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zero waste

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Why You Shouldn’t Throw Things Away In The Name of Sustainability

why you shouldn't throw things out in the name of sustainability

In this sustainability sphere of the internet, something I feel that isn’t said often enough is, quite simply, don’t throw things away in the name of sustainability.

When I write about ethical fashion I always say that the most ethical clothes are the ones you already own. The same runs true for all other aspects of your home – the most sustainable items are the ones you already have.

There seems to be some eco-pressure, perhaps stemming through social media – to have beautiful ‘sustainable’ homes where not a scrap of plastic exists. This popular zero-waste account certainly makes it feel that way, and I also freely admit that I share the bits of my house on the blog and Instagram that are the most “on brand” with Moral Fibres. The reality is that there are things in my house that don’t fit in with the eco-friendly ‘aesthetic’, but actually are sustainability superheroes and don’t get the attention they deserve.

To name but a few:

  • In my kitchen drawer, you’ll find swathes of tomato stained and oil stained Tupperware tubs. Rather than throw them in the bin and replacing them with “eco-friendly” metal or glass tubs, you bet your life that I am using those tubs until they reach the end of their life. We are replacing them as they break, with glass ones, but I fully expect to have some plastic Tupperware until I’m 85. I don’t care how nasty the old plastic ones look – the most eco-friendly thing to do is always use and reuse what you have.
  • In a related category, we have heaps of plastic storage boxes, some bought a decade ago, that I’m not prepared to throw away simply because they are made of plastic. I’m using them and proud, but going forward if we need to buy any more will look for alternatives.
  • Likewise, plastic utensils. We have some. I’m not replacing them until they break.
  • Under my sink, you’ll find a collection of plastic carrier bags. These enter our life through one way or another, but again, these boys get used and used again. Apparently, plastic bags should be used four times in order for it to be more environmentally friendly than a single-use plastic bag. Meanwhile, paper bags need to be reused 3 times, and cotton bags need to be reused a staggering 131 times before they are more environmentally friendly than a single-use carrier bag. I reuse and reuse and once they are done I’ll use then for landfill waste.

I could go on about home my house isn’t visually some kind of utopia of sustainability, but I don’t beat myself up about any of these. It’s easy to be led to believe that living completely without plastic is the pinnacle of sustainable living, but in truth, you can’t shop your way to sustainability. Things like flying less, and eating a more plant-based diet, will have a more positive environmental impact than binning perfectly good Tupperware for things made from more sustainable materials.

By all means, switch to more sustainably produced alternatives when items need replacing, but in the meantime use your old plastic Tupperware with pride, tomato stains and all. Reuse any plastic bags that come your way. Don’t feel any guilt – you’re doing a super job, even if it isn’t particularly photogenic.

Food & Drink, Kitchen Staples

AD | Plastic-Free Instant Coffee – Finally!

plastic-free instant coffee uk

Paid-for content in association with Little’s.

I’ve never understood why up until now it’s been so difficult to find plastic-free instant coffee. Most instant coffee is sold in jars with plastic lids – why not switch the plastic lid to a metal lid and the job’s done?

Thankfully, one instant coffee brand has taken the initiative and switched to plastic-free packaging: Little’s Coffee.

Little’s Coffee is a small independent family business, selling 100% Arabica coffee, and they are proud to now be 100% plastic-free. Spearheaded by husband and wife duo Henry and Leila Little 25 years ago, the business is now run by their son, Will Little, and his wife, Caroline. By taking the lead on removing plastic from their jars of instant coffee, this small company is definitely leagues ahead of the big boys of coffee.

Their delicious range of instant coffee is all packaged in glass jars with 100% aluminum lids, both of which materials, unlike plastic, can be infinitely recycled, which is much better for the environment.

Rather than popping mine in the appropriate recycling bins once I’ve finished my coffee, I’m planning on recycling my Little’s jars in different ways. Call me a geek, but I do like a good jar, and Little’s jars look so very good. I have plans to use them either in my kitchen for food storage, or for health & beauty DIYs, before recycling them appropriately at the end of their lives.

Of course, it’s not just all about the packaging. The plastic-free packaging is all well and good but the coffee has to taste good too. Thankfully, Little’s delivers above and beyond on this point. The 100% Arabica coffee is gently brewed with no nasties to deliver a smooth and tasty single blend plastic-free instant coffee that’s available in both caffeinated and decaffeinated options.

Their decaf coffee is made still using the best quality 100% Arabica coffee and decaffeinated using a gentle CO2 process. This process retains all the coffee’s great natural taste, without the use of chemicals that are used in solvent-based decaffeination processes.

Flavoured Instant Coffee

plastic-free instant coffee

As well as standard coffee, Little’s star of the show is their flavour infused instant coffees, which has evolved to suit peoples busy lifestyles. Available in a wide range of flavours – from Cardamom Bun, to Gingerbread Cookie, to Irish Cream flavoured coffee – I counted 13 different flavours of plastic-free coffee to choose from, all modestly priced between £2.99 and £3.20 a jar.

To be honest, I’ve never been a big fan of flavoured coffees, finding the taste of coffee syrups too sweet, and the process of measuring out sticky syrups being a bit of a faff. I was surprised to find that Little’s range of pre-flavoured coffee (again, available in caffeinated and decaffeinated) has no added sugar. This means their coffee hits the spot without the intense sugary sweetness that coffee syrups often have, and can be whipped up in the same time it takes to make a cup of regular coffee.

I bought some Chocolate Caramel coffee and some Island Coconut coffee and both make great pick-me-ups to combat the 2 pm post-lunch slump. At only 4 calories a cup, the coffee is better for you than raiding the biscuit tin for that chocolate hit! Needless to say, I’ve got jar of Little’s at work now to help keep me out of the biscuit tin.

Without being overly sweet, the Chocolate Caramel coffee smells and to me tastes just like tiramisu – my partner hates all coffee but even he conceded that the coffee smelled delicious. A world first, let me tell you! The Island Coconut coffee is not too dissimilar to a Bounty bar, which is a very good thing in my book. It’s a great way to liven up your coffee!

Where to Buy Little’s Plastic-Free Coffee

Little’s Coffee is available across the UK and is stocked in Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, Ocado, Holland & Barrett, Dobbies Garden Centres, Booths, Whole Foods Market, Selfridges & Co, and Harvey Nichols.

Little’s also has an online shop if you can’t find a jar near you. I ordered my coffee from their online shop and was delighted to find that it shipped in a cardboard box sealed with paper tape – no plastic to be found – not even a shred of bubble wrap.

If you’re shopping online too, Little’s Coffee has kindly set up a discount code for Moral Fibres readers: use the discount code MORALFIBRES10 at the checkout of the Little’s Coffee webshop for 10% off your order.

Visit the Little’s online shop here for delicious coffee in recyclable packaging, and pay them a visit on Instagram for colourful coffee-related content!