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zero waste

Plastic-Free Breakfast For The Win!

I revamped my usual breakfast of oatmeal and coffee so now it’s plastic-free with minimal waste.

You probably know this already, but cinnamon banana oatmeal is my favourite breakfast. I have it every day (when we’re not living in the van). I make it with oats, banana, and ground cinnamon and usually top it with frozen cherries and cornflakes.

Bulk Bins to the Rescue!

To make this breakfast plastic-free, I buy oats and cornflakes from bulk bins in Auchan. Auchan is a massive supermarket chain so the fact that they have an entire aisle dedicated to bulk bins is pretty cool! Bananas are always available without any packaging although some bunches do come wrapped in plastic, for some reason.

Spices and herbs usually come in single-use packs so now we buy them in bulk from Naturalny Sklepik, a cosy locally-owned shop and cafe in Kraków’s city centre. Besides cinnamon, we’ve also purchased dried basil, rosemary, thyme, oregano, and Herbes de Provence from their bulk bins. This shop is nice because you can use your own jars. The bins are behind the counter so they fill the jars for you, no problem!

In addition to glass jars, I use cloth bags purchased from iHerb.com for other dry goods. These bags are thin, lightweight, and durable. I use them for purchasing oats, cornflakes, pasta, rice and lentils. My sister Priscilla also gifted me two cloth bags, both of which are more heavy-duty than the ones I purchased from iHerb so I use these for bread and potatoes. We really don’t need too many reusable bags to do our shopping since most of the fruit and vegetables we buy (besides mushrooms) can be taken to the till without a bag. Easy!

Fresh Fruit vs. Frozen

Lately, I’ve been topping my oatmeal with sliced kiwi or apple. Apples are so good right now! Persimmon is also in season so I have a few of them waiting to be eaten as well. I do miss frozen cherries on top of my oatmeal but fresh fruit tastes just as good.

Auchan sells frozen berries in bulk so we could buy some if we really crave them. We’d just need to use a plastic bag to buy them since they’d definitely soak through my cloth ones. For now, we’re both fine skipping them. We’ll just wait patiently for berry season.

If you’re curious about what Kuba eats for breakfast instead of a smoothie bowl, now he just eats sliced bananas, apples, and kiwis. Simple seems to be best for us!

Last but not least: coffee!

In addition to my cinnamon banana oatmeal, I always start my day with coffee. A homemade vanilla or hazelnut soy latte was always my go-to breakfast beverage. Instead of my usual latte in the morning, I skip the soy milk because it comes in Tetra Pak. (Even though Tetra Pak is recyclable, I’m still trying to avoid it if I can.)

Now I enjoy black coffee sweetened with a little sugar instead. We buy coffee beans in bulk from Kawalerka, one of our favourite locally-owned cafes here in Kraków. Kuba grinds the beans with a hand-grinder every morning so we can have fresh coffee anytime we fancy it.

We’re trying pour-over coffee since the set-up is basic. We don’t need many tools to make coffee this way (just a ceramic brewer, filters, hot water and a mug) so we’ll still be able to make it with minimal fuss once we move back into the van. Right now, we’re using paper filters but we might try reusable ones if we can find one with a super fine mesh.

Besides the paper filter, the only other waste produced from my breakfast comes from the sugar. I found unrefined cane sugar packaged in a paper bag free from any plastic at Carrefour so that’s what I use at the moment.

What inspired these changes?

The documentary A Plastic Ocean inspired us to act. Right now, our goal is to avoid foods packaged in plastic. This has been fairly easy for us so far because we have several shops with bulk bins to choose from. Some food items are more tricky to find without plastic so we either avoid them completely or substitute them with a plastic-free alternative. This documentary is available on Netflix so please check it out and let me know what you think.

By Lisa

In Oct. 2014, I quit my job and started downsizing my life by selling and rehoming all my belongings. Even though I’ve moved around all my life, I officially left the States in Dec. 2015 and have been travelling abroad ever since. I hope to inspire you to simplify your life so you live with intention. I’m an avid writer, videography enthusiast, and a major foodie with a passion for sustainable living.