Smart Material Choices with Black+Blum

BOX APPETIT Lunch storage containers from Black+Blum 1

There has been a lot of publicity recently about the environmental impact of plastic pollution. And rightly so. According to the Plastic Oceans Foundation, we are now producing nearly 300 million tons of plastic annually, which is apparently roughly the same as the entire weight of humanity.

Approximately half of the plastic produced is for single use and worryingly, more than eight million tons of plastic is dumped into our oceans every year. That’s a huge amount. A lot of this is made up of single use drinking bottles and drinking straws.

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A recent report in the Guardian stated that more than 480bn plastic drinking bottles were sold in 2016 across the world, up from about 300bn a decade ago. Estimates from Euromonitor International’s global packaging trends report predict that this figure will increase to 583.3bn by 2021.

The Marine Conservation Society estimates that the UK alone uses 8.5 billion straws a year. Whilst this figure is quite shocking there are already plans to deal with this situation. Companies such as JD Wetherspoon, Wagamama, Costa Coffee, Pizza Express and Waitrose have all started phasing out plastic straws and plans are afoot for the UK government to ban plastic straws altogether.

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I find it really disconcerting to hear that we have produced more plastic in the last 10 years than we have in the whole of the last century. Sure plastic is cheap and extremely versatile, but it’s about time we took a good hard look at our disposable modern lifestyle and how it is contributing to the destruction of our environment.

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It has been nice to hear about various locations allowing people to refill their water bottles in an attempt to cut down on the amount of single use plastic bottles we get through. Likewise, Starbucks  announced that it will be the first UK coffee chain to add a 5p charge on takeaway coffee cups with a view to reducing the 2.5bn disposable cups we use every year.

From a personal point of view I would really like to reduce my plastic consumption this year. It’s a difficult thing to do given that practically everything we buy these days comes wrapped in layer after layer of plastic packaging. Does a cucumber really need to be shrink wrapped? Do I really need individually wrapped avocados? No, no I don’t. But there are some areas where we can make better decisions and smart material choices.

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That’s why I decided to work with Black+Blum on their #DesignForHealth campaign. I wholeheartedly believe that the environment we live in can help to support our health and wellness. For decades now, rampant consumerism has led to the creation of a throw away society characterised by over-consumption and excessive production of poor quality disposable items.

But I think that the tide may be starting to turn. I believe we’re finally starting to realise the destructive nature of mass consumption and as a result we’re looking for more sustainable, renewable and recyclable options when it comes to our material choices. I believe this is probably what is driving the current trend for natural materials.

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Black+Blum’s BOX APPETIT  range features a number of products that are plastic free, instead utilising more natural materials. The products that I chose to feature in this post are all made from stainless steel. Characterised by its high levels of durability, stainless steel is a great alternative to plastic. Its inherent natural strength and extremely high levels of thermal insulation, make it a perfect material for a range of food storage and transportation products.

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Unlike plastic containers that often contain harmful BPAs there is no risk of this with stainless steel. I was able to try out the brand new lunch box which is Black+Blum’s first truly leak-proof stainless steel lunch box. It is a 3-in-1, multi-functional lunch box allowing you to transport your lunch, cook dishes in the oven, and even store pre-cooked meals in a freezer.

It has a small valve on the top, a divider to separate the main cavity into two and finally there is a silicone strap which is used to secure the lid onto the box. One thing I really liked about this was that the stainless steel fork that comes with it can slide into the silicone strap keeping it nicely attached to the lunchbox.

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I was also able to try out the stainless steel sandwich box which features a bamboo lid. Bamboo is not only extremely sustainable, being one of the fastest growing plants in the world (certain species of bamboo can grow 91 cm within a 24-hour period…crazy!) but it is also extremely durable, water-resistant and is naturally anti-bacterial.

The lid can be used as a chopping board or as a serving board. There is also a silicone strap with this lunchbox for added security but it is worth noting that this box is not leak proof.

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The Thermo Pot is one of my favorite items from the BOX APPETIT range. It is quite a large food thermos and can hold up to half a litre. What I like most about it is the cork lid. I’m a huge cork fan and have been for some time now. Again, cork is a sustainable product that is both renewable and recyclable. It is an abundant resource which can regenerate far quicker then we can use it (each tree that is stripped will be ready to harvest again in 9-12 years).

Cork is an excellent choice of material for a thermos as it has impressive thermal insulation properties and can keep the contents hot for up to 6 hrs and cold for up to 8 hrs. I also like the fact that there is a ladle spoon that attaches to the body of the thermos with magnets. A great way to ensure that you don’t forget your spoon.

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The final product that I had the pleasure of testing is the stainless steel water bottle. The utilitarian design really appealed to me as this bottle will definitely stand up to the wear and tear of being lugged around on a daily basis. The lid is made from polypropylene and silicone and there is a little strap that secures the cap to the bottle that is made from vegan leather. This strap also acts as a carry strap. I must say I’m intrigued by the idea of vegan leather and I’ll definitely be looking more into this as an alternative to traditional leather.

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The reason I wanted to work on this campaign with Black+Blum is because I’m trying really hard at the moment to be more organised and take my lunch into the office with me instead of buying it. Not only will I save money in doing so but I’ll also be doing something good for the environment by not creating so much waste.

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I quite often end up buying a sandwich and a bottle of water or orange juice for lunch (and some vegetable crisps if I’m feeling a bit naughty). I do feel bad chucking my plastic bottle straight in the bin each time. I’ll be much better off using products like these that allow me to bring my own healthy lunch in from home and refill my water bottle once empty. If we all do our bit, I’m sure it wouldn’t take too much effort to reduce the 150 million tons of single use plastic that we produce each year. Just look what happened when we started charging for plastic bags. It can be done!

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What do you guys think? Are you trying to reduce your plastic consumption too? Are you trying to make smarter material choices by opting for materials that are sustainable, renewable and recyclable?

Tips for reducing your plastic use by choosing sustainable, renewable and recyclable materials instead

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This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Black+Blum who sent me the products to for the purpose of this post. However, I want to stress that I only collaborate with brands and companies that I genuinely like and believe that my readers will like too.


  1. March 22, 2018 / 7:34 am

    What a great article, I’m loving all these smart solutions! I thing shopping at local greengrocers rather than supermarkets certainly helps … but I think you’re right…. the tide is certainly starting to shift!

  2. March 21, 2018 / 8:28 pm

    They all look so stylish and will last a lifetime, so much better than the plastic alerntative. I’m also trying to cut down on plastic use but finding it so difficult as it’s allpervasive. But I do think everything we do is a step in the right direction! X

  3. March 21, 2018 / 8:04 pm

    allelujah! where can I buy a few? I really liked the finishing touches – bon apetit on top, magnet for spoon etc – this shows they have thought of the products really well. Plus it looks good. Taking food in the office is no longer a bit embarrassing . Really loved their book lunch box – BPA free too, looks great. Also 45 day refund policy? I’m in!

  4. March 21, 2018 / 7:24 pm

    Great post lovely ! We are also here trying to reduce amout of plastic and sometimes its unbelivable as to how much wrapping shops actually use on stuff take a brocolli for instanc it is cheaper to buy wrapped brocolli than one without wrapper -its madness x

  5. March 21, 2018 / 12:35 pm

    They’re gorgeous…even without the environmental angle (but that’s the icing on the cake). Also, that sushi is making me hungry. :)

  6. March 21, 2018 / 9:30 am

    Really interesting stuff. I’m making a real effort to cut down on plastic too, so this has given me food for thought. It’s scary to think what will happen to our planet if we don’t…

  7. March 15, 2018 / 9:32 am

    Funny how things come full-circle, eh? When we were kids we’d always take lunch to school in containers then bring them home afterwards to be reused, but along the way the ease and convenience of single-use packaging seemed to take priority over actually being mindful of resources and the environment. I loves these new pieces and really do need to adopt this approach in my own life. Luckily I work from home a lot so taking a packed lunch out isn’t often something I need worry about but when I work from town I always just pick up something prepackaged – maybe if I invest in one of these grown-up lunch box options I’d be less inclined to do so! x

    • March 16, 2018 / 12:27 am

      I totally agree that things are coming full circle Kate. All this convenience seems like such a good idea at the time but give it a few years or decades and we realise the price that we have to pay for that convenience. And in this case it definitely wasn’t worth it!

  8. March 14, 2018 / 9:00 pm

    Love this Stacey. I’ve also been looking to reduce mine, especially with the children’s lunch stuff. I’m going to take a look now xx

    • March 14, 2018 / 9:24 pm

      They would be great for kids. Very hard-wearing and sturdy.

  9. March 14, 2018 / 5:55 pm

    These are a great investment! PLastics are just everywhere, aren’t they? We need to stop buying it!

    • March 14, 2018 / 9:21 pm

      We really do. But it’s so hard when almost everything in the supermarket comes in plastic wrap. It’s so unnecessary.

  10. March 14, 2018 / 4:44 pm

    Wonderful post Stacey and I’ve been thinking about how we can reduce how much packaging we use as a household as well! It’s way out of hand. I love these lunch boxes – they are not only ecologically sound but just look beautiful too! xx

    • March 14, 2018 / 5:38 pm

      It’s so hard isn’t it? Everything we buy these days just has so much unnecessary packaging. This is a small step but every little helps I guess.

  11. March 14, 2018 / 4:41 pm

    I completely agree, the tide is turning! I fear we may be doing too little too late but we’ve got to try! One of our NY resolutions was to try and cut down on waste and we’ve definitely cut down on packaging a little, but generally it’s very difficult. Especially with kids and they all come with straws which are so so bad for the environment. Every little helps though, and these products looks great!

    • March 14, 2018 / 5:40 pm

      It may well be a bit too late Karen but if we make changes now it has to better than carrying on the way we are. Now that China is refusing to take our recyclable waste the pressure really is on.

  12. March 14, 2018 / 12:14 pm

    A great post Stacey. I must admit I’m trying to cut back on the plastic but it is HARD! These products look lovely and I’m sure that with a few of these in my kitchen I’d try harder. x

    • March 14, 2018 / 5:41 pm

      So hard Carole. I feel that until there is legislation in place to make supermarkets cut back on the unnecessary packaging we are fighting a losing battle.

  13. March 13, 2018 / 9:49 am

    Do you know, this year I have been making an extra effort too. It really is terrifying how much plastic is being used.
    I’m a massive fan of Black and Blum – not only are their designs really clever but they’re making a conscious effort to reduce waste x

    • March 14, 2018 / 5:42 pm

      That’s why I like Black+Blum so much Lucy. Their products are so functional and you can just tell that a lot of thought has gone into each design, especially when it comes to materials.

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