Food & Drink, Kitchen Staples

Zero-Waste Snack Ideas

Are you looking to zero waste your snack habit? I have put together over 30 zero-waste snack ideas to keep your taste buds and your bin happy! 

This article originally appeared on Kempii – a great site with advice and products to reduce waste – and we thought it would be great to share here too as part of Plastic-Free July.

Favourite Zero-Waste Snack Ideas

Fruit

how to keep cut apple fresh

The original zero-waste snack. You would think that fruit should be a simple and cheap plastic-free snack. However, buying loose fruit is, depending on where you shop, a little tricky. What’s more, buying loose can often be pricier compared to prepackaged fruit. Sometimes the plastic packaging is there to prolong the lifespan of the fruit, preventing food waste. It’s certainly a minefield, and you can only do what you can.

If you have the choice then opt for the most seasonal and local fruit you can find – here’s a handy month-by-month guide if you’re stuck for ideas. Seasonal fruit is often the cheapest and the tastiest option. Whereas out of season fruit has normally been grown energy intensively in heated hothouses and is low on flavour.

If there are slim pickings at your local shop, then bananas, despite travelling a long distance to reach us, have a surprisingly low carbon footprint. They are grown in natural sunlight, which means that no energy-intensive hot-housing is required. And unlike softer fruits, like grapes, berries, and kiwi fruit, they keep well, so although they are often grown thousands of miles from where they are sold, they are transported by boats, which is less energy-intensive than air freighting produce.

Make it special: slather your fruit in a nut butter or chocolate spread. This could be homemade or shop-bought (in a glass jar) – whatever works for you.

Vegetables

Over 30 zero-waste snack ideas

Again, another of the original zero-waste snack ideas! Depending on the season, carrots, cucumbers, peppers, radishes, and pea pods make for great low effort raw snacks. Again check out the month by month guide to what’s in season before you head to the shops.

To help ensure your vegetables don’t go to waste, prepare ahead by peeling and chopping your vegetables into batons. Then store your vegetables in a reusable tub for healthy snacking on the go, or to keep to hand in the fridge for when hunger strikes. It’s often easier to reach for a healthy snack if you’ve done all the hard work in advance!

Make it special: dip your vegetables in a homemade hummus or dip to liven things up a bit.

Zero-Waste Smoothies

zero-waste smoothie ideas

Smoothies are a great way to use up fruit and vegetables that are going off, and can even be frozen in jars or your old tupperware containers. Just take your smoothie out of the freezer the night before, defrost in the fridge, and it’ll be ready for morning.

You can create a smoothie out of almost whatever you have to hand – for inspiration check out the BBC’s Good Food recipe guide.

Bulk Zero-Waste Snacks

popcorn - one of many zero-waste snack ideas

If you have a bulk shop near you then here are some suggestions of what to look out for next time you are shopping:

  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Dried fruit
  • Chocolate
  • Chocolate covered treats such as raisins and nuts
  • Rice crackers
  • Granola
  • Popcorn

If you’re London based then here’s a handy guide to zero waste shops in London.

If you don’t have a bulk shop shop in your vicinity then bulk shop what you can at your local supermarket. Lidl is good for loose nuts, and some Holland and Barrett shops do have a small bulk section.

Apart from those options, plastic-free snacks are definitely trickier. Things you can do instead are to shop smarter. Instead of buying individual boxes of raisins, for example, buy a big bag of raisins that you can divide up into small reusable tubs. One big bag of popcorn kernels lasts longer than a bag of pre-popped popcorn. A big sharing bag of crisps, that again can be divided up into smaller reusable tubs uses less plastic than buying individual bags of crisps.

Zero-Waste Sweets

zero-waste snack ideas

Sweet shops may sadly be few and far between these days, but some high streets do have an elusive sweet shop. Here you can fill up a paper bag full of your favourite sweet treats – some may even let you use your own container. The hardest part is deciding which sweets to pick!

Got a kids party coming up? Neary’s Sweets sell bulk plastic-free boxes of sweets and they ship without plastic too. This is a great option for party snacks and for filling party bags with. 

If chocolate is more your thing then many chocolate bars are zero waste. The good news is you don’t have to go far – some can easily be bought from your local supermarket or corner shop if you’re in desperate need of a quick sugar rush!

There is also a growing variety of chocolatiers, selling online and in specialist shops, that cater to vegan, organic, palm-oil free, and gluten-free diets, depending on your preferences. 

Seed and Bean is a particular favourite. Accredited as the most ethical chocolate producer in Britain by the Good Shopper Guide, not only is their chocolate fairtrade and organic, but the paper outer wrapper is recyclable and the inner wrapper can be composted at home.

Zero-Waste Snack Ideas to Bake or Make

zero waste crisps recipe

Finally, let’s not forget the snacks that can be baked or made at home. Some favourite snacks to make include:

  • Granola
  • Hummus
  • Popcorn
  • Crisps – this is a great recipe for zero-waste crisps (pictured above)
  • Roasted Seeds
  • Muffins
  • Biscuits
  • Scones
  • Kale Crisps
  • Tortilla Crisps
  • Roasted Chickpeas
  • Bread
  • Flapjacks

I’ve suggested some simple snack ideas here that you can bake or make with relatively little effort, but really, the sky’s the limit here. The internet is your friend – search for recipes or even try searching for a recipe based on what leftovers you have on the excellent Love Food Hate Waste recipe finder to help you reduce your food waste. 

Despite our best efforts, sometimes food does go bad. With most food that has gone bad, sadly it has to go straight into your composter, however if you’ve got some black bananas then don’t throw them out. Black bananas are super sweet and completely edible. This vegan banana bread recipe works best with the blackest bananas you can stomach – as the blacker the banana the sweeter it is. So if you forgot about those bananas languishing at the bottom of the fruit bowl don’t fret, consider yourself in luck! 

I’ve suggested over 30 zero-waste snack ideas here, but there are loads more out there too. Do share your favourite snacks in the comments below. And don’t forget to check out Kempii’s guide to plastic-free food storage for storing your snacks in!  

Home, Home and Garden

Our Hallway Renovation

Contains affiliate links and gifted items

It’s been AGES since I gave you an update on our house.

Over the last five years, we’ve slowly been working on home renovation projects. Our house had sat empty for a few years before we moved in, and hadn’t been maintained for an even longer period of time, so it had all sorts of issues that needed resolving. It has been a LONG process of saving up to do the work when we can afford it, but we’re finally at the stage where there is light at the end of the tunnel!

The hall in particular needed a huge overhaul. The existing stairs did not comply with Building Standards – mainly in terms of head height clearance, which there was no easy fix or workaround for. There were many issues that we knew of when we bought the house, but replacing the stairs wasn’t one of them. I think I nearly cried when the Building Standards officer from the council told us that the whole staircase needed replacing, but it needed doing so we could get the necessary paperwork signed off.

Here is the hallway before:

hallway renovation project before photos

Whilst the stairs were being replaced, we decided it was a good opportunity to remodel under the stairs. Instead of one big cupboard that was really impractical – reaching anything at the back of the cupboard took about two hours – we opened up the space to create more living space. We live in a little terraced cottage, so any extra space we can create is welcome!

Here’s a photo from during the works – we all had to sleep downstairs for a few days!

hallway renovation in progress

And here it is now!

small home office under stairs

To retain some storage we had doors installed as far back as we could under the stairs for things that we need daily access to like the vacuum cleaner, and got the joiner to make overhead cupboards for things that we don’t need so often, like our camping gear. We have really high ceilings, so putting overhead storage in doesn’t impinge on the headroom of the space. The joiner also revamped the existing built-in shelves, which you can see from the photos were in a shoddy state.

Originally we were going to put our dining table in this space. The dining table lives in the living room, as we don’t have a separate dining room or space in our galley kitchen for it. However, it turns out we over-estimated the size of the space, and it isn’t big enough for a dining table and chairs!

home office under stairs

What it did give me room for was a small home office. Pre Covid-19 I had one childfree day a week to work on the blog so it wasn’t supposed to be a full-time work station, but since March it’s been my full-time workspace whilst I work my day job from home, and it has worked pretty well.

Furniture wise, I couldn’t find a small enough desk to fit the space secondhand, so I got this beautiful console table made in the UK from reclaimed wood from MuJu Furniture on Etsy* (gifted) that I use as a desk. MuJu Furniture makes their furniture in a variety of sizes, and I went for the smallest size, which fits perfectly. I really love the desk – it’s such a beauty of a thing!

I do love Etsy for buying pieces for the home. Although the desk was gifted, I’ve personally bought lots of bits and pieces for my home over the years. I love being able to support independent sellers and shop products according to my values.

I bought the chair secondhand from Drum Farm Antiques on the outskirts of Edinburgh (currently closed due to Covid-19). This is a wonderfully eclectic place to while away a few hours wandering around the barns and storage units, however, I’ve found their pricing to be a bit erratic. I did find this chair for £10 though, which I was delighted with. The seat pad needs recovering, so I have an offcut of blue velvet to recover it with. I planned to use the tools in my local tool library to do it, but it has been closed since early March, so it needs to wait for now.

After losing the cupboard door that we used to hang our coats on, I got a coat rail for the wall opposite my desk. This came from Off The Grain Co* (gifted), a Yorkshire based husband and wife team who make beautiful handmade wooden furniture and decor and sell on Etsy. No, our rack doesn’t always look this tidy, but the internet doesn’t need to see our medley of coats! It’s almost too pretty to cover with coats!

hallway renovation completed

Like any renovation project, there are always compromises. We had wanted to sand and oil the original floorboards that were underneath the old laminate flooring. Whilst we were taking up the old laminate this looked like this might be possible, until the very last section that we removed, where the floorboards had been cut out at some point in the past and replaced with MDF. Angry was not the word! I could not find any affordable reclaimed flooring – a local supplier quoted £54 per square metre for flooring that needed fitting, sanding, and sealing on top of the initial cost. Given the unexpected costs of replacing the stairs, this was way way out of our price range, as we need to floor the living room as well, so we had to opt for laminate flooring instead. We did pick a classic oak style that I hope will age well.

under stair home office ideas

We haven’t quite finished up – Covid-19 came along before we could finish painting the stairs or carpeting them. We need the kids out of the house when we do jobs like painting, and they have been here since March, and will be until mid-August at the very earliest, so who knows when we will do it! I honestly don’t know how people have managed to do DIY in lockdown with kids around! We started the hallway project in December 2018 though, and have done different bits at different times as we can afford it, so we’re in no hurry!

We have one room left to do in our house now – the living room – which we are currently saving for, and then we are officially done!