From Store to Shelf with Net Zero Co - Zero Waste Living

Plastic waste.  It's on everyone's radar, and this hot topic is not going anywhere anytime soon.

I've been slowly but surely working on reducing my personal plastic footprint, minimizing plastic bottles in my beauty cupboard (something I have talked about quite a bit in my empties roundups), being more conscious about packaging used during food shops, and choosing products that have as little excess materials as possible.

I convinced Tim that we should ditch laundry detergent years ago now, and we have had fresh clean clothes all the same thanks to the power of soap nuts and essential oils.  I've not bought bottled water for almost ten years, and always pick tinned drinks if I'm in a pinch while traveling.  My reusable coffee mug is always with me, saving cups from landfill as well as my bank balance from corporate hands...

And my latest efforts have all been centered around food.

Net Zero Co Review - Zero Waste Reusable Silicone Sealer Bags - minimize food waste

We have all heard about the wasteful plastic packaging found in supermarkets, with up to 252,000 tonnes of plastic packaging used by a single chain, but did you know that the issues posed by pre-packaged food is more than just the unsustainable trays and cling film being tossed into the trash??

In many cases, the plastic packaging also leads to increased food waste - not good!  Recent studies show that despite initial thoughts that plastic could help extend the shelf life and freshness of food (thereby reducing food waste), the problem has not stopped.  In fact, it has nearly doubled!

"While packaging has many useful functions in the food chain, evidence suggests that packaging practices may be driven by brand and sales objectives rather than waste reduction. Examples of over packaging include strict retail grading standards resulting in wasted edible food, or multi-packs which may lead consumers to over purchase and waste food at home." - IEEP

So what can we do to break this trend?  How can we ensure that we are reducing both plastic waste AND food waste??

Well, ditching the pre-packaged goods is a great start!  Not only does it help you become more aware of just how much food you are using on a weekly basis, it massively cuts down on unnecessary single use plastics.  You begin to learn how to buy what you need rather than what a business forces on you, picking up only what is required for your meals.  Plus as much of the zero waste items out there are pure, unprocessed, and raw you end up with a healthier diet at the same time!

I had already started shopping at zero waste shops and am lucky to have a few refill stations nearby in Norwich.  We regularly restock on veggies at the market and in supermarkets, and it is as easy as paying and popping them in the backpack.  But picking up lentils, bulgur, rice, pasta, oats, coconut flakes, yeast, and other vegan and vegetarian essentials at The Green Grocers and things like rapeseed oil and flour at Re.Source proved a bit trickier.  How do you keep them from spilling everywhere without those plastic film brown bags?

Well, Net Zero Co provided me with some much appreciated answers!



Transparency Key:
* This post contains gifted products

No matter how I have received a product, whether it has been purchased with my own money, gifted by a brand, been subsidized by a brand, won, gifted by friends/family, or purchased with a gift voucher, my approach is always the same -- honesty, integrity, and highlighting both the good and the bad.  You can find more information on Disclosures and Privacy here.


Based in Canada, this team strives to tackle the growing issue of food waste, single use plastics, and ocean pollution by creating products that can be used time and again.  Each item is made to be functional, stylish, and reusable, making them ideal for the modern customer looking to make a difference.  Plus, with every order made, Net Zero helps plant a tree in countries facing hardship around the world thanks to their partnership with Eden Reforestation Projects!

At Net Zero, our mission is to be a catalyst for change and a driving force in the low waste movement. To help fulfill this vision of a cleaner world, we create items that can replace daily products with reusable alternatives, all while maintaining the convenience and style of these everyday items. This can make a world of a difference.

First off, investing in a few staples for shopping proved incredibly handy.  I had one single cotton drawstring bag to use previously on my refill visits, and while I found it super useful, I didn't always find it big enough for my needs.  Luckily, Net Zero Co thought about all the different ways in which reusable produce bags might need to be used and created a multi-pack that includes various sizes - a 10 pack of cotton muslin reusable produce bags with drawstrings!

Net Zero Co Review - Zero Waste Reusable Cotton Produce Bags

Made with 100% cotton, this muslin pouch ranges from "fun size" (6x9 inch) to "party size" (14x18 inch), meaning you can stash anything and everything inside these!  The material is strong and feels really durable, and I never worry that they are going to come apart in transit because the string is firm and ties up well.  I also really appreciate that the weight of each individual pouch is given on the tag, so the cashier can more easily deduct your packaging from the price of what you are buying - perfect!

Once I have filled up my reusable produce bags and paid, I simply place them into the super sturdy canvas tote bag from Net Zero Co and go on my way.  Not only does this hold all of my usual refill items comfortably, it looks super cute too!  The reusable bag actually comes in six different versions, with each depicting a water-colour style image of something endangered or threatened.  You can choose from an Earth with the phrase "No Planet B," monarch butterflies around Sakura blossoms, a polar bear on melting ice surrounded by trash, a sea turtle, a whale, or a small child on a bench looking into a fish bowl filled with ocean creatures and garbage.  Definitely designs that get the message across!

I was sent the sea turtle option, and I love how the image looks almost hand painted - it's so pretty, and doubles as a fashionable accessory while also being practical.  The bag even has a little side panel pouch that can hold keys, wallet, lip balm, or little essentials you want to keep within easy reach.

Net Zero Co Review - Zero Waste Reusable Canvas Bag

Once I'm home, I unpack, decant all the grains, pulses, and ingredients into my glass canisters, and then chill until it is time to whip up dinner.  And that's when Net Zero Co brings even more help when it comes to daily zero waste hacks!

Usually when I cook, I end up with at least a few items that don't get finished.  Normally I would either pop them in the fridge "naked" where they start to shrivel or wilt pretty quickly, or if they are really small scraps I put them in a pile to go out onto Bug Mountain as we named it (it's our compost heap).  But now I have some even better solutions.

First, I can wrap up scraps and half-used fruits and veggies inside either the reusable beeswax food wraps, the silicone sealer bags, or pop them in any container and use one of the stretch and seal silicone lids to keep them super fresh.  As for the peels, stalks, end nubs, and skins... I can zip them into the largest size silicone sealer bag, place it in the freezer, and continue like that all week (or until the bag is full).  All those scraps can then be re-purposed to create a yummy vegetable stock that can be the base of a hearty and filling soup!

Honestly, I have been really impressed by how many options there are for storing food and keeping it fresh.  Leftovers have never been nicer, and we have already noticed a difference in how much ends up in the bin - definitely a positive change!

I find the Reusable Beeswax Food Wraps are great for items inside a dish (like last night's veggie lasagna) or for solid items like avocados, fresh loaves, and sandwiches for a packed lunch.  These all natural creations do take some getting used to, and I found the cling required some manual work and were not the easiest option for me as I couldn't always get the wrap to create a seal.  When I can get them to stick though, they have been effective - especially from keeping bread from going stale.  I like that these come in three very different sizes, as most I have come across elsewhere are one standard size.  There is a mini wrap (7x7 inch), a medium wrap (10x10 inch), and a large wrap (13x13 inch), and while they are all handy, I find myself needing the larger two most often.  All are good though, and I love how long lasting they are (over a year per wrap!).

Net Zero Co Review - Zero Waste Reusable Beeswax Wraps

The 6 pack of Stretch and Seal Silicone Lids is ideal for vegan customers looking for a way to create a closure for bowls, pots, and even raw foods.  Made with BPA-free silicone, these are such a clever way of turning anything into an air-tight container.  You just choose your size, stretch over the item, and that's it - the product does all the work!  This is a solution for people who can never find the right size lid, who have lost or damaged the original seals of their food storage pots, or who just want a simple way to keep their food fresh.

With six sizes to choose from, ranging from the size of half a mandarin to half a watermelon, you will always have an option that suits your needs.  I've found these particularly useful for tins that I don't finish in a recipe, or for preserving things I want to use later on like aquafaba, and I love that they are microwave safe too.  Plus I found these really helped maximize space in the refrigerator as there is no need for bulky containers anymore!

Net Zero Co Review - Zero Waste Reusable Stretch and Seal Silicone Lids

As for the 4 pack of Silicone Sealer Bags, this might just be the most versatile product I've come across!  I already mentioned how I store scraps in the freezer to make stock, but I also find these perfect for storing leftovers (especially liquid ones like soups, chili, smoothies...), preserving fruits and vegetables, carrying portioned out lunches, and keeping baked goods from going stale.  These are the best replacement for plastic baggies I have come across, and I'm really finding them a great addition to our kitchen!

Like the stretch and seal lids, the silicone sealer bags are both microwave and freezer safe, and the various sizes mean you always have something to fit your food into.  Net Zero Co even introduced an even larger size recently with their one gallon Jumbo sealer bag!  This one can fit even more due to the increased capacity, but is also fab for taller items like bread, leeks, and kale.

I personally love using the sealer bags for food prep, cutting up all the veggies I will use for dinners all at once and popping them into the smaller food storage bags.  I find this saves me so much time in the evenings, and I can just transfer all the pre-cut ingredients from the silicone sealer into the pot/pan!  I also make sure to have a second one handy for all the end pieces, peelings, and bits that fall on the floor (because I'm apparently not capable of cooking without dropping bits!) - I just rinse them all, put them into the bag, and freeze so I can use the scraps later on for broth.

P.s. if you have slipped up and notice some of the food in your fridge is looking like it might go to waste, pop it in the sealer bag with your scraps!  That last handful of spinach that has started to wilt will add even more flavour and nutrients to your stock when your sealer is full!

Net Zero Co Review - Zero Waste Reusable Silicone Sealer Bags

Once I have used all of these items, it's time to clean up to keep them fresh and sanitary!  Luckily, Net Zero Co made this step as easy as possible too, with the cotton bags being machine washable and the silicone products able to be popped into the dishwasher (though we don't have one and wash by hand which works just as well - no food gets stuck in between the ridges, so they are easy to maintain!).  As for the beeswax wraps, you just lightly wash with cold water and a mild soap then hang to dry -- that's it!



Overall, I have been really impressed by the quality and usefulness of everything I have been using from Net Zero Co.  I'm loving the cotton pouches and the silicone bags in particular, as I find they make my attempt to reduce plastic and food waste so much simpler and that they minimize the effort I need to make.

Net Zero offers loads of handy products to reduce your plastic usage and food waste, with items ranging from storage solutions to lunchtime heroes.  But they don't stop there -- they also carry beauty staples like cotton rounds and razors, bamboo toothbrushes, collapsible coffee cups, reusable straws, and more!  They really do pose an answer to every plastic problem!

Have you implemented any of these solutions yet??  I would be so curious to know which changes you have made to cut down on plastics, and what switches you have yet to make.  Is there anything you find difficult to adjust to?  Any areas of greener living you would like more tips about or advice on??  Let me know!

And be sure to check out Net Zero Co if you are looking for some zero waste staples to kickstart your New Year - 2020 can be the time we all rally to make a change, and their one stop shop makes it easier than ever to meet your goals!

3 comments

  1. I love my beeswax wraps. The whole family use them everyday for lunches and we all love using them.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I've been looking for an alternative to plastic food bags and I love the sound of these, I have added some to my basket to swap them out x

    www.beautyqueenuk.co.uk

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope you enjoy! they're so good - really makes switching to plastic free so easy :)

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