Five Free Zero Waste Swaps

A lot of people see the perfect pictures on Instagram and think they can’t be zero waste or low waste. The stainless steel containers, the perfectly matching glass jars, it all seems to good to be true. So I came up with a list of zero waste swaps that don’t cost a thing.

1. Save your jars

This is the best tip because saved jars can be used for so many things. When you buy tomato sauce, peanut butter or anything in a glass jar keep it. Just wash it out, take the label off and you have a great zero waste tool. You can use them to freeze soups/veggies/fruit in, pack your lunches in, as a reusable water bottle, as a reusable coffee cup, it’s endless what you can do with it.

2. Save your veggie scraps

You might have seen my post a couple weeks ago on making your own vegetable scraps, but if you haven’t and you want to try check it out. It is a great way to reduce food waste. Instead of tossing your scraps out right away you get to use them.

3. Bring Your Own

Bring your own jar and cutlery with you to festivals, markets, whatever to avoid disposables. Just use the cutlery you already have in your home and bam you have a zero waste kit. It’s better to use what you have than buy a fancy set online.

4. Make your own

Making your own lunches for work, or your own dinners saves a lot of trash (and money). Take out at its best involves cardboard, and worst Styrofoam. You produce less waste by making your own and it’s probably better for you too.

5. Refuse

When you’re offered free samples of food or drinks in plastic cups or paper plates try and refuse it (I know it’s hard to say no to free food). When you go to an event with free things you wont use refuse them. Don’t take the free pen, pencil, magnet if you don’t need them.

Add any other suggestions below!!

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Introducing my Bees

I’ve been a beekeeper for three years (just this spring is the anniversary) and I never felt qualified enough to write about it. I really don’t feel qualified yet! There’s so much to learn that I don’t think I ever will. My mom and I started Shamrock Apiaries after my grandpa’s friend starting keeping some of his bees on my grandpa’s farm. We named our apiary Shamrock because it is the street my grandpa’s farm is on. With Al (Albon Apiaries) as our mentor we started three hives, and in our first summer we caught a swarm and moved up to four.

We name each of our queens after real queens. We have Elizabeth, Victoria, Marie 14055146_10157297437665293_6911574687855759179_nAntoinette and Cleopatra. Elizabeth is the tallest hive and was always the strongest. Sadly this year Elizabeth and Marie Antoinette didn’t make it through the winter. Nether starved, both got sick even though we treated them in the fall sometimes you can’t protect them.

We will be replacing them and keeping the same names. We’re hoping to get one more hive (and name her Ru Paul) but we haven’t decided when we want to do that. Our yellow hives live with Al’s blue ones. The colour doesn’t matter we just like yellow.

We have a solar powered electric fence around them to protect them from raccoons, skunks, and even bears. Although I’m not sure it’s strong enough to stop a bear.

DSC_7161_preview.jpegWe do keep the honey and wax but we’re not in it for the honey. I like to think of it as the rent they pay. We just want to take care of them and learn everything about them. I think of them more as pets than livestock.

We try our hardest to keep the little girls alive. I just love watching them and working with them.

We harvest any excess honey they have in the fall. The brood boxes (the two large ones on the bottom of each hive) carry enough honey for the bees to make it through the winter, and the top boxes (honey supers) are for us. Sometimes the bees don’t fill the honey supers at all. Any wax I get comes from harvesting the honey. We only take the very top layer off of each frame and leave an almost finished frame for the bees to use next year.  I use the wax for candles, lip balms, and hand creams.DSC_6874_preview.jpeg

Beekeeping is getting popular and I think the majority of people doing small scale beekeeping are helping the ecosystem out by keeping the number of honey bees alive up. However many people go into it expecting it to be easy, and not following regulations and laws, which causes the spread of dieses between hives. I just try and take care of my bees as best we I can.

The photos are all by my lovely friend Katey who now has her own photography company you can find their Instagram here , the portfolio here and website here. The photos were taken before she created Little City Lifestyle, but her new stuff is just as good!

(not an ad just showing support for my friend)

Veggie Scrap Broth

Making broth out of veggie scraps is an easy way to give your veggies one last job before composting (or throwing them out if you don’t have access to a compost). It helps prevent food waste! Food waste is a massive problem and using up scraps that would normally not be used is a great step in helping.

I keep the skins of onions and garlic, the peels of potatoes and carrots, the stems of kale, scrapsreally anything in a container in the freezer until I have enough.  It changes depending on what I’ve been eating that week/month. Sometimes I add herbs in as well which adds to the flavour. I only add a touch of salt to my broth because I never know what I’ll end up using it for and you can always add more salt when your cooking. I like adding the onion and garlic skins because it gives the broth a nice dark colour. If I’m making a specific recipe with the broth I’ll add more than just scraps. For pho I’ll add ginger.

The longer you cook it the better. I bring the pot to a boil, then bring it down to a low simmer for hours. I’ll leave it on all day if I can. The longer it cooks the more flavour you get out of your veggies. Just leave it until it tastes and looks good to you.

As it cooks down it will get nice and dark. After that you can strain it and jar it. If you’re going to freeze it make sure you leave lots of room for it to expand in the freezer.

I strain it through a metal sieve to catch all the little bits but you can use a normal strainingcolander as well. I like to strain it into a measuring cup so it’s easier to poor into the jars.

Let me know if you try it and how it goes. For the longest time I thought stock/broth you made at home wouldn’t taste as good as a grocery store one but I really like it. Now that I know how easy is it I make it allll the time.

Do you make broth yourself?