Layla made zero waste chocolate – from scratch!

Filed in Blog by on March 18, 2009 28 Comments
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home made chocolate, zero wasteI’ve been writing about some wonderful people doing wonderful things this week. But this story really takes the biscuit, or the cocoa powder, or whatever …

The lovely Layla, who is a frequent contributor to the blog, gave Little Miss Green her belated Birthday present. You might remember that in honour of her Birthday, we asked you to take one more step on your environmentally conscious journey.

Well Layla celebrated in style by making her own chocolate! Over in Slovenia (is that right, Layla?) it’s not so easy to get zero waste chocolate. In the UK we can get slabs of foil and paper wrapped delights, but it’s a different story in other parts of the world.

So Layla donned her apron and got stuck into her mixing bowl. It was not without its problems, so why not go over to her blog and read her adventures for yourself. She is as tenacious as Little Miss Green herself, I have to say. Not one to give up easily Layla kept going until she created something edible.

Thanks so much Layla for your entertaining and thoughtful post. Little Miss green was very impressed and was inspired by your idea πŸ™‚

About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (28)

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  1. That’s great going Layla…just in time for Easter too πŸ˜€

  2. Danda says:

    Hi Mrs Green!
    Layla is a wonderful person. She’s so strong-willed and sensible and I’m glad to support her daily challenges. I think that if we had been closer we would have been great friends!

  3. Hi Mrs G – be prepared for fame. Your toilet roll video has been featured on Alpha Mummy πŸ˜€ xxxx

    http://timesonline.typepad.com/alphamummy/2009/03/credit-crunch-1.html

  4. Fluttering Sam says:

    Hello Mrs Green πŸ™‚ I receive alphamummy via Twitter, prepare to be swamped! LOL! πŸ™‚

  5. Layla says:

    Aww, Mrs Green, you blogged about me!!:)

    And did I inspire you & Little Miss Green into making some chocolate from scratch too? πŸ˜‰

    The good thing is if you store up on cocoa beans or cocoa powder & either cocoa butter or coconut butter or such, and sugar or honey – you never have to go to the shop just to get the chocolate fix!:)

    Yes, here in Slovenia, some (more expensive!) chocolate is also in aluminum foil & paper cardboard, some of it is in non-recyclable unindentifiable plastics though!
    And even if you get it in cardboard or paper, if they are smudged with chocolate (which is, uhm, sorta easy!) they are non-recyclable!

    And if you make it at home you can experiment with exactly how sweet you want it, or what you want to put in it! (no iffy artificial additives or such!) Just pure yummy goodness!!:)

    I’m not an expert chocolatier(yet?;) but experimenting has been lots of FUN!

    I think it’s much more interesting to make it than to just buy it!:)

    Danda, Maisie, Mrs A & everyone else, thank you for the lovely words!!:) I’m so happy to know you amazing women, you are my daily inspiration!!:)

  6. Mrs Green says:

    Hi Layla, LMG is messy at the best of times, making our own chocolate is something I would have to pluck up the nerve to do with her LOL!
    Good thought on being able to create an instant chocolate fix; Mr G regularly gets a craving late night for our humble cocoa bean and then it’s too late to go out.
    Enjoy your experimenting; this could be the start of a creative business venture for you πŸ™‚

  7. John Costigane says:

    Hi Mrs Green,

    Layla has been a fantastic addition to regulars, with her excellent posts. It is great to read the European, and North American, perspectives. Maybe we shall see a poster from every country then you could add “World” to the title.

    How about “United Nations Zero Waste Week”, that would be an event.

  8. Mrs Green says:

    That would be something, wouldn’t it John. Maybe in a few years time we’ll have exactly that going on πŸ™‚

  9. Layla says:

    John, thank you for the kind words! You’re an inspiration yourself!! πŸ™‚

    & I LOVE reading your posts!! – I don’t dare leave any packaging at shops yet, but I have to chuckle every time I think of you – & hopefully in time it will become the norm, or unnecessary!!

    ‘Zero Waste Week Worldwide’ would indeed be something!!
    In the meantime, I’ve discovered ‘InterNational Downshifting Week : 18th to 24th April 2009’
    http://downshiftingweek.wordpress.com/ & I really like some suggestions – especially the ones for businesses!! πŸ™‚
    http://downshiftingweek.wordpress.com/how-to-take-part/
    Some activities for schools look interesting too – I hope they’re not encouraging them to cook hedgehogs (or snails!)! πŸ™‚ – Though I’ve been tempted after seeing so many little snail houses in our flowerbeds!! hmm!!

  10. Layla says:

    Mrs G, lol – in the simplified version I do, it’s easier than I thought! /I’ve never actually gotten it to harden though, cause I eat it before! :)/

    I also make really small amounts, so I actually eat less than before! πŸ™‚

    As for doing it pro – probably no go – I’d probably eat all my experiments anyway!! πŸ™‚

  11. Mrs Green says:

    We’re big fans of Tracey’s International Downshifting week here at Chez Green. Layla. She is a wonderful lady who has done so much to inspire and motivate people towards meaningful and lasting change.
    I’m looking into registering National zero waste week this evening – exciting stuff πŸ™‚

  12. Layla says:

    I thought you might be, I hoped others might read it too & get inspired! πŸ™‚

    How about make it InterNational zero waste week? πŸ˜‰

  13. John Costigane says:

    @Layla: You like funny stories, Layla. Here is one. At Sainsbury, while checking out Zero Waste Easter Eggs, A manageress unprompted mentioned container purchases. I was gobsmacked at this considering the usual panic that breaks out every time I ask to use a container. I came over rather frisky with the shock.

    The laugh was that I was only there for Easter Eggs so had no containers. I will definitely return later with containers. Who said Zero Waste was boring!

  14. Mrs Green says:

    @John Costigane: Great story, John. I love the image of you getting frisky with the manageress in Sainsburys – whatever next?

  15. John Costigane says:

    Hi Mrs Green,

    It was such a positive development. I will give you an example of the usual. When I go into Asda, phones get lifted, harsh stares from services. It is laughable really. I prefer the friendly approach.

    I mentioned packaging for coconut and dried fruit. Let us see if that is a possibility. After so many negatives, there maybe some movement here.

  16. Layla says:

    lol John, so you actually got yelled at & told you couldn’t shop with containers, & you didn’t even have no containers with! πŸ™‚

    The friendly approach is better, yeah.. Here, in one shop they just put the cheese in our reusable container calmly. But we didn’t fuss about leaving even the tight-wrapping for cheese there..
    What you wrote has made me think though – is it a good idea to publicize container-friendly shops or not? Could they get in trouble for it?

    Are you talking to just one branch or the whole store chain? Because indivudual shops can vary in some things.
    Also, maybe if a lot of people wrote to them it might make a difference?

  17. John Costigane says:

    @Layla: Layla, you misunderstood. The manageress was being extremely helpful in that my known use of containers was acceptable to her. That was unique in my superstore experience, at that level of supervision.

    In general, it is worth posting good experiences at the likes of Sainsbury to give encouragement to other enthusiasts. Container use must be within Health & Safety guidelines to keep them right, obviously. I am hopeful of further positive change and will pass on any developments on MyZeroWaste.

    Writing to them is one way but I prefer actions to words. Have you heard the expresssion : Action talks louder than words?

  18. Carole Blake says:

    I got stuck in front of the apple counter at Tesco earlier. My eldest son who’s home from Uni came up and asked what was taking so long. My preference is to only buy British apples, hopefully saving on ecomiles, my problem was that the only unpackaged apples that Tesco had were foreign ones!! All of the British apples, (and they had at least four varieties) were packed up in plastic bags.
    I didn’t want to have to go out again today to pick up apples from anywhere else, so my son eventually persuaded me to get French apples, reasoning that they’ve probably only come over on the ferry, and then I’d have no plastic to worry about.

    Shame on Tesco for not realising, and more shame for not having a suggestions box to let them know. The queue at customer services was six deep.

    I can feel yet another email to Tesco coming on.

  19. Layla says:

    Oh, John, I get it now!! WoW, that is so good to hear!! πŸ™‚ YAY!!

    It’s really helpful to share these things, as shops can be different, & it gives courage to other people (& shops) to try different things.. Thank you!!

    Carole, good to hear you’ve been communicating with shops too! – do you just write to the local department or to the chain store headquarters?
    Indeed, it would be great to have local zero waste products (possibly organic) as a priority!!
    Do tell of any progress made!!

  20. Mrs Green says:

    @Carole Blake: Mmmm, that is a situation that annoys me too, Carole. I can’t imagine how English apples are still available though. I have some that I’ve stored since November and they are edible, but they are not the sort you would expect to buy in a supermarket. They have severe cellulite.
    I like your son’s reasoning though; that’s really cool and good to see him understanding your dilemma.

  21. Carole Blake says:

    @Layla: Hi Layla,
    I tend just to email the head guys from their websites. I’m used to the corporate speak by now, “We are endeavoring to meet government targets, blah blah blah”. What about our targets I think lol.

    Carole

  22. Carole Blake says:

    @Mrs Green: Mrs G, on the subject of communicating with shops/manufacturers, I finally had a communication back from Kraft Foods. If you remember, I sent the clear plastic shell protecting one of their Terrys Chocolate Orange back to them free post.

    Here is the usual:
    “Dear Ms Blake,
    Thank you for contacting us, concerning the packaging for Terrys Chocolate Orange.

    I would like to assure you that Kraft Foods are very aware of the environmental concerns of our customers, and we are continually looking at ways to minimise the packaging of our wide range of products.

    Our Packing Technologists (cool job label huh – my comment, Carole) keep up to date with the latest advances and review packaging design on an ongoing basis. In addition, we are also members of VALPACK, (Industry Council for Packaging and the Environment) who are working closely with the Government to ensure that the industry meets current and future environmental targets.

    Thank you once again for taking the time to contact us with your views.

    Yours sincerely,

    Jenna Silva

    Consumer Relations Team”

    What do you think??

    Carole

  23. Carole Blake says:

    Copy of email to Tesco:

    Dear Tesco,

    I appreciate (because you have told me this many times by email) that you try to provide exactly what your customers want. But sometimes, in trying to be environmentally friendly us eco-warriors have a very difficult time in your stores. I prefer to buy British when I can, to save on my carbon footprint, eco-miles, what have you, but also, I try to minimise my plastic waste sent to landfill. I prefer the zero waste option every time.

    To get to the point, I have tried to buy unpackaged British apples from your Wadebridge (Cornwall) store twice in the last week but am unable to. You have a wonderful variety of foreign apples (all very nice I’m sure) competely unwrapped. You also have two or three different varieties of English apples, every single one weighed and wrapped up in plastic/polythene bags. Without resorting to the option of handing packaging back at the checkout (and I have done this before, but don’t like doing it, as I know then that it will no doubt end up in landfill anyway, just not by my hand) I have no other option but to buy foreign apples, or buy them elsewhere.

    Is it too much trouble just to sell one English variety naked? I’m not fussy which variety it is, but to have the choice would be nice.

    Thank you,

    Carole Blake.

  24. Poppy says:

    @Carole Blake:

    I would have gone for the British apples. The polythene can be recycled along with the carrier bag recycling. The only things you would have left are any labels and the bag tie.

  25. Carole Blake says:

    @Poppy: I guess that could be another way to look at it, I just HATE buying anything wrapped in plastic. Can you add polythene to the carrier bag recycling boxes they have up in Tesco? I didn’t know that. I know you can post it to http://www.polyprint.co.uk/recycling.html but I haven’t got room in my small flat to keep hold of lots of stuff to post.

    Carole

  26. Layla says:

    Great discussion!!

    And Carole thank you so much for pasting the e-mails & replies!! It’s very helpful!!

    @Poppy – I would prefer to go plastic-free too!! Our Slovenian packaging recovery company is appealing to government and EU to ‘temporarily’ revise the EU priorities, to move ‘energy from waste’ higher up in front of recycling!!
    /& we all know what that means!!/

    I do not really trust them to properly sort & recycle stuff anymore, since the recyclables don’t make so much money anymore.. I think that temporarily they’re still obligated by law to sort & recycle, but it’s not a priority anymore!!

    Seen some concerning trend of unlabelled recycling bins too!!

    They did say on their website the 2nd option is to increase packaging prices for companies, so hopefully they’ll do that.. And this may in turn encourage companies to go more naked!!

    @Carole: I’d probably prefer to say I’m just an ‘average housewife/citizen’ & I love Kraft/Tesco.. foods/products, but like many other people I’m more and more concerned about environmental corncerns of excessive packaging & would prefer to buy waste-free..

    Maybe it could even be pointed out: ‘Packaging recovery companies all over Europe’ (probably good to find that out for sure first) ‘are complaining that with recyclables prices so low, it is not economical for them anymore to sort and recycle, and in turn propose environmentally more dangerous solutions, &/or increasing packaging prices. So it would be in the interest of Kraft foods/Tesco to heavily reduce packaging & thus also reduce costs & save money.’

    or something like that? (but I guess a bit more research might be needed)
    Oh and by all means I’d threaten to otherwise be forced to also tell/heavily encourage all my friends and relatives to buy …(chocolate eggs/apples).. elsewhere etc.

    This is just brainstorming, maybe others can have even better ideas?

    I do feel for the manufacturers too.. Even the thought of ‘but what would I put my chocolate into’ when Mrs Green suggested I go into business, made me dizzy!! πŸ™‚

  27. Mrs Green says:

    @Carole Blake: Hi Carole, you asked me what I think about the response from Kraft foods. I think it sounds exactly like some of the responses I have had from manufacturers who have no intention of changing their way of doing things LOL!
    Love your email to Tesco; I doubt you’ll get a response. I’ve never heard anything from the stuff I’ve sent them and as a result I haven’t shopped there for about 3 years. I refuse to even buy my petrol from them, even thought it’s the cheapest.

    @Layla: Check out Cocoa Loco (http://www.cocoaloco.co.uk/) site for packaging inspiration!

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