#PlasticfreeJuly 2019 wrap-up – Plastic Free in Mauritius [Part2]* Kitchen

ZW in MU kitchen

>>> #PlasticfreeJuly 2019 wrap-up – Plastic Free in Mauritius [Part2]* Kitchen – FIND BELOW THE LIST OF ADDRESSES AND TIPS TO GO ZERO WASTE LOCALLY <<<

A few years ago I attempted the #PlasticFreeJuly challenge to go completely plastic-free for a few days, and while it was possible… it was quite challenging. Since then, the local zero waste movement has known a real growth spurt and it’s becoming easier and easier to live plastic-free!
In celebration of #PlasticFreeJuly challenge that recently ended, I wanted to share some tips and address to be Plastic-free in Mauritius. From what I’ve noticed, a lot of our waste is created in our kitchen…so let’s start there.

I APOLOGY in advance if you offer some zero waste products that I did not get to include in this list, there are more and more products available on the island and it’s complicated to keep track of them all . And/or if you offer many products, and that I only list your name for a few of them, once again because so many options are available nowadays, it can be hard to list everyone for everything. Feel free to reach out if you offer a product/service that should be in this list but that I completely missed.

VEGETABLES & FRUITS: We are lucky to live in a climate where quite a lot of food can be grown throughout the year – so let’s support our local farmers! More and more farmers are moving to responsible food growing practices. Vegetables weekly delivery schemes are popping up throughout the island, as well as markets [like the one on Saturday in Cap Tamarin]. And then there’s our traditional local bazaar where we can go with our own reusable bags.

For delivery schemes you could contact Farmbasket , First Shoots , Le vélo Vert [that all try to use as little plastic as possible] and many more –feel free to share others contact that encourage local responsible production of vegetables and fruits with as little as possible plastic waste!

If we buy from a grower that does use plastic, we can ask him/her to not use plastic in our delivery [it might even inspire them to not use plastic at all].

We can grow some of our own food and share it with our neighbors and family. And even when we go to supermarkets, we can bring our own reusable bags instead of using the bags offered for the vegetables and fruits. These bags can even be made from leftovers fabrics to be even more eco-friendly. You can make them yourself, or ask someone to create them -we do have many seamstresses locally that could help with that. You can also buy already-made bags from Good old Thyme , Rinco Arts, Bobine Et Canette and many others. If a supermarkets do not accept your bags, what a perfect occasion to speak-up and engage a conversation about plastic-waste with them to work all-together toward a plastic-free future.

FROZEN GOODS: We often use frozen foods because they are an easy and quick way to make up a meal…sadly it does come with a lot of packaging. We could dedicate a few hours to freeze our own goods for when we won’t have much time to cook –this include when we have too many vegetables or fruits and want to save some for later.

BREAD: Be it in a bakery or in a supermarket, just bring your own bread bag [yes, even in a supermarket. I usually just put the reusable bag in my basket and put the bread in it, and no one ever told me anything about that –once again, even if it’s paper bags, it still use resources]. For sliced bread, some bakeries will accept to take unpackaged unsliced bread and slice it for you to then put it in your own bag, or you can just slice it at-home.

RICE, PASTAS & Co: You can find packaged-free rice in many of our local bazaars. You can also find it, along with pastas, at Le Marchand in Curepipe or at NeoFoods bulk section in Mont Choisy Mall. Otherwise, you can choose pastas in cardboard boxes [available in most supermarkets from different brands]. If you eat quinoas, couscous & co; they’re also available in boxes made completely out of cardboard. These boxes are then easily recyclable.

FLOUR & co: Most flours can be bought in paper packaging.If you’re in curepipe, you can also find some package-free at Le Marchand. For all things made with flour, including our national beloved faratas or gateau piments &samousas, we can make our own and freeze them if needed instead of buying the frozen ones, or buy it from those who make it by bringing our own containers.

PULSES&BEANS: Available in bulk in most bazaars and old boutiques like the ones in Chinatown in Port-Louis; we can just bring our own bag. Available at Le Marchand also for those in Curepipe or at Neofoods bulk section in Mont Choisy. Or you can grow your own beans, but it’d require some more patience!

SALT, SUGAR , SPICES, SEASONING, HONEY […] : We’re lucky to be producing salt, so we might as well support our local market – local packaged-free salt from Les Salines de Yemen is available at Good old Thyme. You can find bulk sugar at Le Marchand , where you’d also be able to find spices. You can find spices by weight in most Bazaar where the sellers will be able to fill your bag if you bring one. feuilles et fleurs also grows locally some seasoning herbs that you can find packaged-free at Good old Thyme . You could also grow some of your own seasoning herbs. We are lucky to have more and more local beekeepers from whom you can buy honey, and they often sell it plastic-free in glass jars. ‘Laribees le domaine du miel’ in Curepipe goes a step further and refill your jar of honey [but I’m not sure if they have local honey at the moment].

CEREALS: It seems quite complicate to find packaged-free cereals on the island – if you eat these for breakfast, many members of zero waste Mauritius offered alternatives zero waste breakfast ideas, from omellete, homemade cakes & fresh juices, rice&curry, bread& jam or bread &gateau piment, to breadfruit, cassava or fresh fruits, there were many ideas to go waste-free for breakfast. Many also reported having a mix of oats, dried fruits and nuts bought in bulk at Le Marchand. You can also find some granola in a consignment jar at Anesia’s Kitchen .

EGGS: You could buy eggs from a local farmer or choose cardboard egg-boxes at your local supermarket.

MEAT/FISH/CHICKEN/HAM: You could go to your local butcher [or the shop where you’d usually buy these items] with your own container and buy it from them. At your supermarket’s deli, you could try to bring your own container or at least ask them to only put your meat, sausages or ham in paper [instead of the paper+plastic packaging they usually do]. For fish & seafood , we could support our local fishermen and buy directly from them. Buying directly from local farmers could also be a solution for the other types of meat – we could hence even eat less meat but from higher quality. Reducing our meat intake is also an interesting step to explore if we want to go toward an eco-friendly diet.

CHEESE: Just like meats, at your supermarket’s deli, you could bring your own container or at least ask them to only put your cheese only in paper [instead of the paper+plastic packaging they usually do].

MILK & co: Some reported still being able to find milk in glass returnable bottles. If you know a dairy farmer, that could be an option. Otherwise, you can make non-dairy milk from scratch with items bought in bulk [for example, almond milk]. A member of zero waste mauritius shared that she was able to find milk in bulk in shops near the central bazaar in Port-Louis.

You can also make your own yogurt at-home [with only one yogurt as a starting culture, you can make quite a few], or at least buy bigger format instead of many smaller ones.

OILS, VINEGAR & co: You can find most oils and vinegars in glass bottles. You can find vinegar on-tap and bring your own bottle to fill at L’Ecolo, le coin zéro déchet, and Le Marchand . At Epicerie gourmande you can even buy an olive oil bottle and refill it each time. For used cooking oils, don’t forget that you can recycle them through Bio Oil Box. You can find the collection points on their website https://www.bioilbox.com/

PASTRIES: Instead of going for packaged pastries, we can make our own from ingredients bought in bulk. We can also bring our containers to the bakeries or shops that sell pastries and buy them from there.

TEAS: Ironically enough for an island that grow a lot of tea, it is quite hard to find totally packaged-free teas. You can find locally grown organic tea from feuilles et fleurs at Good old Thyme . You can also grow some of your own herbal teas. Otherwise you can go for teas packaged in less packaging.

BEVERAGES: We can make our own beverages and experiment with new recipes: make our own juices, flavoured water, ice tea, kombucha, kefir, and so much more, from package-free ingredients. For water we should go for tap water, boiled or filtered if we don’t trust the quality of the water where we are, instead of bottled ones. We could also choose beverages packaged in easily and efficiently recyclable packaging such as glass.

DRIED FRUITS, SEEDS & NUTS: Farmbasket recently launched their re-fill sections where you can find dry fruits, seeds and nuts in re-fillable packets. You can also try to buy with your own bags from bulk bins from supermarkets, but it is hard to know if these bins are then filled from large bulk purchase or from regular packaging [I know common sense would say the former, but I’ve had some bad surprise with this in the past]. You can also buy bulk nuts and seeds at Health Solution in Grand-Baie someone from Zero Waste Mauritius told us. You can also now find many of these in Neofoods bulk section in Mont Choisy.

CONDIMENTS, PICKLES, ‘ACHARD’ & co: Most of these can be bought in glass containers or made at home.

LESS FOOD WASTE : If we want to reduce our waste in the kitchen, it’s not only about packaging but also about avoiding food waste. We can do that by cooking the right quantity, by freezing the surplus and by eating our leftovers [and let’s learn to get creative and create new recipes with our leftovers] . We can also eat more of the food we buy as often we discard food parts that are edible but that we are just not used to eat [think cooked manioc leaves, carrots tops pesto , radish greens in your salad ].

It also means knowing how to conserve our food for it to stay fresh the longest possible –and this can be done plastic-free! You can use bee wraps like the ones sold by Let it Bee, Reduce Waste Mauritius , Dounia or many others instead of cling-film for example [or you can just put a plate on-top of the bowl you wanted to put cling-film on…which is generally my go-to method].

If you are a restaurant, café, hotel, supermarket or anyone dealing with big quantity of still-good-to-eat food that would probably end in the bin if nothing is done… you definitely have to check out FoodWise Mauritius and the amazing work they do to redirect the food that would otherwise be wasted to those that would benefit from it.

COMPOST : After having used all the parts you could of your foods, you can compost the rest. If you have a garden, it’s quite easy to build your own compost piles [ the government was giving some compost bins some time ago…you might want to check if this is still happening]. If you wanna learn more about composting SensiBio offers workshop on the subject. If you don’t have a garden, you might want to keep your compost in your fridge and drop it at some family members or friend’s place that would love to add it to their compost. You can also use a bokashi system like the ones offered by Orgasmic Garden. A bokashi composting systems is an anaerobic fermentation process in which you can also, added to all the traditional items you’d put in a compost, put milk and meat; the entire process can be done indoor in your bokashi bin as it’s an anaerobic one, but you’d still need to drop the finished result in someone’s garden.

BRING YOUR OWN: To reduce waste relating to food, you can also BRING YOUR OWN when you’re on-the-go. We can bring our own snacks and food in reusable containers or ‘snack pouch’ like the ones offered by Dounia . We can bring our own containers when we order take-aways [most restaurants will be fine with it. I’ll usually go with my containers to place my order and then come to pick up the order later when it’s ready – yes, it might require some more logistic and it might not be doable in all case, but in many cases it is quite possible], invest in a reusable water bottle or re-use a glass bottle [if you do not trust the water quality where you are, you can invest in a water filtration system, which will soon cost less than buying bottled water non-stop] instead of drinking bottled water and bring our own coffee cup for coffees [or other drinks, including all the juices we can find in our local marketplace] on-the-go [this also works if you are in a company and drink from the coffee machine, you can just bring your own cup].

We then can recycle what we haven’t been able to reduce or speak-up to local food companies or places whom we think could use less plastic, to not only create changes for ourselves but for our communities…but we’ll talk about that as well as ways to be zero waste in Mauritius in other areas of our home and life next week – I think this post is already long enough for now!

In regard to food, the waste factor will of course depend of our dietary choice and I’m sure I missed many food items here… I would love to hear more of what you do to reduce your food waste and good addresses to find packaged-free food items.

And let’s remember that it’s not about being perfect or doing it all at once, but about taking a first step now and being willing to change our habits.

I believe cooking zero waste is also about creating new habits, exploring and trying – If you’re up for that, a cool blog to explore is the one of the zero waste chef with plenty of tips and tricks for a zero waste kitchen: https://zerowastechef.com/

All-together, we can do this !

Update: Received a few cool additional addresses from everyone in Zero Waste Mauritius, so adding these here:
La Corbeille in Mapou seems to have options for plastic-free milk.
You can have oils and spices in bulk at Nature Basket in Moka, and one of our members was also told that we’d soon be able to have access to bulk rice and seeds there.

Update: As from July 2020, now you can also find your Zero Waste Food Items in Pointe d’Esny at NAKED foods

*You can find Part 1 here, which was a reflection on Community Actions and Resilience : https://justlearningtobehumans.wordpress.com/…/plastic-fre…/

If such conversations are of interest to you, you can jump in and share more on https://www.facebook.com/groups/zerowastemauritius/

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