you’re doing matters!

For more tips and tricks, head over and like my page on Facebook Live Waste Free; where you’ll get daily ideas to keep you going on the Zero-Waste path.

Or follow me on Instagram @livewastefree for random pics and funnies!