Allplants: Plant-Based Vegan Ready Meals Delivered To Your Door – Review (#Ad)

I have talked before about the difficulty with balancing the need for convenience at times with a desire to eat healthily and be environmentally-friendly. Ready meals can really ease the pressure of difficult days, but the downside is that plant-based options are sometimes limited, plus the packaging is often not very environmentally-friendly (too much plastic!)

Stack of three Allplants plant based vegan ready meals

About Allplants

However, Allplants changes all that. These ready-made vegan meals are healthy, convenient and take sustainability seriously too. They are chef made in small batches, delivered straight to the door in eco packaging and are heated from frozen to be ready in practically no time at all. Plus they are delicious!

Allplants informationDelivery and Packaging

Allplants packaging is 100% recyclable, partly compostable and mostly reusable. The meals themselves are packed in fully recyclable paper trays, which is so much more environmentally-friendly than the plastic trays that ready meals are often sold in. The cardboard sleeve and BPA-free plastic seal are also 100% recyclable. (Although not all councils recycle these in reality unfortunately).

The delivery packaging consists of a fully recyclable cardboard box, insulated using denim fibres, and kept cool using non-toxic ice packs or dry ice. The dry ice is packed in a recyclable jiffy bag, with a plastic sleeve inside. Each delivery box holds six single or six double portion meals.

To help with their mission for zero-waste they also include a free postage return label in order to easily send back the box, liner and ice packs, or dry ice packaging. This means it can reused, which of course is even better than recycling, so I think this is a great initiative!

Reusing beats recycling information

All deliveries are carbon neutral too, so there are no concerns over the environmental impact of having these meals delivered. Delivery is free on weekdays and £2.50 on Saturdays. You can have them delivered to home or work, but you don’t need to be in (or near a freezer) when it arrives, as it will stay frozen in the delivery packaging until 10pm. I arranged for mine to be left on the doorstep and this worked out perfectly.

Less Waste

There are two portion sizes; single (380g), or double (760g). I had a double meal and admit I ate far more than half by myself; that said, I was particularly hungry! The meals can also be reheated the next day if there are leftovers, which also helps to avoid food waste. After cooking, allow it to cool, then cover and keep in the fridge, then reheat within 24 hours of refrigerating.

I imagine the single portion size would be ample for one person for lunch, a smaller dinner, or with some extra vegetables. That said, I do have quite an appetite when I am hungry, so it could be enough for a regular dinner too!

Allplants meal - bhaji daal

Cost

The cost for a one off order is £46.02 for 6 single portions, and £68.04 for 6 double portions. However, you can save 12% if you subscribe. Although this does seem quite expensive – it works out at £7.67 for a single portion, or £11.34 per double portion – in my opinion I would say it is worth it. I intend to order some more myself, just because they are really tasty and are a slightly cheaper (and much healthier!) alternative to getting a take away.

Allplants vegan meals stacked up

About the meals

The meals are nutritious, a good source of protein, and contain several of your five a day. For example, the bhaji daal contains 3 of your 5 a day, has 21g of protein per serving and also has over half the recommended daily intake of iron too. For reference, it is also gluten free.

Bhaji daal - allplants - vegan plant based ready meal

Most of the meals are heated in the microwave, and take around 15 minutes, but a few require the oven so take abit longer. Super easy either way though of course.

I sampled three of their extensive selection; Lasagne Noci, Rigatoni Carbonara and Bhaji Daal. All three of these meals were absolutely delicious; rich in flavour, and really good quality. I genuinely couldn’t fault them! My personal favourite was the rigatoni carbonara, but I would highly recommend all of them!

Rigatoni carbonara - allplants - vegan ready meal

For further information, and to order these yummy vegan ready meals, check out the Allplants website. Enjoy!

*This post was written in paid partnership with Allplants, who sent the meals to review. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

* All links in this post are affiliate links. 

Sustainable tourism: Are we doing this right? A Guest Post by Midlands Traveller

Everybody likes travelling, right? It’s a fact! The idea of discovering a new country is thrilling. Or sometimes, visit again that destination that brings back memorable memories of past holidays.

But have you stopped to think that every time we pack our stuff and go on holiday somewhere, we also take with us the responsibility of making tourism more sustainable? At least, we all should think about it.

But I have some good news for us! According to a booking.com survey released last year; the green travel trend continues to increase considerably with the majority of the global travellers (87%) saying that they would like to travel sustainably.

However, the survey also points out that nearly four in 10 (39%) people can confirm managing to do so. Is it a big figure? Probably. But we need to make it better!

The thinking globally, acting locally is a reality that can’t be ignored. Popular travel destinations such as Venice has started campaigns and actions to promote responsible tourism. The #EnjoyandrespectVenice is a campaign to bring awareness to the impact that careless tourists can cause in the environment, landscape and natural beauties of cities like Venice.

It’s a serious issue, and unless we change the behaviour now when travelling anywhere, it will be too late to save our planet and natural sources.

Here are some of the tiny and important tips to go green when travelling…

Sustainable tourism: Are we doing this right? A Guest Post by Midlands Traveller

Go further!

It seems silly, but if you’re thinking about jetting off soon, it’s always better to choose a further destination. We all know that aviation industry causes a massive impact on the environment and fewer flights taken, means less damage to the planet.

So, maybe it’s time to save for that dreamt visit to New Zealand, for example, instead of going three times a year to Benidorm, right?

Buy Local

It’s something I already do when travelling and I do recommend it. There is nothing more exciting than trying the local food, buying artisanal and experience the local culture.

Travelling is about indulging yourself in a different culture. It not only helps the local economy but also sustain people that live from this income.

Greener Accommodations

The best memories I have from the hotels and b&bs that I have stayed before are always related to how the green alternatives they offer. I have been to an apartment in London that left me organic food and natural beauty amenities. It was a game changing for me.

So, it doesn’t matter what kind of accommodation you are going for, it’s always important to research what sustainable measures these places can offer you. It can go for a simple garbage recycling collection to solar panels; even sophisticated hotels in Las Vegas are offering “eco-luxury” facilities nowadays. No excuse, huh?

If it’s packed, avoid it!

Most of the destinations we want to live in life have attractions and landscapes that will be crowded. Who doesn’t want to go up at the Eifel Tower once in life or step on one of the famous Italians historical bridges? You can still do it, but it would be better for the environment if you plan your trip carefully and visit your favourite city when it is less crowded. It’s a win-win! You can try, at least.

Walk out & about!

There is no other better way than knowing a place than walking through it. I did it in Dubrovnik, New York and lately, in Porto. Unless you have any special need and need to use transport, please walk along the streets, avenues and narrow lanes of your destination. Not to mention, it’s an excellent exercise as well.

So, think greener when travelling next time. It may be easier than you think to make a difference in the planet.

About the Author

Simone is a journalist with both Brazilian and British citizenship who has been living in Birmingham since 2011. She is vegetarian, with a passion for plant-based food. She also has a keen interest in green living. She writes at Midlands Traveller; a blog about business opportunities, the travel industry and well-being. You can find her on twitter, instagram and facebook too. 

Food and Drink: Reducing Plastic in the Kitchen

I made a mistake today. I made a wrong assumption, when I should have checked to be sure. I usually ask the right questions, but this time I didn’t. This arrived…

Fruit and veg box full of plastic packaging

This is what happened…

I knew we wouldn’t get a chance to go out to buy plastic-free fruit and veg this week, so I ordered a delivery from somewhere new; a local family business. I was thinking it is a nice thing to shop local and support independents. Other fruit and veg boxes that I have ordered from different companies before have been very low waste and no plastic, so I just expected it to be the same.

Sigh.

But I don’t want to dwell on it. I am gutted we now have more plastic waste than any other week, I won’t lie. But here’s the thing…

I am on a zero waste journey. I don’t pretend to literally be ‘zero waste.’ I don’t claim to have all the answers, or to get it right everytime. I will happily share my successes, and my failures too. Because we all make mistakes – but we can learn from them too.

“Sometimes we win, sometimes we learn.”

Today was a reminder for me; ask those important questions! And keep going, even when things go wrong. This was like a scene from a horror movie for a Zero Waste Ambassador to be honest lol! But I will get over my epic fail and keep trying – I got this!

Anyway, I don’t have any intention of naming and shaming the company or anything like that, I just feel that sharing my mistakes might help others feel better about theirs – zero waste can sound extreme, and very daunting, so I am keen to paint a clear picture of what it means for us in reality! We are just a family trying to do what we can to reduce waste, especially plastic.

Zero Waste Snacks

But let’s move onto celebrate our successes now! Look at these yummy plastic-free snacks I got from The Refill Pantry recently…

The Refill Pantry zero waste plastic-free shop #zerowasteweek

Zero Waste Shoppers – Brighton Frog

And the lovely people over at Brighton FRoG have sent me a Zero Waste Shopper Box. This fab set is currently onsale at £14 and includes a gorgeous aqua Turtle bag (which matches my bottle – love the colour!), as well as a mesh bag for fruit and veg, plus three different size canvas bags for pasta, bread and so on. They are 100% plastic free, organic cotton, ethical and fair. Also, they were sent in a small cardboard box with no excess packaging – really impressed!

Zero Waste Shopper - Brighton FRoG #plasticfree #zerowaste week

Living Life Our Way Selfie. Holding Zero Waste Shopper set from Brighton Frog. #plasticfree #zerowasteweek

The Refill Pantry

I will be using these bags to do a better job with my fruit and veg next time I go shopping! Also, another main reason I got them is that I want to stock up on more food from The Refill Pantry as and when our dried goods run out and need replacing – pasta, grains, and so on. So I am looking forward to putting them to good use very soon!

The Refill Pantry food stock - pasta, grains. Zero waste. Plastic-free. Zero Waste Week

Convenience vs Zero Waste

For us, the biggest challenge is balancing convenience (and sensory issues) with our mission to reduce plastic waste. It is difficult when so many snacks come in plastic wrappers! This was the main weak area I noticed immediately when I did my rubbish observations recently. That is why I am turning the responsibility back to the manufacturers for that one.

On The Go

We take food with us from home if we will be out for a while and will need to eat before we get back. The only snacks we ever buy on the go, rarely, are ones that we could only buy from a packet anyway, or the occasional ice-cream in summer!

Drinks

For drinks, we mainly use our reusables. Slight confession here; I admit, I am rather fond of diet coke as well – but I always recycle the cans and buy them in a cardboard box, so no plastic packaging! Not good for my health, but not as bad for the environment at least! I must get back to drinking more smoothies though – excellent for nutrition and reducing food waste too!

Summary

I have probably missed loads of stuff – but one thing at a time! Every small step in the right direction is a success. It is much more beneficial to focus on what you have done, and can do next, than try to tackle it all at once. So on that note…

#ZeroWasteWeek how can you reduce plastic in your kitchen?

What is the one thing you could do to reduce plastic in your kitchen? Tell me in comments!

Personal Care: What Plastic is Lurking in YOUR Bathroom? #ZeroWasteWeek

Ok, so today’s Zero Waste Week question is…

How could you reduce plastic in your bathroom?

#ZeroWaste Week how could you reduce plastic in your bathroom?

So now I get to tell you about some of the fabulous goodies we got from our local zero waste shop, The Refill Pantry, recently! They sell an excellent range of personal care items, which made it much easier to go plastic-free in the bathroom…

The Refill Pantry personal care zero waste products

I already have a bamboo toothbrush, and I have used the same plastic disposable razor for a very long time that I will continue to use for as long as possible because it would be wasteful to throw it out otherwise, just because it is plastic! I don’t wear make up very often so doubt I will need to consider replacing that in the near future. I don’t use skincare products either; water for my face and coconut oil to moisturise my skin where needed, but that comes in a glass jar.

However, the rest of my bathroom products are a different story, so I made some simple switches…

Plastic bottle of shampoo switched for zero waste refillable reusable dispenser

Obviously I haven’t thrown out the plastic products we were using, because that would be pointless. It makes sense to use up anything we still have laying around, rather than discard it before it is empty. Once they are properly finished with, they will be put in recycling, not landfill though!

Also, I am still toying with plastic roll on deoderant at times at the moment, but I do have also have a cardboard Earth Conscious one that is effective! Toothpaste is tricky due to sensory issues, so I have decided not to tackle that at the moment. But let’s stay positive and focus on what improvements we have achieved…

So anyway, we now have reusable dispensers for our shampoo, conditioner, shower gel and handwash – yay!

Zero waste refillable, reusable dispensers shampoo, conditioner, showel gel and handwash

When empty, they will be taken to our local zero waste shop to be refilled. Simple!

Huge containers of bathroom products at zero waste shop

Now admittedly, it isn’t perfect, because these particular products do still come from plastic containers, but they are the biggest size they can get of course! And I have no doubt they are then recycled or even reused if possible. Bottom line is, if you prefer, or need, liquid rather than bars it is certainly much closer to zero waste!

So that is our bathroom… what plastics are lurking in yours?!

Welcome To Zero Waste Week!

Hooray, Zero Waste Week has arrived! I am so proud, and very excited, to be an ambassador for this inspirational challenge! This year the focus is on reducing our use of (unnecessary) plastics.

Zero Waste Week Ambassador logo

Plastic has its uses. However, it is also designed to last for years, yet gets used for items that are only needed once for a few minutes! And much of our plastic packaging is excessive too. It is this reliance on single-use plastics and over-use of unnecessary plastic that we would like to reduce in particular.

The main concern with plastic is that it is not frequently recycled, and cannot be recycled many times over. Plastic is also not gentle on the environment either; it leaks toxic chemicals. It also breaks down into microplastics that harm our marine life and end up in our food chain. Not ideal.

Zero Waste Week - Microplastic facts

Read more about how plastic pollution is harming our environment.

So here is today’s question…

Why do you want to reduce your use of plastics?

There are lots of good reasons; caring about how we leave our planet for future generations, protecting our environment and saving wildlife, or saving money. Squiggle said it is important to be environmentally- friendly and not create landfill; it is just the right thing to do. That sounds like a good enough reason to me!

#zerowasteweek - why do you want to reduce plastic?

Read 10 ways reducing plastic can benefit you.

Tell me your reasons in comments!

Zero Waste Week: Our Preparations

As I mentioned in my Zero Waste Week Challenges post a couple of days back, our preparations are well underway and I am excited to share them! I have been busy reflecting on our current waste, considering where our weak spots are, and then thinking about what we can improve on, and how. So here are some of the things we have already done in advance to prepare for Zero Waste Week…

Zero Waste Week: Our Preparations

Observing Our Current Waste Habits

I have yet to fill out an actual audit sheet for the day, but I did a general observation of what we are throwing away into landfill, in order to determine what actions we could take next. Now, I will admit one thing from the outset; we have been slacking abit lately. After Squiggle had a prolonged bout of poor mental health (anxiety issues) earlier this year, we let some things slide. We needed to. And I don’t feel guilty for that, but I do see this as an opportunity for us to get back on track.

Looking through my landfill waste, it tends to be food packets that dominate my bin. The quick, easy to grab snacks. Rice cakes and Quorn veggie sausage rolls are a couple of examples. The frustrating thing is though, these can not easily be switched for the same product in plastic- free packaging either, because it doesn’t exist. Yet. And that is why I also intend to send the rubbish we do accumulate this coming week back to the companies, to encourage this change.

A zero waste lifestyle goes hand in hand with healthy, clean eating. When we opt for convenience food, our landfill waste automatically goes up. But whilst healthy eating is ideal, sometimes there are actual reasons (not just excuses!) why someone may genuinely need to opt for convenience at times. So I feel companies should be prepared to make more effort with their packaging too!

Click here for Zero Waste Week

Zero Waste Shopping

Other items are very easy to switch, and I started my shopping in advance so I would be ready to start the week off right! As well as stocking up supplies from our local zero waste shop (more about that in a later post!) I was also kindly sent some essentials to add to my zero waste kit…

Klean Kanteen reusable drinks - cup, straw set and insulated bottle

Klean Kanteen

If any of you watched my insta stories last week, you might have seen my eco fail! We went to Ikea, where Squiggle always gets a drink (it is literally the only place she gets one from, rather than just taking her own drink in her reusable cup from home!) We remembered our straw but forgot the lid is plastic too – doh! (And she does need a lid).

So when I spotted Klean Kanteen have a handy straw set that fits neatly onto their stainless steel cup, I thought how perfect it would be for Squiggle!

Klean Kanteen stainless steel cup and reusable straw set

I also love their insulated bottle, which keeps drinks hot for 14 hours and iced for 48 hours. Very useful to make sure I actually find time to drink it… eventually! I adore the colour too!

Klean Kanteen wide insulated bottle. Aqua

Both the steel cup and the insulated bottle come in different sizes. Klean Kanteen also have an excellent range of other eco- friendly bottles, cups, tumblers, accessories and canisters. See the website: www.kleankanteen.co.uk

Elephant Box

Elephant box and salad box - stainless steel - eco

I had specific ideas for these fab containers from Elephant Box. But Squiggle spied them and claimed them as her own! To be fair, they are ideal for eating on the go, as she often has food from home while we are out, so it does make perfect sense!

Stainless steel reusable Elephant Box

The larger box is the Elephant Box. It is deep, big and sturdy, with a capacity of 1.8L. Good for big appetites! It is freezer safe so helps with tackling food waste by freezing it to use later. Price: £29.50

Square salad box, stainless steel, eco, plastic-free, zero waste, Elephant Box

The Salad Box fits neatly inside the Elephant box, so handy for storing them when not in use, or for making compartments. The salad box has a capacity of 500ml and is perfect for sandwiches or snacks too! Price: £16

I also have a Brighton Frog Zero Waste Shopper Box on the way too, more on that in a later post!

So I am all set for tomorrow! Are you ready?! Join us for #ZeroWasteWeek

Passionate about a better future? Passion led us here. Join us for zero waste week. Zero Waste Week logo. #zerowasteweek https://www.zerowasteweek.co.uk

*Items kindly sent free in exchange for feature.

Zero Waste Week: Take the Challenge!

The concept of zero waste is an ideal, but is it realistic? Well, you decide just how far you can take it! The term ‘zero waste’ is frequently meant more as a journey than a destination itself. The key idea behind it is that as an individual, as a household, or even as a business, you actively try to reduce your waste, even if it is just one small thing at a time; it all helps!

With Zero Waste Week (founded by the lovely Rachelle Straus) looming in just a few short days, from 3rd – 7th September, I thought it would be fun to set some challenges of my own to help reduce landfill waste. And I would love for you to take part!

Click here for Zero Waste Week

(You can also sign up to the official Zero Waste Week emails here)

I have set 5 challenges in total, but you don’t have to complete every challenge to join in – do just one, some or all – it is up to you! Afterwards, let me know what you did – and how you got on – and I will share your stories (only if you would like me to obviously!) And of course I will be sharing how we get on too!

So here are the challenges…

Zero Waste Week: Take the Challenge! Faded background image of landfill

Challenge 1 – Audit your waste

Spend a day recording all of the rubbish you throw away. The wonderful folk over at Zero Waste Week have created an audit sheet for you to do this easily so grab yourself a copy and get auditing!

The audit sheet includes what item of rubbish it is, why is it being thrown away (remember: reuse if possible!) where it will end up (recycling is way better than landfill rubbish of course!) and what improvement can be made (e.g. could you have avoided this item of rubbish somehow?) This will help you to reflect on your current waste and identify small positive changes you could make.

Challenge 2 – Tackle a Weak Spot

Pick one thing that you know you could improve on and is something you can change immediately. We all have that one thing that jumps out at us – that we know we could better – we just haven’t got round to it… yet. Maybe you still grab your coffee to go in a disposable cup. Or perhaps you buy plastic water bottles. It could be something else entirely. Whatever it is, now is the time to make that switch – and stick to it!

For this challenge, you might need to make an investment – but baring in mind reusables are, well, reusable, it will be money worth spending. In many cases you might well find you will actually be saving money as you are no longer throwing it away (quite literally!)

I have a few weak spots that I am tackling for this challenge, so I will write a separate post sharing details very soon – my preparations are already well underway! (You might even have spotted some sneak previews on my social media?!)

Reusable insulated bottle - Klean Kanteen - Living Life Our Way selfie

Challenge 3 – Shop Thoughtfully (Aka Plastic- Free Packaging Challenge)

It is almost impossible to do an entirely plastic- free shop. However, you might find local independent shops that will help make this much more achievable!For example, use your local greengrocers if you have one nearby, or find out if there is a zero waste shop near you.

But even in mainstream supermarkets there are ways you can try to reduce the amount of plastic waste that you will create. For every item on your shopping list, choose options with less overall packaging and in particular little or no plastic where possible.

If you can find any alternative to plastic packaging then choose it, or decide how much you really need that item in the first place if not. (Obviously I am not suggesting you go without essentials or feel guilty if you do buy the items – we all have such things on our list – hence the next challenge!) Some stores allow you to take your own containers to the deli counter, and you can often take your own bags to buy loose fruit and veg too. So be organised and take your reusables with you!

The Refill Pantry - Zero Waste Shop - St Albans

Challenge 4 – Refuse and Return!

As consumers, we can only do so much to reduce our waste. We also need to put pressure on the companies themselves to change their habits, and provide more sustainable choices as well. But this particular challenge takes guts!

Actions speak louder than words. So either refuse the plastic packaging at the till straight after you pay – by removing it and handing it back to them immediately – or return it to the supermarket at a later date after you are done with the contents.

The alternative, if you find it is a particular brand you tend to use and gather landfill waste from, is to post it back to them direct along with a covering letter. Hopefully they might take a hint when it turns up back at their door!

Challenge 5 – Spread the Word

The last challenge is simply to spread the word. Let people know about your zero waste/ rubbish reduction efforts. Celebrate your successes. And remember, if you let me know, I will also share them too!

Good luck with the challenges – I look forward to finding out how you all get on! I will be posting about my own personal Zero Waste Week preparations in the next couple of days, then afterwards I will write about how we got on too, so look out for those posts coming soon!

Top Tips For A Plastic-Free Picnic

As I mentioned in my previous post, one of the launch day events for Plastic-Free St Albans is a Plastic-Free Picnic at Highfield Park. This is also an awesome way to celebrate Earth Day too. So whether you are planning a picnic for this reason, or having one on any other day, here are my top tips for a plastic-free picnic…

Top Tips For A Plastic-Free Picnic

Shopping

Firstly, choose items that are sold loose or in recyclable packaging. Avoid plastic packaging as much as you can! It is hard to do, which is why there are several campaigns focused on holding shops and supermarkets more accountable for this too. If you are feeling abit rebellious, you could unpackage everything after you pay, before you leave and give the rubbish back to them… maybe it will help them to take the hint!

Better yet, head on down to your local eco store, if you have one, with your refill jars and avoid the supermarkets with all their unnecessary packaging full stop!

(Oh, and wherever you shop, don’t forget to take your reusable bags, obviously….)

Plastic Free St Albans eco friendly reusable bag organic cotton sustainable bag

Packing Your Picnic

Transporting

Use an old style wicker basket to carry your picnic! Or choose from one of the many reusable bag options available. This one is easy; just don’t use a plastic bag! Moving on…

Containers

Tuppaware containers are ok as they aren’t single- use plastic. However, there are even better alternatives! Stainless steel containers are more environmentally- friendly and will most likely last you longer too.

Keeping it Fresh

Rather than cling film, use sandwich bags or reusable wax wraps. These keep food fresh very effectively and are much kinder to the environment.

Reusable sandwich bag

Plates, Bowls and Cutlery

Taking your own cutlery that you use at home is a good choice. You don’t actually need different cutlery just because you are eating outdoors! But if you do prefer to use something else, invest in a reusable bamboo cutlery set if possible.

For disposable cutlery options, as well as bowls and plates too, choose eco- friendly items such as from The Blue Speck. They are 100% biodegradable and sourced directly from plants.

Drinks

Take a flask along with a reusable cup for hot drinks. For cold drinks, take along a reusable drinks bottle. If you need a straw, invest in a reusable one made from metal or bamboo, or buy disposable alternatives to plastic, such as paper straws.

Reusable eco friendly cup

Other Useful Info

Low Tox Box also has a fab zero waste starter kit. It contains several reusable bags, spork, cup and straw for £30 plus P&P. They also plant a tree for every box sold and send a certificate too.

Enjoy your plastic- free picnic!

Click here for more zero waste tips

Sustainable St Albans Week 2018 and Launch of Plastic Free St Albans!

There are only a few days to go now until Sustainable St Albans Week 2018, so I want to share with you some of the fab things that will be going on! If you are local, then pop along to some of the events to learn more about eco living and show your support. And if you aren’t local, maybe these ideas will inspire you to host your own event in your local town!

The week will be kicking off with an afternoon of talks to launch the event, as well as over a dozen activities on just the first day alone. Over the course of the week there is a massive range of fun, educational and inspiring activities for all ages.

Sustainable St Albans Week 2018 logo

Some of the highlights include the grand opening of our first ‘Little Free Library’ – where you can take a book and donate another, several guided walks and cycle rides, organised wildlife watch, vegan cooking demo and tasting (yum!), plenty of talks and workshops on various topics, eco tours, growing activities, seed swaps, clothes swaps, litter picks, poetry recitals and film screenings. The list goes on and on…! It is a jam packed week full of brilliant options to choose from.

Children can also meet Munch the recycling lorry and discover more about recycling, do creative activities using old items, take part in interactive storytelling, attend woodcraft taster sessions, and swap books, amongst other things. Lots of the other activities are very family- friendly and suitable for all ages too of course!

For the full event schedule visit the Sustainable St Albans website and download the booklet.

There is also a one day Know- How Festival, which sounds brilliant! I thought this was worth a specific mention as it has so much going on for the whole family. Here is further information…

Know How festival flyer - part of Sustainable St Albans Week 2018

As part of Sustainable St Abans Week, on Sunday 22nd April, which very aptly is also Earth Day, marks the official launch of Plastic Free St Albans. I am so excited about this, so let me tell you more about it!

Plastic Free St Albans is inspired by Surfers Against Sewage – an environmental charity who are leading a national campaign called Plastic Free Coastlines, to encourage communities to drastically reduce single use plastics – and is an alliance of several local activists. It was founded by Emma Tyers, who previously ran the hugely successful St Albans Refuse the Straw campaign and also has members from our fantastic local groups, Sustainable St Albans and St Albans Friends of the Earth, too. What a team! The group aims to hopefully achieve S.A.S Plastic Free status eventually.

Plastic Free St Albans logo

The main goal is to work with local businesses, schools, and other organisations to remove, as far as possible, plastic straws and stirrers, water bottles and balloons from St Albans. These particular items are being targetted because they are so rarely recycled, and therefore form such a large part of our plastic waste and litter.

They are also working on St Albans Refill scheme, which asks businesses to provide free water bottle refills to anyone who asks, free of charge. Look out for other upcoming projects in future too!

Last but not least, check out their excellent interactive map of all things plastic free, so you can see how the campaign is developing and, more importantly, know where to head to avoid the plastic! Awesome initiative, looking forward to seeing the map grow!

You can also read more about Plastic Free St Albans in this Herts Ad article.

To launch this fantastic new campaign, there will be a plastic-free picnic at Highfield park on Sunday afternoon, followed by a screening of A Plastic Ocean in the evening, along with a panel of guest speakers, hosted at the beautiful Odyssey cinema. There are only a few tickets left, so grab yours now!

Enjoy what promises to be an inspirational and exciting week!

Handmade recycled silver labradorite stone ring image and giveaway wording

GIVEAWAY!!!

To help celebrate and support both Sustainable St Albans Week and Plastic Free St Albans, the lovely Sally from Leonard of London has offered us a stunning piece of jewellery to giveaway to one lucky campaign supporter! This gorgeous handmade ring is made from recycled sterling silver and has a beautiful labradorite stone.

The ring will be resized for the winner as per the measurements given before sending it to them.

Check out Leonard of London on facebook for more of her work.

Handmade recycled silver labradorite stone ring

The giveaway ends on 21st May 2018 and is open to UK residents only. Enter via rafflecopter below. Other T&Cs apply.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

Rainwater Harvesting: Advantages for Your Home and Garden

It need not be said that water is an essential resource for all of us. We can live without a day of electricity, and there are many undeveloped places in the world that make do without its convenience; but everyone in the world, regardless of where they are, needs water. It is a necessity to all life.

Some of us are privileged to have instant and convenient access to water anytime we want. But not all of us appreciate this privilege; in fact, a lot of us take it for granted. We think all the water that we have at our fingertips -literally – is unlimited. But it’s not. Already, certain parts of the world are experiencing drought, and if we remain heedless about how we consume our water supply, this drought will become a global problem.

It becomes crucial then that we find ways on how to save on our water usage. For one thing, we should fix leaks around the house, as leaks are one of the top causes of wastefulness in the home. You might think all those drips don’t amount to anything, but over time, they accumulate to a sizable quantity of water. How sizable? Approximately ten thousand gallons per year. So get in touch with a professional plumber and stop those leaks before they give you problems.

Another thing you can do is to upgrade the faucets and showerheads in your household to more modern and more efficient ones. For instance, when brushing your teeth, do you really need a faucet with a really strong, pressurized flow? You are much better off with a low-pressure flow for these activities.

Finally, the practice of harvesting rainwater can help to cut down your monthly water consumption as well as your bills. Rainwater harvesting is the habit of making use of one of nature’s free resources – rain – and harnessing it for our own various household uses. This practice can bring about several advantages for your home and garden…

Rainwater Harvesting: Advantages for Your Home and Garden title with image

It reduces the risks of soil erosion and flooding.

This sustainable habit can benefit the environment in a lot of ways. For one, it can help to prevent erosion around your property as well as reduce storm water runoff. It can also decrease incidences of flooding in your area. In incidents of a torrential downpour, there’s a lot of excess rainwater that doesn’t get soaked into the ground and only ends up flooding your area. It would be much better if you made use of this water instead.

It reduces your water bills.

Harvesting rainwater can also help you reduce your monthly water consumption. Imagine if you were to use rainwater for your various household needs and tasks like doing the laundry and washing your car. You would not need to consume that much water from your tap like you normally do. Ultimately, you get to save on your water bills each month.

It can give you a backup supply.

There may come a time when your water supply gets cut off due to various reasons, like when the water company is doing major repairs or when there is simply a drought in your area and your community needs to ration their water use. In these instances, the rainwater you harvested can serve as a useful and necessary backup supply.

It eases the demand for ground water.

Although the Earth is covered with water for about 71 percent of its surface, more than 96 percent of that water is ocean-based and thus is unusable. Disregarding inaccesible fresh water found in icecaps and glaciers, we thus only have access to 1 percent ground water. Consider the fact that entire Earth population relies on this 1 percent and you can realize the extreme demand that is continually put on our limited supply. Once we start harnessing the power of rain, we can greatly reduce the demand that our population exacts on ground water.

Rainwater can be used for a variety of purposes.

We use water in our household for a variety of purposes, such as doing the laundry, washing the dishes, bathing and showering, flushing the toilets, washing the car, watering our plants, among many. All these tasks require a large amount of water in total every single day. While rainwater is the softest kind of water there is, it is also versatile in that you can use it for all these different purposes. Because it has no chemicals, it is better for your hair and skin and your plants and it also requires lesser amounts of detergents when washing clothes and dishes.

Now that you know all about the advantages that rainwater harvesting can bring about for your home and garden, you might want to invest in quality containers that a reputable company like Rain Water Tanks provides. Just a little cost upfront will help you save a lot on your water consumption and bills in the future.

*Disclosure: This is a sponsored guest post.