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Candles

Nothing sets the mood quite as well as candles but it is hard to find plastic free candles. Most come in a protective plastic wrap or  bag. However we tracked down a few.

Which Candle?

Parrafin, soy or beeswax.

In the olden days candles were made from a by-product of beef-fat rendering(tallow) which stank and smoked or beeswax which didn’t smell or smoke but was very expensive.Then in the 1820s, French chemist Michel Eugene Chevreul discovered how to extract stearic acid from animal fatty acids. This could be used to make a wax that was harder and burnt far more cleanly.

However the most luxurious and brightest of all candles were made from crystallized spermaceti an oil obtained from the sperm whale. Like beeswax, spermaceti wax had a pleasing odour but also produced a far brighter light. Again it was a harder was so didn’t soften when the atmosphere got hot. Lucky for the sperm whale  who was being hunted into extinction for his light shedding wax, rock oil and its many by-products burst onto the scene. One such by-product was paraffin which could be used to make super-hard, super-bright and, best of all, cheap candles.

Recently, a huge surge in the popularity of candles has led to  new waxes being developed including soy bean wax.

Soy candles are made from a processed form of soybean oil called soy wax. It is very soft so most candles are made in tins or containers. However additives including beeswax, paraffin, or palm wax can be used to make it harder. Additives include: stearic acid, Vybar (a trademarked polymer), mineral oil, petrolatum, paraffin wax, ultraviolet absorbers, and bht crystals.

Most candles today are made from one of the following

  • paraffin (a product of petroleum refining);
  • stearin (now produced almost exclusively from palm waxes though initially manufactured from animal fats);
    beeswax
  • Gel Candles produced from gelled mineral oils or synthetic hydrocarbons. They are made in containers.though some are rigid enough to keep their own shape.
  • some plant waxes (generally palm, carnauba, bayberry, or soybean wax);

The size of the flame rate at which the candle burns is determined mostly by the size of the candle wick.

You can find out more about candles here and here.

Candle Types

Taper, Dinner or household candles. The traditional round candles that have to be set in candlesticks or empty wine bottles. Used for dinner parties and power cuts.

Pillar Candles are the modern version. Big and chunky, they are solid and self standing in a variety of sizes.

Floating Candles are designed to float on water.

Tealights are low round candles in a metal container. Much loved by the Ikea crowd. They are used in food warmers or  tealight holders

Container or Filled Candles are non-flammable, heat resistant containers which are filled with wax and  wick. They come in heat-resistant glass jars, tins and less often, pottery.

Votive Candles are come heat-resistant containers often with religious imagery.

Specialty or Novelty Candles come in a wide array of shapes either molded or sculpted by hand.

Scented candles – can be used to create a pleasant ambience or  mask other odours such as cooking or cigarette smoke. They can also be used to keep insects at bay though personally I don’t think they are very effective.

BUY

Basic white unscented candles

Parafin Candles

Bolsius Pack of 6 Household CandlesPrices do a practical range of plain white unscented candles both household & tealight. Last time I looked, so did Bolsius. I have bought both of the above packaged in cardboard from a number of local shops. If you can’t buy them locally you can of course get them on line.

BULK PACK of 14 - Ivory Church Candles (60mm x 152mm)

 

I found some pillar candles on Amazon which look to be plastic free – please check

 

BULK PACK of 14 – Ivory Church Candles (60m…

Vegetable Wax

If you don’t fancy paraffin candles,these organic, vegetable wax candles look plastic free. they are available from Nigels Ecostore  www.nigelsecostore.com and Amazon. Heaven Scent 24 Organic Unscented Tea Lights

Grehom Organic Dinner Candles (Set of 4) – … from Amazon also look to be plastic free!

NB be aware they contain palm oil but sustainably sourced Scented Candles

Paraffin Based

Price Candle PXT011028 Winter Jasmine Scented Tealights, WhitePrices do a wide range scented tealights and candles in a tins and glass jars with fragrances to suit all moods and occasions.  They also do some odour eaters great for eliminating or rather masking odours which work pretty well. These come as tealights, in tins or glass jars and include

  • HOUSEKEEPER~ Contains extracts of Beeswax, Mandarin & Lemon
  • CHEF’S CANDLE~ Contains extracts of Basil, Patchouli & Geranium
  • OPEN WINDOW~ Contains Lily, Violet & Orange Flower
  • Scented Candle In Tin - (Housekeeper) Prices Patent Candles Open Window Jar

I have bought all the above packaged in cardboard. Please be aware that tins ike this are almost always epoxy resin lined which is (yes you guessed), a plastic.

They can be bought pretty much everywhere.

Soy Candles

You could try Foundry Candles   from Oldham Manchester

“The scents of these delightful hand poured soy candles have been captured perfectly in a tin. Aprox 40 hours burning time. All natural ingredients. Check out all the amazing scents!”

Please be aware that tins  are almost always epoxy resin lined which is  a plastic.

There are plenty more up on Etsy but they are eye wateringly pricey. You might be better off making your own. How hard can it be?

soy wax

You can get soy flakes in a reusable cotton bag

  • Only supplied in the re-usable cotton storage sack if purchased from Amazon or Aura
  • Container blend – NO soot or smoke.
  • Achieves a longer burn than paraffin Wax.
  • Easy to clean up any spills with soap and water.
  • Finest quality American SOY WAX flakes.

Aura’s Eco Soy Wax Flakes. A greener way to make quality candles…. These flakes are the finest quality Eco Soy flakes imported from the United States. Superior to paraffin Wax, candles made with Eco Soy will burn longer and be free of soot & smoke……. BASIC DIRECTIONS: Melt like chocolate. Gradually add your chosen fragrance. Add your colour a little at a time. Secure your wick into the desired container. Pour the melted Eco Soy into your container & leave to harden…..Once set – Enjoy your candle!!

Beeswax

Try these from Etsy, they are made in London and  you should be able to discuss packaging with them.

Buy

One of the real joys of buying #plasticfree is sourcing the stuff in local shops. The excitement when you see milk in glass bottle in the newsagents is beyond words.

However sometime you have to buy on line. If so please see if there are links to sellers direct in the post above.

 If you can’t do that then I have put together and Amazon catalogue. Yes I know.

Amazon is a very dirty word at the moment and I thought long and hard before suggesting them.  Heres why I went ahead….. No we are not entirely happy with Amazons recent history. However, we have always found their service to be good and their packaging usually compostable.

If you buy a product via this link we do get an affiliation fee for this. This is not why we do it.

 

Bolsius Pack of 6 Household Candles PRICE'S HOUSEHOLD CANDLES 5PK - 5 CANDLES Sentinel Nightlights X6
Bolsius Pack of 6 Household Candles
£3.98
PRICE’S HOUSEHOLD CANDLES 5PK – 5 CANDLES
£2.44
4
Sentinel Nightlights X6
£3.40
BULK PACK of 14 - Ivory Church Candles (60mm x 152mm) Grehom Organic Dinner Candles (Set of 4) - Ivory Heaven Scent 24 Organic Unscented Tea Lights
BULK PACK of 14 – Ivory Church Candles (60m…
£29.99
These look like they might be unwrapped. Please double check before you buy – then tell me!
Grehom Organic Dinner Candles (Set of 4) – …look to be plastic free! Heaven Scent 24 Organic Unscented Tea Lights
£5.81
Candles Naturally Plant Wax Unfragranced Tealights, Pack of 24, Natural Heaven Scent Natural Organic Jumbo Tea Light Candles - 24 (Long Life 7 hours) Prices Pack of 10 Tealights
Candles Naturally Plant Wax Unfragranced Te… Heaven Scent Natural Organic Jumbo Tea Ligh… Prices Pack of 10 Tealights
£5.24
Price Candle PXT011028 Winter Jasmine Scented Tealights, White Prices Patent Candles Open Window Jar Scented Candle In Tin - (Housekeeper)
Price Candle PXT011028 Winter Jasmine Scent…
£3.13
Prices Patent Candles Open Window Jar
£5.49
Scented Candle In Tin – (Housekeeper)
£6.95
Housekeeper Tealights - (FR441016) Prices Housekeeper Scented Candle in Tin Eliminates Household Odours - TRIPLE PACK Prices open window candle - FR510316x1
Housekeeper Tealights – (FR441016)
£4.95
Prices Housekeeper Scented Candle in Tin El…
£10.99
Prices open window candle – FR510316x1
£13.44
Prices Household Scented Candle in Tin - FR210616 Prices Candles FR541016 Open Window Tealights, Pack of 6, Green Prices Candles FR341016 6-Piece Chef's Tealights
Prices Household Scented Candle in Tin – FR…
£15.33
Prices Candles FR541016 Open Window Tealigh…
£2.48
Prices Candles FR341016 6-Piece Chef’s Teal…
£2.83

 

WASIWAX Handcrafted Wedding Carved Candles (Eternity) Magical Floating Candles - 50 Reusable Floats & 50 Long Burning Wicks fuelled by vegetable oil Clever & Unique Magical Floating Water Candles, 50 Reusable Silver Floats & 50 Long Burning Wicks fuelled by vegetable oil. Wedding Table Centrepiece
WASIWAX Handcrafted Wedding Carved Candles …
£34.90
As these are made in Britain you might be able to ask about plastic-free packaging
Magical Floating Candles – 50 Reusable Floa…
£20.50
Clever & Unique Magical Floating Water …
£20.50
2.5 KILO Eco Soya / Eco Soy Container Candle WAX Flakes - Lovely Alternative to Parrafin Wax 5metre Wedo LX8 (50mm) Candle Making Wick + 50 Sustainers 5 Metres Wedo ECO Candle Making Wick. High Quality - ECO 1
2.5 KILO Eco Soya / Eco Soy Container Candl…
£19.99
5metre Wedo LX8 (50mm) Candle Making Wick +…
£3.09
5 Metres Wedo ECO Candle Making Wick. High …
£2.50
ECO 8 Pre-tabbed Candle Wick - pack of 20 20 Pre Waxed Wicks For Candle Making Teacup / Medium Candles (LX18). 100mm Long.Quantity Jute Ribbon Brown 7/8 Inch by 10 Yard Roll Sold By The Yard
ECO 8 Pre-tabbed Candle Wick – pack of 20
£3.99
20 Pre Waxed Wicks For Candle Making Teacup…
£2.60
Jute Ribbon Brown 7/8 Inch by 10 Yard Roll …
£3.59
Prices Candles Tealights Winter Walk 6 Pack Prices Fragrance Tealights x 6 Garden Lavender Prices Fragrance Tealights x 6 Tea Rose
Prices Candles Tealights Winter Walk 6 Pack Prices Fragrance Tealights x 6 Garden Laven…
£3.12
Prices Fragrance Tealights x 6 Tea Rose
£3.01
Price Candle PXT011005 Pomegranate and Walnut Scented Tealights, Pink Price Candle PXT011012 Fresh Fig Scented Tealights, Purple Price Candle PXT011010 Cinnamon Sticks Scented Tealights, Beige
Price Candle PXT011005 Pomegranate and Waln…
£3.12
Price Candle PXT011012 Fresh Fig Scented Te…
£3.13
Price Candle PXT011010 Cinnamon Sticks Scen…
£3.13
Price Candle PXT011020 Apple Spice Scented Tealights, Red Prices Fragrance Tealights x 6 Peach Blossom Soft Geranium Scented Tealights 6 Pack
Price Candle PXT011020 Apple Spice Scented …
£2.69
Prices Fragrance Tealights x 6 Peach Blossom
£2.99
Soft Geranium Scented Tealights 6 Pack
£3.13

 

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Christmas Crackers Reusable

As they sound – a cracker that can be used over and over again. Probably not completely plastic free, (those ribbons look synthetic), but a great way of reducing your trash.

These are made by a UK company Keep This Cracker. The following was taken from their website.
What makes our Gift Box Crackers so unique?
Slide open the box and it goes Bang! just like a cracker. Fill with your own gifts and personalise them for any occasion. Easy to reuse just feed a new snap into the slots at each end.
Sadly it looks as though the crackers come in plastic packaging. Check with the supplier…

I haven’t actually used these but you read about Westywrites experiences with  reusable christmas crackers here.

Fill
You could fill them with plastic free sweets  if you can’t find suitable gifts.
There are loads of printable joke sheets up on Pinterest. They are truly corny. But they come with snowmen. Here’s and example.

Make
And if you are crafty you can make your own crackers. I have never done this but there are instructions up on Pinterest.  Looks fiddly to me! You can buy cracker snaps from craft shops and on line.

Buy

You can buy crackersnaps and more reusable crackers from Amazon.  You can read about our Amazon links here.

You can find lots more plastic free Christmas tips here…

Refillable Crackers - Bundle of 6 snaps Refillable Crackers 4 Packs (Folk Green) Refillable Crackers 4 Packs (Ornate Jade)
Refillable Crackers – Bundle of 6 snaps
£2.50
Refillable Crackers 4 Packs (Folk Green)
£12.75
Refillable Crackers 4 Packs (Ornate Jade)
£12.75
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How to wrap gifts plastic-free

Reusable Wraps

Disposable Paper

As much as we love reusable gift wrap and bags, you have to know someone pretty well before you can snatch back the wrapping once the gift is opened. Gifting  for the first time? Maybe consider a disposable paper wrapping.

  • Shop local – You can still buy gift wrap in single, unpackaged sheets from card and book shops. Pricey but nice and not so green.
  • Plantable paper Try Eden’s Paper a 100% plantable wrapping paper.
  • On a budget – check out brown paper packages and other cheap wraps.
    Read more and find purchase details here

Fixings

Sticky tape

And to be properly compostable you will need to stick your paper with biodegradable sticky tape

Ties 

Of course one way to get the most out of your wrapping paper is to reuse it. In which case you done want it torn off. Walk away from the sticky tape and tie your brown paper packages up with  string.

A bit more effort than sticky tape but there are advantages

  • less chances are the paper will be less damaged when the gift is unwrapped.
  • looks very retro chic
  • tie it with a bow and the ties themselves be reused.

Lets start with string. From traditional brown hairy string to U.K. woollen twine, there are some great options.

Then there are ribbons and fancy ties.

Other gift and celebration related posts can be found here.

Add A Card

Greetings cards Cards  have been the bane of Pam’s life , (I mean greeting cards not gambling  – that’s all in the past) as many come wrapped in icky plastic. So what are the alternatives?

 

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Sticky Tape

Sellotape gets right up my nose. Everything biodegradable on my presents except for that sticky little glistening strip. Now some of you may be thinking chill, Sellotape is cellophane and therefore biodegradable. To which I will waspishly reply
“NO! I checked it out.” I wrote to Sellotape and they said they now only used plastic to make their tapes.
You might think masking tape being made of paper could be used instead but the adhesives often contain synthetic chemicals.

Here are some compostable, biodegradable and recyclable paper tapes with better glues.

Tesatape

These guys make tape – lots of it and they have a biodegradable option. I have not bought for them and the following was taken from the website. 
Paper ecoLogois an eco-friendly packaging tape. It is not only made of unbleached paper with a high content of recycled fibres. It also features a solvent-free adhesive free from any toxic chemicals. The tape is ideal for sealing shipping cartons. It allows easy tearing by hand, but proves to be sturdy and reliable, as soon as it is applied to a carton, parcel or envelope. Use it as a universal packaging tape for same-material carton sealing and packaging.

  • 60% bio-based packaging tape
  • Strong backing made from unbleached paper
  • Core made from 100% recycled cardboard
  • Contour cuff made from 80% recycled cardboard
  • Solvent-free adhesive
  • Good sealing security
  • Hand-tearable
  • Suitable for use with all tesapack® hand dispensers

 

Brown Kraft Tape labels

I have used this self adhesive packaging tape. It is paper based and has a silicone free backing and is 100% recyclable and it is claimed biodegradable. It is  used by professional graphic and art houses for the mounting of pictures and photographs during framing.It comes on cardboard rolls and you can get it in all different widths.

It works really well and sticks to just about everything. You can use it with gift wrap for presents, (read more here), but I have also sent it through the post on parcels and it has remained secure. Plus it is great for labelling stuff. Sticks to glass for a surprisingly long time – even in damp conditions.

Buy

I can only buy this on line and it sometimes come packed in plastic. Check with the supplier.
Tapes Direct sell it and  I got some from Ebay.

Green Stationary
This online company also sell a biodegradable tape. Here is the blurb
“Eco paper packing tape, 50 metre long rolls of 50mm wide parcel packing tape made from brown 100% recycled paper, with a latex-based adhesive – a totally biodegradable tape to seal your parcels.  Hi tac gives strong adhesion to boxes and cartons. Sold individually, this product has a matt finish.”
I have to bought from them so I don’t know what the onward packaging is like…….

And of course…

Amazon

Being committed to local shopping, I prefer to buy that way whenever possible. I would encourage you to do the same. One of the joys of living plastic free is mooching round the local shops seeing what you can source.

If you can’t buy local please do check the links above to the suppliers and buy direct from them and support their online businesses.

If you can’t do that then I have put together and Amazon catalogue. Yes I know…

50mm Brown Self Adhesive Picture Frame Backing Tape 50m Roll 60 gsm Eco 15 75mm Brown Self Adhesive Picture Frame Backing Tape 50m Roll 60 gsm Eco 15 25mm Brown Self Adhesive Picture Frame Backing Tape 50m Roll 60 gsm Eco 15
50mm Brown Self Adhesive Picture Frame Back…
£3.60
75mm Brown Self Adhesive Picture Frame Back…
£5.05
25mm Brown Self Adhesive Picture Frame Back…
£1.99
Amazon is a very dirty word at the moment and I thought long and hard before suggesting them.  Heres why I went ahead….. No we are not entirely happy with Amazons recent history. However, we have always found their service to be good and their packaging usually compostable.

If you buy a product via this link we do get an affiliation fee for this. This is not why we do it.

 

 

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How to party…plastic free….

Organising a big bash? Nipping off out to buy some paper plates? WAIT!!!
Given the choice between washing up and disposable partyware, the answer may seem obvious. Or maybe you are a minimalist and don’t own much crockery. However at the end of the night when the black bin bags come out that decision may seem a little bit, well, environmentally unfriendly. Of course the wine bottles are going to the bottle bank and the beer cans will be recycled, but what about the coleslaw covered plastic forks, potato salad smeared polystyrene plates and dreg filled plastic cups. And bear in mind that most paper plates and cups are in fact lined with plastic!

How to avoid this kind of litter?
Go to the pub.
Hire reusable glasses plates and cutlery but you have to wash it up and return it.
Or, if you must, use….

Use Compostable Disposables

You can get
Cutlery made from PLA cornstarch and are 100 percent biodegradable and compostable. We have used and composted these -you can read our review here.
PLA cornstarch clear “glasses” can be got from shot size upwards. PLA cannot be used to make stemmed glasses, so wine glasses are not available yet!
Biodegradable plates and bowls made out of a variety of materials.
Paper cups lined with compostable PLA plastic can be used for hot and cold drinks.
Drinking straws need not hang around after the parties over. There are a load reusable or compostable options here. Plastic free straws

Buy

You can buy compostable disposables in bulk from
www.wf-denny.co.uk or call them on 0161 927 49 49 – orders in by 1pm will be dispatched the next day.
Vegware are also very good.
You can find some Amazon suppliers here

Plastic free booze

Plastic free booze is hard to find….glup!!!!. But we have managed to source some for you here… 
Other considerations If you are serving large amounts of wine, think wine boxes and not bottles. Though not in themselves particularly green (all tetra packs and foil), they are carbon cheaper to transport from far flung places than heavy glass bottles. To be greener still buy from close to home – French wine rather than Chilean.

Themed Parties

If your party is themed you will find some more ideas here
Halloween
Valentines
Christmas

Presents & Cards
Greetings cards

Wrapping Paper and Biodegradable Sticky Tape

Events

Make Your Glasses Reusable & A Souvinir

Featured Branded CupsThis is rather a good idea for festivals and other events where glasses are not an option but disposables result in a sea of waste. Reusable, plastic cups that can be branded to suit. Pay a deposit at the bar that can be refunded or the customer can choose to keep the cup as a souvenir. Read more here…

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Advent Calendars

Covered in plastic and  full of trashy sweets, they just add to the huge amounts of Christmas rubbish. So here are a few plastic free ideas.

The cheapest and easiest way is to make your own fabric calendar that can be rolled up and stored taking up minimum space.

fabric-advent-calendarThis has to be one of the simpler design on the internet but just in case you cant work out how it’s done, here are the instructions. 

home made advent calenderIf you don’t  have a sewing machine try a fray free fabric like felt, some big hand stitching and glue and make  one like this on pinkandgreenmama.blogspot.com.

Kits & Ready Made

You can buy fabric kits that contain  with everything you need to sew your own, plus instructions. Cut out and assemble. Easy as.

You can also buy fabric calendars ready made.

These are available from Amazon. more details here

 

loo roll advent calenderIf you really don’t like sewing, try a toilet roll advent calendar. You can find out more from www.oh-write.blogspot.

advent calender

But this one has to be my absolute favourite. Little individual wrapped presents hung on a stick. So cute.

It is featured along with other wonderful if rather intimidating ideas here on Pinterest

wooden advent calender

If you don’t have the time or inclination,  you can get wooden calenders with little drawers that you can use year after year.

These too are available from Amazon. more details here

Treats

You will need to get some little plastic free treats – sweets are always good and easy to get hold of.

Or little gift vouchers for fun things to do…..

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Glitter biodegradable

Yes you can get biodegradable glitter and this Etsy company sell it in compostable packaging. Yay!

Overview
Handmade item
Materials: Biodegradable Film, Certified as Compostable, Compost Home Certified, ISO 17088 2212, EN13432, ASTM D6400

And the bags and packaging it comes in are biodegradable too.

You can buy from EcoEquinox A U.K. Based seller.

More

Read more about compostable plastics HERE

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Alcohol – to drink

Plastic free booze is hard to find….glup!!!!. But as giving up IS NOT AN OPTION…here are our best choices….

The Plastic In Booze

Metal caps have a plastic liner or small disc to prevent leakage. It’s a tiny amount but it is plastic. This is true of everything from spirits to bottles of beer
Cans of beer and tonic are plastic lined!
Wine may have plastic corks. Even if you find a wine with a cork the foil round it may be plastic lined!

Plasticless….

Spirits & Liquors
To be truly plastic free, you may have to set up a still in the back garden!  Unless you can get to one of these liquid delis.

Demijohn offer a spirits, liquor and other drinks refill servic. I have not used them – please let me know how you get on…
Edinburgh 32 Victoria Street Edinburgh EH1 2JW 0131 225 4090
Glasgow 382 Byres Glasgow G12 8AR 0141 3373 600
York 11 Museum Street York YO1 7DT 01904 637 487

Failing that you can at least buy local, (Yorkshire that is), moonshine… erm I mean , premium quality, traditionally distilled and using Harrogate Spring water, Yorkshire gin masonsyorkshiregin.com

Wine Refills

You can get plastic free wine in a few parts of the UK.

Beer Refills
Take a container and ask for takeout.Here are my favourite pubs…

Mixers & Soft Drinks
Tonic in tins are out as the tins are plastic lined. Fever Tree Mixers come in glass  You can find out more (including where to buy) from their website. But they are pricy.
I recently got myself a Soda Stream which means I can make my own mixers, carbonated water and of course fizzy Drinks

Straws 
You can find reusable and compostable straws here.

Ice
I am still using plastic ice cube trays. If they ever pack in I might try the metal ones shown below. They look a bit fiddly. as anyone used them?

Cocktail Shaker and Other Gubbins
You don’t need one – just more rubbish in the kitchen cupboard. Mix them in a jug! Stirred James, stirred! But if you have to have to, you can get some lovely plastic free items

For the rest,this  Amazon  shopping list may inspire you. Amazon is a very dirty word at the moment and I thought long and hard before suggesting them.  Heres why I went ahead….. No we are not entirely happy with Amazons recent history. However these links are for 3rd party sellers, we have always found the Amazon service to be good and their packaging usually compostable. In the absence of anything else we feel we can recommend them.

Andrew James Double Walled Insulated Stainless Steel 2 Litre Ice Bucket With Set of Tongs Premier Housewares Sphere Ice Bucket - Stainless Steel Stainless Steel Ice Cube Tray - BPA Free
Andrew James Double Walled Insulated Stainl… Premier Housewares Sphere Ice Bucket – Stai… Stainless Steel Ice Cube Tray – BPA Free
£40.00
FIREFLY® Eco Straws - Stainless Steel Drinking Straw Premium Grip with Cleaner 4 Pack Stainless Steel Martini Picks - Pack of 6 | Novelty Cocktail Sticks, Stainless Steel Cocktail Picks Sustainable Bamboo Drinking Straws - 12 Pack
FIREFLY® Eco Straws – Stainless Steel D…
£9.99
Stainless Steel Martini Picks – Pack of 6 |…
£9.99
Sustainable Bamboo Drinking Straws – 12 Pack
£14.95

 

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Nuts

Tricky but not impossible. Did you know they did loose pistachios in Lidles? At least they did last time I looked. Lidles have quite a few good plastic free options. You can EE them HERE
And you can get loose chestnuts in Tescos at Christmas time?

The Nut Shop Leeds Market also offers a wide range of nuts and dried fruit, even loose sprinkles for cakes. By weight. Details HERE

If you cannot get to Leeds you can try
Wholefood Market a supermarket chain
Weigh & Save shops a UK franchise
And other loose food outlets as listed below

Loose Food A to Z

Find out if a shop near you sells bulk food loose. This is stuff that that normally comes plastic packaged ie rice, pasta and salt. And yes these shops do exist in the U.K. There’s just not many of them.
Heres alist of towns with shops selling loose food.


Packaging

While these shops provide bags and they are almost always plastic ones. You will need to take your own plastic-free /reusable bags.

Candied Peel

Needed for fruit cakes, christmas puds and mince pies but not so easy to get plastic free. Here are your options…

The Nut Shop Leeds

Scoop and Save shops may sell it – there may be one near you- here’s a list 

A Sour Sort Of Mixer
I make this and use the left over peel and ginger in place of candied peel. You could leave out the ginger.
In a pan put
Peel of an orange and a lemon no white pith cut into strips
Ginger cut into pieces – rather depends on how old the ginger is (fresher is stronger), and how much you like it.
Add the juice of one lemon
And some water
Boil up with sugar to taste.

Strain off the liquid. This can be used a sweet yet tangy mixer that tastes rather good with fizzy water as a soft drink or better still fizzy water and vodka!

Fiery Fruity Ginger Bits
The peel and ginger is now softer and easy to eat. It is sweeter and has now lost some of its flavor but still packs a fiery punch. It can be added to other dishes as a kind of seasoning. Go easy!

Proper Candied Peelm

Make your own – I have never tried this and  possibly never will but the zero waste chef  whose advice I trust if example I cannot emulate, does it so I leave you in her capable hands!

But I do make my own sweet mincemeat – plastic free recipe here.

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Biscuits homemade Christmas Tree Decorations

Lidles biscuit cutter resized1 1While in Spain I visited Lidles and I came across a set of festive biscuit cutters in a cardboard box.  They might have them in the UK.

If not I have sourced some on Amazon for you but I can’t answer for the packaging!

Plastic-Free Biscuits

To see how to bake these biscuits go to the BBC Food website

And last time I looked you could still get icing sugar in a cardboard box. If not you can make it by grinding sugar in a spice grinder or food blender then adding cornflour. You can find full instructions here.

FOR INSPIRATION check out Pinterest where the  iced biscuits image was found.

Add a compostable tie and there you go – plastic free and edible christmas decorations. What’s not to love?

Find more lovely plastic-free Christmas ideas here….

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Mincemeat Sweet

No more jars with their plastic-lined, metal lids for me! So what with Christmas coming  I need to make my own sweet mincemeat for my mince pies. So I did. I based my recipe loosely on a Delia recipe. Thank the lord for Leeds Market and the Nut Shop where I bought all my ingredients.Don’t live near Leeds. There are other places – Check out the loose food list here.

This is what you will need for the Delia Recipe

1 lb (450 g) Bramley apples, cored and chopped small (no need to peel them)
2 oz (50 g) whole almonds, cut into slivers
4 level teaspoons mixed ground spice
½ level teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ level teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
6 tablespoons brandy
8 oz (225 g) shredded suet
12 oz (350 g) raisins
8 oz (225 g) sultanas
8 oz (225 g) currants
8 oz (225 g) whole mixed candied peel, finely chopped
12 oz (350 g) soft dark brown sugar
grated zest and juice 2 oranges
grated zest and juice 2 lemons

This is what I am using for mine. Made one big jar which is as many pies as I want to make!
275g Windfall apples from the neighbour – great way to use up sour apples!
No nuts! Yuck!
120g Vegetarian suet from Weigh & Save Whitby
275g Raisins Nut Shop
65g Dried apricots Nut Shop
No Candied peel, but zest and ginger in my Wrinkled Balls of Christmas Fire
No All Spice
No Sugar I don’t think it needs it. Much as I love Delia I think she rather over sweetens!
Juice of one oranges from the green grocers
6 tablespoons Wrinkled Balls of Christmas Fire, ginger and lemon peel in vodka

You might want to follow the Delia recipe and cook this properly (needs leaving overnight and baking for 3 hours), or you can, at your own risk, do this….
Mix all the ingredients together leave overnight, put it in to bake at a time when you are using the oven anyway for as long as the oven is on maybe a bit longer  then leave it in the oven as it cools down. Spoon into old jam jars. Top with lard or vodka to keep fresh till needed. Can’t promise it won’t go off but not lost a jar yet. That said I don’t make this far in advance.
If you want it to look rather more fancy you could try these  reusable clip top kilner jars with rubber seals.

Find lots more plastic free recipes with the plastic free cook book  and more Christmas stuff here