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International Coastal Clean-up Day: Stem the Wave of Waste

Together with the Future Kids Club and other ambassadors to the zero waste movement, Shop Zero™ co-hosted the International Coastal Clean-up Day on 19 September at Strand Beach.

This global event formed part of the Clean Up & Recycle SA week. The coastal clean-up day began 30 years ago when communities rallied with the common goal of collecting and tracking coastline litter. Today, more than 100 countries participate, and it’s the world’s biggest volunteer effort for ocean health. South Africa has participated for the past 24 years, and this is the 3rd year Shop Zero has been actively involved. Collectively, our volunteers removed more than 827 kg of waste from the beach on Saturday!

Beach Cleanup South Africa
Rocco Da Silva, in the centre, started the Future Kids Club in 2017 when he was nine years old.

It’s not just about coastal clean ups

The coastal clean-up is much more than simply creating awareness and clearing plastic waste and litter from the beach.  It’s tracked using the Marine Debris Tracker, which allows users to record their findings and note the 12 most common items. AKA ‘the Dirty Dozen.’ By tracking the amounts of litter at sea, we can tell if specific measures are working or not. It’s incredibly time-consuming to track all litter, so the Dirty Dozen focuses on the primary types of litter picked up during coastal clean-ups.

Marine Debris Tracker

Introducing the marine menaces

So, what are these marine menaces scourging our coastlines? The 12 common critters are cool drink bottles, water bottles, cool drink lids, carrier bags, chip packets, and sweet wrappers. Along with straws, earbuds, lolly pop sticks, cigarette lighters, fishing line and light sticks. To date, from 100 clean-ups, we’ve tracked tens of thousands of each of these items.

Dirty Dozen Methodology

It can be overwhelming when faced with such a behemoth issue! Our daily goal is to create awareness and find eco-friendly alternatives, particularly for single-use plastic items. At our core, that’s who we are and what we’re fighting for.

If you’re reading this, it likely means you’re already taking steps to reduce your plastic waste footprint. Or maybe you’re just getting started on your journey. Either way, we are SO happy to have you here.

Our online store has a wide range of ethically sourced zero waste products. These include plastic-free alternatives to other ocean nasties such as single use coffee cups, straws, toothbrushes, dental floss, and cotton buds. All of which are also picked up regularly during our coastal clean-ups.

Ready to start making the switch? Take a browse through our range of re-usable cups and coffee cups, re-usable straws and cutlery, and plastic free toothbrushes, toothpaste and dental floss. And of course, we also stock organic cotton earbuds with recycled paper stems.

See you at the next coastal clean-up!

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Plastic Free July Lockdown Edition

We’re half way through Plastic Free July! The original concept was to refuse plastic use for the entire month of July. An estimated 250 million people took part last year. This year, across the world, Plastic Free July’s 10th anniversary challenge looks a little different. With the entire world facing this pandemic, many are staying home, even whilst the lockdown has been lightened, and only leaving home to go to work, and to the shops.

Given the current situation reducing plastic use is not a priority for many. I want to show you some things you can implement at home, if you are able to do so, to reduce your plastic use and share some things I have learnt over my 10 year green journey.

Make your own plastic-free filtered water with an activated charcoal stick.
  1. Read up about the negative environmental and health effects of single-use plastic. We all need to understand why it is so important to reduce our plastic use!
  2. Have a look at what single use plastic you currently throw away! You’ll be surprised to find there are many plastic packaged products that can easily be bought plastic free.
  3. After every shop, put your reusable bags (shopping, fruit and veg, dry goods, bread, etc.) somewhere where you will remember to take them with on your next shop. If you don’t have any, I highly recommend you invest in some. Shop Zero™ would love to help by offering 10% discount on all products bought online in July. Enter code PlasticFreeJuly10 at checkout.
  4. The same thing goes for your reusable coffee cup, bottle, straw, container and utensils, which are safe to use during this pandemic, as confirmed by health experts across the world.
  5. If you want to switch to plastic free versions of products you are currently using, don’t throw out what you are using. Be sure to use up what you have first, and after use recycle what you can and ecobrick what you can’t. Need a convenient way to ecobrick? Get yout comfortable ecobrick stick here.
  6. Not all switches are easy and that’s ok. For some, switching from plastic packaged body wash to bar soap doesn’t work, but you could switch to a metal bottle body wash instead. Or even take a reusable bottle to your local zero waste shop to be refilled.
  7. If you are passionate about reducing your plastic use, you will most likely have to go to 3 shops to get what you need instead of just one. In my area there is one shop that sells plastic free broccoli, another that sells a large variety of plastic free fruit, and a third one that sells packaging free cleaning products.
  8. Not all plastic is bad. There are many things in our home, that is made of plastic that we use every day. I’m not going to throw out a perfectly fine product just because it is plastic. Take reusable food containers as an example. We have many, and when we needed new ones, we bought glass and aluminum versions.
  9. Try make things at home that comes in plastic packaging. We make our own orange juice from packaging free oranges, instead of buying plastic bottled orange juice. I want to try baking bread at home next.
  10. Share your plastic free journey with others and you could inspire others to make positive changes to the environment.
Rich results on Google's SERP when searching for 'health shops in cape town'
These are all reused gherkins and beetroot jars, which I clearly buy a lot!

Good luck on your plastic free journey, and remember:

“I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.”

  • Edward Everett Hale

Lots of Love, Sharné aka The Green Vegan Chick

About the author: Sharné started her green journey over a decade ago, and has been vegan for 9 years. She started her beautiful Instagram page and blog to make it easier for others to make simple earth and animal friendly changes in their daily lives. Give her a follow on Instagram over @greenveganchick  for low waste inspiration, amazing plant-based recipes and all things green.

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Plant-based Peanut Butter & Choc Easter Eggs

Photo credit: Megan Gilmore

The Easter Bunny is permitted to travel freely so is able to bring these eggsquisite Easter eggs to all children (plus all the “big children”) in South Africa. Staying inside is the best reason to start making your own healthy treats at home. If you have kids, it’s also a great time to get them involved and spend some quality time together in the kitchen. You probably already have these ingredients, so we hope you’ll be able to make your own Easter eggs this weekend.

This is a kid-friendly recipe with a wonderful sensory experience. Forming the peanut butter dough into little balls and then pressing them into egg shapes, feels like playing with play dough. These healthier peanut butter eggs will also help keep your kids from bouncing off the walls with processed, refined sugar treats. Nourish them with these chewy bites instead.

This recipe won’t egg-haust you as these peanut butter eggs take no longer than 20 minutes to make. They are also much healthier for you AND less trashy. These wrapper-free Easter eggs are therefore also healthier for our planet! Your sweet tooth just got a lot more sustainable…

Recipe inspo thanks to Megan Gilmore. Go check out her Instagram feed over at @detoxinista and for the most amazing vegan and gluten-free recipes be sure to check out her website here.



Ingredients for 6 servings
1/2 cup unsweetened peanut butter (creamy or crunchy, your choice)
3 TBSP Silan Date Syrup (order online here)
1 TBSP coconut flour
1/4 tsp salt (add only if your peanut butter is unsalted)
1/2 cup dark chocolate
1 tsp coconut oil

Instructions
1. In a medium bowl, combine the peanut butter, date syrup, coconut flour, and salt (if using). Mix well until batter is formed.
2. Use a spoon to scoop the batter into 6 balls then use your hands to shape the dough into egg shapes. Arrange the egg shapes on a plate lined with parchment paper, and place in the freezer to set.
3. While the peanut butter eggs are setting in the freezer, melt the dark chocolate and coconut oil together using the double boiler method.
4. Remove the the peanut butter eggs from the freezer and dip each one into the melted chocolate until completely coated.
5. Return the chocolate covered eggs to the parchment paper and spoon any additional chocolate over the top for a thicker chocolate coating.
6. Allow to set in the freezer for at least 10 more minutes then serve!

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How to be more sustainable this Christmas

The festive season is here! Family dinners are a big part of this joyous time, but we all know the chaos that follows as we prep for family visits. Shop Zero™ has asked me to share some simple tips to help you be a little more sustainable this Christmas.

Buy in Bulk & Package Free

Prepare ahead of time and avoid the rushed shopping that usually takes place the day before Christmas. Not only will you save money, you won’t be inundated by plastic packaging. There are many small, local, ethical businesses that provide high quality produce with no to minimal packaging. Many deliver as well, which is always a bonus when you’re busy entertaining family.

Shop Zero offers dried goods in bulk bins and also takes online orders to make it even easier for customers to #shopzero waste.

Compost Food Scraps

If you haven’t already started, now is a great time to invest in a Bokashi Bin and compost your kitchen scraps. This small act makes a huge difference reducing greenhouse gas emissions and your overall waste in landfills! A step to living more sustainably made easy. The planet (and garden) thanks you!

Sustainable Home Storage

Glass jars do the job, but these days there are many options available to us: Stasher Bags are multi-purpose silicone bags that have become an essential in my home! I use them to freeze, boil, microwave and store food. But they aren’t limited to my kitchen! I use them as travel toiletry bags, a lunch box, take-away pouches and as a home for my phone and keys when I decide it’s a wonderful day to be at the beach. Whether it’s for yourself or as a gift, Stasher has made sustainable storage effortless. It’s especially useful around small children. So, whether you use them as storage, to prep frozen meals or to extend the life of your leftovers Stashers are the way to go!

Stasher bags make a great gift for kitchen enthusiasts, fitness fanatics, travelers, earth-lovers and everyone in between.

Soy Wax Wraps are also great to replace many of the roles plastic cling wrap and foil played in our kitchens. They also make a cute sandwich bag! And at the end of its life, you can compost it.

EcoBrick

We still exist in a linear economy and many of us still accumulate annoying pieces of plastic like price tags, stickers or store receipts printed on shiny thermal paper. These items can’t be recycled and to avoid sending them to landfill you can ecobrick these items into a plastic bottle. The bottles must be tightly filled so a full-grown human can stand on it without it showing the slightest dent. Shop Zero™ is happy to collect your ecobricks and donates them to projects who use them as building materials. Although the ideal is not to create waste at all, at the moment this is the most sustainable solution to an existing problem.

Get Wrapped up in Sustainability

Wrapping gifts for loved ones can be creative and sustainable. I keep a lot of the paper wrapping that came with online orders throughout the year. The paper is often brown and cream in colour, and is also very often recyclable and compostable. It’s also a canvas for unleashing creativity… Whether you create your own stamps to create patterns or free hand with Soy Pastel Crayons, it’s guaranteed that your present will be unique. Shop Zero™ also provides Seeded Paper Gift Bags that add an extra pinch of joy to the person receiving it as well as beautiful Reusable Fabric Gift Wraps made from off-cuts and upcycled into a sustainable wrapping alternative to traditional paper gift wrap.

These eco-friendly soy pastels are made to bring more colour, calmness and creativity into your life.

Go Greener with Greens

Experiment this festive season with greener dishes and less meat. There are more and more delicious and fun vegan replacements and recipes filling the South African market. Shop Zero™ has a great selection of Fauxmage nut cheeses and even Vegan Droëwors you can add to cheese plates or incorporate as snacks. Going greener with your diet is good for you and the planet. It’s probably one of the most sustainable things to do this festive season!

Sustainable Gifts

In my family gifts are optional, but if that’s a big part of your family traditions then it’s important to make them sustainable. •Purchase experiences instead of things. •Buy second hand gifts. Save money and resources it took to create them. •Make a donation on behalf of someone. There are great projects and organisations that work towards creating a more sustainable tomorrow. • Buy them what they need, something they would appreciate. It could be their Netflix subscription for a month or two, or paying a bill. •If you have to purchase something new, make sure it’s from a sustainable, ethical and local business.

If you’re looking to give gifts to help family and friends on their own zero waste journey, Shop Zero™ has gifts for every person at any price point and I can recommend these:

R100 and under
Stainless Steel/ Copper /Glass Straw & Straw Cleaning Brush
Coconut Bowl
FreshBags veggie or bread bags
Masterstock Cape Wild Food 50ml bottle
Nourish luxurious body/ face soaps or shampoo bars                     

R200 and under
Market string bag
Hemp printed shopping bags: exclusive to Shop Zero™
Back2Nature vegan face & body products

R300 and under
EcoffeeWilliam Morris reusable bamboo cup
Reusable drinking bottles
Composter: bokashi bin & bran
Kuro-Bo water filters
Tiffin food and picnic storage tin
Book: Zero Waste Home by Bea Johnson

About the author: Marissa is a zero (or rather low) waster, environmentalist, public speaker and eco consultant. Contact her here to book a consultation or workshop. Give her a follow on Instagram over @lowimpact_rissipit for zero waste inspiration and adorable dog photos.

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Enjoy the benefits of hormonal health in full bloom

September is the beginning of a new season and a good time to relook your hormonal well-being. We’d like to focus on women’s health, starting with an intro to menstrual cups, a quick look at seed cycling and we have a beautiful quinoa porridge recipe to share – and here’s how they all work together:

MENSTRUAL CUPS

Photo by Rubycup

A menstrual cup is a flexible rubber or silicone cup designed to use inside the vagina during your period. The cup collects the menstrual flow rather than absorbing it like tampons or pads do. Tampons are also made from cotton, which is bleached with chlorine. This chlorine is an ingredient that is sadly tested on animals.

Advantages of using a cup:
They are reusable so you save money and there is less landfill waste.
Vaginal pH and beneficial bacteria stay in place (tampons absorb all of these).
You can wear the cup up to 12 hours before emptying and it is easy to use.

All menstrual cups sold at Shop Zero are made from silicone, so they are suitable for latex-sensitive ladies. And remember, the only way to know if a menstrual cup is right for you, is to give it a try – and we are always happy to share our experience and advice here at Shop Zero™. Your monthly cycle is about so much more than just your period – which is only the first phase of your cycle. Using a cup also puts you in touch with your body, giving you a better insight into your flow and anatomy.

SEED CYCLING

Image supplied by Francesca Rose

Seed cycling is a gentle way to balance your hormones throughout the two phases of your menstrual cycle by using the nutrients in seeds. All you need is two tablespoons of seeds each day. The first half of your cycle you’d eat pumpkin and flax seeds which help with producing, metabolising and detoxing estrogen. In the second half of your cycle you’d eat sunflower and sesame seeds to help with progesterone production, metabolisation and detoxification.

Women struggling with symptoms of PMS, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), post-birth control syndrome (PBCS), irregular periods, acne, and breast tenderness could greatly benefit from seed cycling. Local women’s wellness enthusiast, Francesa Rose, focuses on balancing hormones through balanced meals. She has developed an inspiring 200-page ebook packed with information and recipes, and was kind enough to share one with us.

Berry Quinoa Porridge
INGREDIENTS
1/2 cup quinoa
1/2 cup almond milk (or coconut milk)
1 cup water
5 chopped dates
1 cup mixed berries (I used strawberries, cherries and blueberries)
1 ripe banana
1/2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
1-2 tsp beetroot powder
1 tsp flaxseeds (freshly ground)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla powder
A dash of Himalayan crystal salt

TO SERVE
Some beetroot slivers
A drop of beetroot sprouts
A dollop of coconut yoghurt (feel free to mix it with some beetroot powder for a fancy pink hue) A drizzle of tahini (or roasted almond butter)
A sprinkle of activated buckwheat

Image supplied by Francesca Rose

METHOD
Thoroughly rinse the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer. Grind the flaxseeds in a coffee grinder or by hand with a mortar and pestle. Roughly chop the pumpkin seeds and dates. Gently mash the banana and berries with a fork. Keep the juice from the berries.

Bring the quinoa, water and almond milk to a boil in a medium-size saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to low and cook for 15-20 minutes, uncovered, stirring occasionally. Add the mashed banana and berries (with its juice) halfway through cooking. Stir in banana and the berries to ooze out the bright red colours.

Once the liquid is absorbed and the quinoa is tender, remove from heat and add the cinnamon, vanilla, beetroot powder, flaxseeds, pumpkin seed and dates. Stir to combine. Cover and let stand for five minutes. Taste and adjust flavour as needed. Add a bit more almond milk if you prefer the texture thinner. Serve up the quinoa in a bowl and top with your desired toppings. Keep any leftovers in the fridge for breakfast for the following week!

For more delicious recipes like this one, check out Francesca’s Rose’s ebook. It features 28 vegan recipes that work with, and correlate to your menstrual cycle and the moon cycle, based on the concept of seed cycling. Follow @francescaeatsroses on Instagram for amazing tips on period health, healing and getting your period back!

On Sunday, 22 September Shop Zero™ is hosting an informative Women’s Health Workshop with @hormonal.harmony and @rona_mindful_cycles_sa. The morning will be about Aligning with the Rhythm of Nature: Conscious Consumerism & your Menstrual Cycle. Keep your eyes peeled on our social media. This event will take place at our store and tickets will be available soon.

What better way to introduce spring this year than celebrating the natural rhythm of death and rebirth that occurs in women’s bodies every month. We’d love to hear your thoughts on the menstrual cup and your cycle… please share any insights here.

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To gift or not to gift…

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It’s that time of the year again – festive season madness.  While we as Shop Zero™ do not promote consumerism and encouraged customers not to buy anything (excluding your essentials of course) during the recent Black Friday and Cyber Monday retail campaigns, we are also realists and understand that gifting is a tradition for many during this time.

Sustainable festive gifting
I personally believe the trick is to handle it responsibly.  After two decades of attempting to mimimise our family’s festive gift budget, we have finally settled on a gifting solution that works quite nicely for everyone.  We all put or names on individual pieces of (recycled) paper, pop the names in a bowl and then each family member draws a name.  You will then ONLY buy a gift for that person whose name you drew and it has to fall within the allocated budget (which is R300 in our case).  This way everyone gets a gift and you can buy something decent for that amount – first prize being from a second-hand store.

Sustainable living inspiration
Why limit the joy of sustainable living to the festive season?  Let it be the start of a new lifestyle, one that focuses on being more aware of your impact on the environment.  Attempt to eliminate that which does not serve your health or the well-being of this planet.  Start by looking at what you consume on a daily basis and ask:
1. Is it all necessary?
2. Where can I cut back on waste and excess?

Introduce small changes instead of trying to tackle everything at once, which might become overwhelming and discourage you from the end goal: being kind to yourself and this beautiful planet.

For example: If you notice you love and eat a lot of chocolate, how can you still enjoy this treat in a healthy and responsible way?  Easy… through informed substitution!

Take Soaring Free Superfoods Raw Chocolate.  Although it comes in packaging, its Certified Organic Raw Cacao in home compostable packaging means it’s organic,  it’s a superfood and it’s packaged earth friendly.  By swapping a refined sugary chocolate bar wrapped in non-recyclable plastic for wholesome Raw Superfoods Chocolate, you know you’re doing the right thing, since the chocolate is fair trade, unprocessed and packaged in resonsible packaging.  You can even cut up the packaging and pop it in your bokashi composter bin.

This is a small example of turning an old ‘bad’ habit into a ‘new’ constructive one.   This process will become second nature if you continue to ask these simple questions as you navigate through your daily consumption habits.

Sustainable gift guide
If you are looking for sustainable gifting ideas that have a positive impact on our planet, here are some suggestions.  These really are gifts that keep on giving as they are ALL reusable and make a real difference to reducing your plastic waste:

R100 and under
Stainless Steel/ Copper /Glass Straw & Straw Cleaning Brush
Coconut Bowl
FreshBags veggie or bread bags
Masterstock Cape Wild Food 50ml bottle
Nourish luxurious body/ face soaps or shampoo bars

R200 and under
Market string bag
Hemp printed shopping bags: exclusive to Shop Zero™
Bamboo toothbrush & travel case
Back2Nature vegan face & body products

R300 and under
Ecoffee/ William Morris reusable bamboo cup
Reusable drinking bottles
Composter: bokashi bin & bran
Kuro-Bo water filters
Tiffin food and picnic storage tin
Book: Zero Waste Home by Bea Johnson
Book: The Magic of Superfoods by Peter & Beryn Daniel

Happy sustainable shopping and remember, every small change makes a huge difference.  So even if you don’t shop zero waste yet, aim to shop eco-friendly.

The festive season is not necessarily a religious occasion for our family, but it is the only time we are all able to all take leave and come together as a family to look back on the year, be thankful for our blessings and spend quality time together.  We wish our Shop Zero™ customers and followers the same and more.

If you have any other sustainable tips and tricks or any ideas for responsible gifting solutions, please share it with us and post them in the comments here.

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Shop plastic free online

We’ve arrived online and we’re so excited: our zero waste, plastic-free online shopping site is now live and ready for you.  Now you can Shop Zero™ from the comfort of your home, making zero waste options even more convenient.  If you are looking for sustainable, eco-friendly lifestyle solutions, you have come to the right place.  Shop Zero™ has the answers!

Choose from our wide range of reusable cups and straws, zero waste skin, body and hair products, and other environmentally friendly items.  We are vegan-based and inspired by everyone and everything that is kind and fair to our beautiful planet. We also deliver nationwide in South Africa.

WHAT DOES ZERO WASTE MEAN?
If you are new to the concept of zero waste and how to shop sustainably, stick around. We’ll be posting regularly to guide you in the right direction by giving tips, advice and solutions to everyday waste problems.

WHY DO WE DO WHAT WE DO?
Quite simply, we’re here to eliminate the single use of plastic, which is the main threat to the livelihood of our oceans and the reason our landfills are overflowing. On our website and in our shop in Woodstock (Cape Town), you will see a vast range of alternatives to the single use of plastic, showing you how to shop and live plastic free.

Welcome to your zero waste community, welcome to Shop Zero™.

shopzero.co.za