Those who know me well, know that I had a serious late night chocolate block addiction and that I never passed up the opportunity for a little tearoom treat at work. With this in mind, I was fearful that this habit was going to render me a plastic free failure. There is no pretending those Cadbury blocks and mini bars are really wrapped in foil.
To begin with I was so focused on feeding the family real food, plastic free, for breakfast, lunch and tea, that I didn’t even notice that a chocolate treat hadn’t passed my lips for several weeks – and I didn’t miss it at all. Amazing. Not only was I deplastifying our lives but I seemed to be detoxing as well. My husband and I lost a combined total of 4.5kg those first few weeks. Anyway, this isn’t about convincing you to go without to be plastic free; I just thought it was an interesting thing to have happened.
I began looking for plastic free treats because I have young kids, and whilst I want them to eat healthily, I want them to be able to have the odd treat too. I searched for and found bulk lollies. The idea being that it would be easier to say “no” at the shops if I have a waste free option (out of easy reach) at home. This system is working okay even though the temptation is now in the house. They still ask for treats at the shops but have gotten good at picking the non-plastic wrapping. In fact, I think my four year old figured out very early on how to ‘play me’ to get herself a treat. If you are going to have lollies at parties or for party bags, you should get them this way with zero waste.
Now when I shop, I wander around looking more closely at items on the shelves in case I discover something of use for the next plastic free or zero waste switch. It was whilst doing this that I realised there are blocks of chocolate wrapped in foil and cardboard only! They are also fair trade and organic which are very important purchasing considerations. You can find these chocolate blocks in the supermarkets, health food stores, and small grocers.
Since I started cooking a lot more from scratch I came across another chocolate challenge – finding cocoa powder and chocolate bits plastic free. I have been lucky enough to find cacao powder and cacao bits in bulk 20 minutes from where I live, so now I can get it with zero waste. You can use cocoa powder and cacao powder interchangeably. Cacao is the purest form of chocolate you can consume, which means it is raw and much less processed than cocoa powder or chocolate bars. I read that cacao is thought to be the highest source of antioxidants of all foods and the highest source of magnesium of all foods.
So that’s how I have solved all my chocolate challenges. Hopefully, you can find bulk supplies near you too.
Interestingly, until the last decade or so,all block chocolate (including Cadbury) came wrapped in foil and paper. The plastic thing is very recent
I came across your blog yesterday via a link to a newspaper article shared in the Aussies Living Simply Facebook page. One thing I wondered is whether you consider food miles at all (e.g. all cocoa products are imported even if the chocolate is made here).
The article about you in the Daily Mail shows a cardboard box of imported Barilla pasta as a sustainable option. The alternative is SA-made and owned San Remo pasta that comes in plastic but supports local jobs (or, of course, making your own). Sustainable living really can be an ethical minefield!
LikeLiked by 1 person
Total agree about it being an ethical minefield and yes I do try to consider as many things as possible including transport. My ultimate aim is to be as self sufficient as possible which would mean I end up making stuff like pasta. However, I am having to teach myself a lot of things and it does take extra time to learn and make. It’s a work in progress. I also recommend to others and always think to myself that each time we make a decision to purchase something it’s an opportunity to think about whether we can make a better choice. The problem is that single use plastic is such an invasive problem, having devastating impacts on the environment! Yes there are many more issues of similar magnitude but this is the issue I’ve decided to tackle head on for now. More than happy to have conversations like this with you Kate, as I see myself as a life long learner and I reckon dialogue is one of the best ways to grow.