Halloween is right around the corner and its time to spook everyone! However, the real scary thing about Halloween is the waste that gets left over after its all over. Celebrations are important but it is also essential to have a low waste celebration. Karmic Seed presents a few tricks and treats to help you get your zero waste Halloween started!
Paper Mache Pumpkin
A great way of using up old papers or newspapers lying around in your house is to make a paper mache pumpkin! This is way better than buying an actual pumpkin because it usually ends up adding to the agro-waste problem. Your paper mache pumpkin can also be saved up as a decoration for next year. Click hereto see how to make one.
Jack-o’-lantern finds a second life
If you do insist on using an actual pumpkin, you could make complete use of it too. You could roast the seeds and eat them as is or plant them. The flesh of the carved out pumpkin can be used for cooking or to make a purée. You could also use the pumpkin rind to make a delicious pickle. After the celebrations, you can use the leftover pumpkin and compost it.
Reusing Decorations/Making decorations with existing items
Instead of buying brand new decorations (mostly made of plastic) from a store, why not re-use your old decorations? It will save you a lot of money and you won’t end up making more waste after the Halloween celebrations are over. If you don’t have your old decorations, you could always make some with the existing materials in your house like old clothes, newspapers, bags etc. If you go online you could literally find millions of creative ideas. You could save them for next year as well!
Again, instead of buying a whole new outfit which you would use only once a year try stitching your own costume. You could get real creative and be a little unique as well. There are literally many pieces of clothing in each household that we would ordinarily just chuck in the trash. Use them to create your own costume. If you aren’t comfortable stitching it on your own, you could always use the services of a tailor or someone who is good at it.
Time to hit the books
With store-bought candies, the extra problem of plastic wrappers comes along. So why not hit the good old recipe book and cook some homemade sweets! They are equally (if not more) delicious and come without the added trouble of trash!
We hope these tips help you celebrate a happy, beautiful and trash-free Halloween! Any celebration is after all, incomplete without mother nature!
Having followed Anne-Marie Bonneau’s work on Instagram for a while (@zerowastechef), we were quite intrigued by her application of zero waste ideology into her kitchen. So we asked her a couple of questions and she was more than willing to grant us all some much-needed knowledge.
Anne Marie AKA Zero Waste Chef In Action!
KS: Starting with your Instagram bio, you follow three rules in your kitchen- No packaging, nothing processed and no trash. What exactly triggered this movement in for you?
AM: Even before I applied this rule in my kitchen, I wasn’t a big consumer. I don’t need a lot of stuff to get started. We realized that most of our trash came from the kitchen and decided to start from there.
KS: Cooking a regular meal requires a lot of planning. How do you, as a zero waste chef, manage to plan your everyday meals?
AM: I think the key is not to cook something new every single day. First of all, I look at what I have on hand before I go shopping for new ingredients. Usually, I come up with unexpected meals or inventions with what’s leftover! I shop only once a week, plan out a couple of meals and consume one particular meal for three days or so.
KS: Going plastic free is a great thing and no one is going to argue with that. We want to know the real side of it. What were the most common struggles you faced in your quest to go plastic free?
AM: In 2011, we read up about plastic and plastic pollution and decided to take that step to go plastic-free. It took us months to get started! When we would go shopping we’d face so many issues and our choices became less because most of the stuff came in plastic containers. It was definitely a challenge and did not happen overnight. I would advise you, to start small- for example, bringing cloth bags whenever you got out shopping. Don’t try to be perfect, because no one is. Small, significant steps are the way to go!
KS: You ferment a lot of your food. Can you please talk more about it and the benefits of it?
AM: Oh, fermented food tastes amazing! Fermentation really brings out strong flavors. All the good things in life are fermented- cheese, beer, wine etc. Our mood, our weight and health are all gut dependent. When you eat fermented food, it improves the gut bacteria and is in general, more nutritious.
Fermented Foods Made by The Zero Waste Chef
KS: Could you share some of your easiest zero-waste food to make for an easy midnight snack?
AM: Popcorn! We buy popcorn in bulk and cook it in a pot on the stove and add in some coconut oil and salt. Even hummus, which is easy to make, can be eaten with bread.
KS: At Karmic Seed we are really passionate about waste products all our products are considered agro waste products that would typically be burned. We love that you are also promoting a zero waste kitchen lifestyle that eliminates waste in the kitchen. Any suggestions on how businesses can function when it comes to sustainability and fair environmental practice?
AM: I think companies should create their products in such a way that they shouldn’t put the onus on the consumer to clean up afterwards. They should use better alternatives than synthetics. For example, hemp. It is easy and quick to grow and is way cheaper. It was banned before, due to corporate interests but has not been legalized again.
KS: We would like to know some quick tips to make use of the agro-waste from our kitchen!
AM: You could use leftover vegetables to make vegetable broth. Apple peels can be used to make vinegar instead of buying store-bought vinegar bottles. Also, cream with cultured milk can be used to make sour cream.
KS: Finally, how has going zero waste affected your life?
AM: I am much healthier now as I eat real, wholesome food that I’ve cooked myself. I feel much happier as I don’t see a downside to being this way. Its fun, its important and I enjoy it! The food tastes better and now that I don’t go very often to shop for stuff, I have time to do other things I enjoy as well!
KS: Thank you so much, Anne-Marie, for sharing your wisdom and giving us your time!
Plastic here, plastic there, plastic everywhere. Unfortunately, our generation has grown up around all this plastic waste material. It’s gotten so bad that we have even coined a term for it “Plastic Pollution.” A question that we ask ourselves at Karmic Seed is “Do we want to leave our children and future generation in a better world than we have grown up in?”
We have talked about thezero waste lifestyle before. Now, let’s talk about the main driving force as to why we should opt for this lifestyle. From the time of its invention, plastic revolutionized science and innovation. This reusable and affordable commodity soon became a part of every household. From our washrooms to our kitchens we own a scary amount. led to the large-scale turnover of plastic waste, which kept accumulating as the years went by. Today the term given to this phenomena is “Plastic Pollution”. It has ruined our natural resources, choked our animals, and has made waste disposal a huge problem.
Why must kids be environmentally conscious?
plastic free coconut bowls
Plastic pollution isn’t just a problem for adults. Our children need to realize themselves, what’s right. One way to do that is by promoting good role models. Make them read inspiring stories of people who do their bit for the environment. An environmental superhero, if you will.
Bea Johnson is one among the leading curators of the zero waste movement. She has even talked about helping her kids adjust to a zero waste lifestyle, here. When kids read about other kids following a seemingly tough lifestyle, the transition becomes easy and fun!
Karmic Seed constantly promotes the good Samaritans of the environment or seed-changers as we like to call them. Watch our space for more!
What goes around, grows around.
As kids, we were accustomed to seeing plastic bottles or bags collected in heaps around us. As we grew up, we thought this was normal and never questioned the impact of hoarding so much! We have the resources now to make much better choices. Instead of plastic bowls, you could opt for a coconut bowl. Instead of a plastic plate, go for an areca plate. They are made out of agricultural waste and serve the same purpose, but with practically zero harm to the environment.
When your child watches you make these conscious decisions, they become more aware of what they buy or use. They stop viewing synthetic items as an option, helping your household moves one step closer to being environmentally friendly.
Incorporate zero waste activities with your kids
A great way to help kids adjust to a trash-free life is by making it fun with some zero waste activities! Here are a few you could do try with your kids
To minimize future trash, it is important to make sure the existing trash finds a purpose. Ask your kids to collect all sorts of existing plastic containers in the house and go shopping to the local market for some seeds of their choice. Help them collect soil in the containers and plant those seeds. This could be a fun way to help them start their own garden and care for it. It helps make your house greener and you also find a way to re-use the plastic instead of throwing it out. It hit two nails on the head!
Zero-waste picnics (the before and after picture)
Picnics and family outings are important. It is also important to involve your kids in the process of packing food for the picnic so they realize the need to go for alternative packaging. Instead of plastic packaging, pack your liquids in glass containers. You could also use steel tiffin’s to carry solid food. As far as cutlery goes, opt for something earth friendly like areca plates.
Now before the picnic begins, take a picture of the spot you’re going to be eating at. After the picnic is done and you all are done cleaning up, take a picture of the same spot again. Tell your kids that each time they go somewhere they have to leave the place clean enough to not have any differences in the before and after pictures. This is a fun game and a good incentive to be environmentally conscious!
Ice-cream trips minus the trash
This is a fun tip we picked up from Bea Johnson. Zero-waste lifestyle doesn’t have to mean, cutting down on simple joys of life. Instead of using the plastic cups at the ice-cream store, make your kids carry their own glass jars and spoons. It is a simple thing like this that will make them realize that they can enjoy their life while caring for mother earth.
Plastic free coconut bowls
Cooking up some fun
Involve your kids in cooking simple food so they can learn to make use of agro-waste as well. Kitchens tend to produce a lot of waste too, and its important for them to make use of it. Remember the garden idea? Ask them to use, for example coffee grounds and add it into the soil for their garden. If you have a huge yard, you could even introduce them to composting. Theoretical knowledge can be boring but practical application is always the best way for kids to learn.
Birthday parties are an integral part of any childhood. It might be a bit hard to apply this one in real life, but in the long run it is completely worth it. When hosting a birthday party for your child, make them understand the need to have gifts that are reusable or sustainable in the long run. For example, toys are something that are always made of plastic and kids eventually outgrow them. But something like, books or an e-ticket to their favourite movie doesn’t add to the trash problem and stay with them for life. Requesting zero-waste gifts, is a huge step in the personal development of your child.
A green childhood is a happy childhood.
At a young age, if we teach our kids to care for the environment this leads to a prosperous future and a sustainable one. Our decisions today, impact the decisions our kids will have to make for themselves. Let them grow with more than just textbook knowledge about the environment. Teach them to apply it in real life. We want to leave a better world for our kids and for that, we need to start teaching them ways to make one.
If you have read our previous blog posts, you must have realized our affinity towards a trash-free life. However, it can be a little intimidating and confusing as to where one should begin. The transition to a trash-free life might seem like a difficult one, but with the right tools and ideas, you can!
Karmic Seed has listed down different ways in which you can be a part of the change.
Plastic, be gone
Like we mentioned in our article for plastic-free childhood, it is important to make use of the existing items of plastic in your household so you don’t find the need to depend on more plastic items or throw out the existing ones. Plastic bottles and bowls can be used to grow plants in. Food containers made out of plastic can be used to store jewellery or makeup items. Plastic bags can be used to wrap shoes in. Finding an alternative use for the existing plastic items can help you make the first step.
Once you have emptied out all the plastic from your kitchen, start replacing them with better materials like glass, wood or steel. Glass and steel are sustainable in the long run and great for storing cold or hot foods. Wood is a non-toxic material and doesn’t contribute to hazardous waste. Coconut bowls and areca plates are made out of agricultural waste and make for a great alternative as well. Each time you go shopping at the grocery store, make sure to buy ingredients that are not sold in plastic bags or containers. If you can’t seem to find any, go to your nearby farmers market or start growing your own produce step-by-step. Your kitchen will thank you for it!
A stitch in time can fix your life
When you go to the supermarket, do you find yourself collecting way too many plastics bags? Not to worry, we have a solution. Carry your own cloth bag instead. All you need to do is find some of the old clothing items that you don’t wear anymore and cut off the fabric to sew your own bag. Check out this website, to learn how to make your own. Its super easy and you can make them of different sizes depending on your needs. For each cloth bag you carry, you save yourself and your house from at least three plastic bags!
Compostable Trash bags
These are quite different from the biodegradable trash bags. The disposal method of biodegradable bags is very unclear and the majority of them still end up in landfills without the required temperature to fully decompose. However compostable trash bags have a more systematic method of disposal via compost facilities. All you need to do is find a compost facility near you! Compostable trash bags are great when you have kitchen waste, plant waste or any other kind of waste that is biodegradable.
Compost bins are a great alternative for the conventional dustbins which do nothing for the nutrient-filled kitchen waste. Check out this compost bin made from bamboo fibres and with a replaceable charcoal filter to absorb odour. Compost bins help break down the organic trash and you could use this as fertilizer for your garden or potted plants. You could also bury them in the land around you to add nutrient value to the soil!
The transition to a zero waste life isn’t easy but no good thing comes easy, does it? We hope these trash accessories help you out!
Zero waste, agro waste- we’ve been hearing it all. We have been talking about it in our previous blog posts as well. But what does it mean to actually incorporate these concepts in our daily life? In a rapidly expanding concrete world, Manju Kumar aka ‘zero waste farmer’ (as she is known on Instagram) comes as a breath of fresh air. We, at Karmic Seed, have been following her work for quite some time and were thrilled at the opportunity to interview her. From her zero waste lifestyle, gardening skills to her family-owned company “Brush with Bamboo” and agro-waste utilization tips: we asked it all and she was more than happy to oblige.
KS: Every person always cites someone else as their inspiration to do the things that they do. Who has been your inspiration when it comes to your green thumb?
MK: When it comes to my green thumb, I have to say, my family. Everyone in my family has been landlords and farmers, as a result of which I’ve had access to good, homely food in my childhood.
Photo Courtesy Manju Kumar (Zero Waste Farmer)
KS: In a world where people prefer buying their fruits and vegetables from the supermarket or ordering it online, what exactly motivates you to grow your own produce?
MK: I guess; I don’t like to follow everybody else. I’m sort of a rebel that way and I don’t get swayed by the glitter of things. I have always firmly felt that whatever the earth produces is the most natural and best for you.
KS: How have you incorporated the concept of zero waste, into farming?
MK: Basically I don’t believe in the use of plastic. We always ask our customers to get their own containers. I also collect reusable containers. The amount of packaging that goes into food items for sale, is the biggest waste. We solve that issue by growing our own food. Another wastage that tends to happen, is a waste of water due to inefficient irrigation. We don’t do that wastage.
We also believe in the concept of permaculture which is essentially like living in a forest. The forest does not get fertilizers or any artificial resources and yet, the soil is healthy and the forest is lush.
KS: Agro waste is gaining popularity but at the same time, very few people actually make it a part of their day-to-day life. Any tips on how to do so?
MK: Now I’m quite lazy and look for the easiest way to compost. I segregate my waste and since I have a lot of land outside my house, I dig huge holes of about two feet by four feet and fill it with green waste and cover that up with soil. The waste decays and provides essential nutrients to the soil and plants.
KS: Usually in an urban setting like an apartment, you don’t really have land around you to do that. Do you think the same method could work for potted plants too?
MK: Yeah sure! You could try filling the bottom of the pot with green waste and cover it up with soil. You could definitely try that too.
KS: We often don’t think much of something as small and yet significant as a toothbrush, yet here you are. Tell us a little bit about the story behind Brush with Bamboo
MK: It actually came upon my son’s mind. We were watching documentaries on plastic usage and we realized that we own so much plastic around us! Even when you dig into your handbags, you find so many items of plastic. One day, he was brushing his teeth and he realized that even the first thing one puts in their mouth, is made of plastic.
He started searching for alternatives but there were no options at the time. He found out that in ancient times bamboo tree brushes existed. Since there were none in the market, we decided to create our own. That is the story behind Brush with Bamboo
Photo Courtesy Manju Kumar ( Zero Waste Farmer)
KS: That is truly inspirational and quite amazing! Now for our last question, we would like to know what are some of yourfavorite ways to avoid making trash or attain a zero waste living?
MK: I think the biggest way you can avoid making trash is by growing your food. Instead of growing grass or bushes, I use that same water to grow plants that can actually give me food. This way you can save up on the amount of plastic that goes into packaged food. Another way is to avoid harsh chemicals or anything that is not offered by mother nature. For example, instead of fertilizers, you could use coffee ground, which is normally considered waste, to fertilize your soil. As much as possible, stop your waste from going into the landfill.
KS: Thank you so much Manju for giving us your precious time and knowledge
MK: The pleasure is all mine!
To know more about Manju and her zero waste journey follow her on Instagram @zerowastefarmer
To know more about her company Brush With Bamboo, check out their website and take that extra step towards a plastic-free future.