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Get to Know ZuBlue Ltd: Merging Scuba Diving with Sustainability

Get to Know ZuBlue Ltd: Merging Scuba Diving with Sustainability

We recently learnt about a new startup business - ZuBlu Ltd - who’s co-founder, Adam Broadbent, lives in Sai Kung, Hong Kong. The company launched a new dive travel platform that provides SCUBA divers with a simple yet intuitive way to discover exciting dive experiences across Asia. The website marries a powerful search tool with an exciting range of dive destinations and eco-friendly resorts, putting the power of discovery and choice into the hands of ZuBlu’s guests.

The company describes itself as “A new dive travel platform that puts the power of discovery and choice into the hands of its guests. With its unique species search tool, up-to-date and accurate information and a commitment to conserving the marine environment, ZuBlu aims to become the leading dive travel agency for destinations in Asia and create positive change in the destinations featured on the ZuBlu platform.”

ZuBlu ensures conservation and sustainability are at the heart of its business. Each resort listing displays an ‘at-a-glance’ summary of sustainable practices, as well as information about conservation activities. And as part of its commitment to the environment, ZuBlu donates a percentage of revenue to local conservation organisations. “By linking conservation and dive travel, we believe ZuBlu can make a significant positive impact in the destinations we feature. We place the emphasis on sustainability and conservation, helping our guests to make a more informed choice about where they should travel,” said Matthew Oldfield, ZuBlu co-founder.

ZuBlu’s platform is built around a unique search tool designed to match a guest’s preferences with an ideal destination. Adam Broadbent, ZuBlu co-founder, said “the concept of the ZuBlu platform arose from a desire to give guests the ability to easily discover new destinations and experiences. We take their choices - what species they would like to see and when they would like to travel - and match them with the most suitable destinations. If our guests want to dive with whale sharks, ZuBlu can help get them to the right place at the right time.”

Divers as a whole are very sensitive to changes and problem in the marine environment - particularly the extremely obvious issue of plastic waste in the water - and although there are many dive resorts and operators that are trying to do what they can to reduce their environmental footprint, and incorporate more sustainable practices into their business models, there is actually very little information out there about what is going on. ZuBlu aims to fill this gap by highlighting what different resorts are actually doing and thus giving guests the ability to vote with the wallets - if you want to help support a more sustainable dive travel industry, book your dive trip to a resort that is doing something for the environment by removing plastic straws or plastic water bottles from their resort for example. Every little bit helps and diving travellers can now do what they can to ensure their travels as sustainable as possible.

Currently the ZuBlu platform features dive destinations in Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, and the Maldives, with new destinations being unveiled in the coming months. The company works with a carefully chosen selection of partner resorts and dive operators, all with high standards of customer service, established safety records and a commitment to the environment. ZuBlu has also partnered with the Manta Trust, the world’s leading manta ray conservation organisation and offers citizen science expeditions in the Maldives and Indonesia.

To discover and book your next underwater adventure in Asia, visit 

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Bans, Taxes, and Fees: The Politics of Plastic Bags

Bans, Taxes, and Fees: The Politics of Plastic Bags

It has become common practice around the world to use disposable plastic bags to assist us in our every day lives. Out of mere convenience and utility, the plastic bag has become a go-to resource for in-store purchases, big or small. However, in light of current of research pointing to the environmental impacts of plastic bags, many cities, states, and countries have sought to change this through regulation and legislation.


According to the Earth Policy Institute, 1 trillion plastic bags are used worldwide each year. For every 100 billion plastic bags being made, 12 million barrels of crude oil are being allocated to their production. Equivocally, a car could drive for one mile on the energy required to produce 12 plastic bags. 

And most of these are not being recycled. Instead, they are ending up in lakes and oceans, on beaches, in landfills, and even in our own food chain. This is because rather than breaking down over time, they are simply breaking into smaller and smaller pieces.

Legislation Around the World

Due to the mounting environmental concerns, legislation is being passed across the globe to mitigate the manufacture and use of disposable plastic bags. The first plastic bag law went into effect in Denmark in 1993, which implemented a tax on the use of plastic bags. Ireland introduced the Bag Tax in 2002, reducing plastic bag use by 90 percent. 

Bangladesh became the first country to outright ban thin plastic bags in 2002 after two major floods in 1989 and 1998, which were magnified due to plastic bag waste blocking drains and sewers. 

China began enforcing plastic bag bans and regulations in 2008, just before hosting the 2008 Summer Olympics. This eventually caused their largest plastic bag factory to shut down. 

Other countries that have enacted regulations on plastic bags include Kenya, the Phillippines, Australia, Argentina, Brazil, and more. 

Legislation in the U.S.

As of 2016, legislation regarding plastic bag bans spanned 23 states and included 77 bills. Notable city-wide bans are now enforced in Austin, Chicago, Seattle, and Cambridge, Massachusetts. 

In 2014, California became the first U.S. state to ban disposable plastic bags statewide. Since then, a de facto statewide ban on plastic bags has been enforced in Hawaii, and the District of Columbia has passed a law banning the distribution of disposable, non-recyclable plastic bags. 

However, many states in the U.S. have passed legislation prohibiting regulations on disposable plastic bags. Preemptive legislation that prevents cities, towns, or counties from regulating the sale and distribution of plastic bags is enforced in nine different U.S. states, including Arizona, Michigan, Florida, and Wisconsin. 

What you can do

The ban on disposable plastic bag use is gaining momentum and there are many ways you can contribute to this movement. 

The most effective way to impose change is by writing your state representative. It is the job of your legislators to pass laws based on the values of their constituents. Voice your opposition to disposable plastic bags directly to those who can enact change. 

In addition to directly contacting your representative, you can also make your voice heard through one of the many campaigns started to ban plastic bags, such as Greenpeace or Clean Up (The Project).

Sometimes the politics behind such a significant change can seem daunting. If you’re looking to promote change on a more local level, contact your local grocer to express your concern.

And finally, bring your own bag! By bringing your own bag to the store with you, you are easily able to say “No, thank you,” to plastic disposable bags when offered. Just because they are not legally banned in your city or state, doesn’t mean you have to use them.


About The Author

David Evans is the founder of prch, a resource for responsible consumers. He is a UCLA graduate with a degree in Environmental Studies and Geographic Information Systems and works in the crossover between tech and conservation. David’s mission is to help others improve their environmental and social impact.

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On Eating Plastic...

What did you have for lunch today? Did you bring it from home? Did you get takeaway, or maybe go to a restaurant? Plastics are an incredible material for packaging but have hidden yet severe consequences for our health. Plastics are man-made material, chemically-made, and we don’t yet know what repercussions it may have for the youth of today. One major problem is that of microplastics (small particles of plastics) entering our food system through fish. In 2016, “a study of anchovies caught in Tokyo Bay found that 80% had microplastic particles in their guts”, and these statistics are observed of commonly-eaten fish species worldwide.                             ( 

Hong Kong has it bad, and it doesn’t make a big difference if you’re a fish-eater or not. According to Lisa Christensen, co-founder of HK Clean Up initiative, “the equivalent weight of two A380 Airbus planes is discarded in domestic waste” every day. One of the biggest problems is that recycling in Hong Kong is not mandatory; a mere 5% gets recycled. This is hazardous to our health as well as that of the planet; as “an extremely consumption-based society”, we generate (on average) “1.36kg (3lbs) of domestic waste per person, per day. Tokyo… only generates 0.77kg.” What happens is that “plastic wrapping leaks harmful chemicals into our food and bodies” According to Christensen, “It’s not just plastic bottles and pieces of Styrofoam that are threatening our marine wildlife, tiny microplastics contained in our toiletries, cosmetics and washing detergents are having hugely detrimental effects and making their way into our food chain.” So, some short tips for you to reduce your plastic consumption:


I hope Hong Kong follows other countries like the US, Canada, and more recently, the UK, and bans microbeads in personal care items, as these get into our bodily systems and threaten our health. Every one of us has a role to play in reducing the amount of plastic we use, dispose of, and consume, and continuing when there is seemingly little consequence; those are the most crucial times. At a bar with friends? Ask for no straw. Getting take away from a store? Bring your own container (BPA-free, of course!)

Additional reading:

5 ways every Hongkonger can help reduce plastic waste volumes

How Plastic In The Ocean Is Contaminating Your Seafood

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Our Top Tips For Using a Safety Razor Successfully

Our Top Tips For Using a Safety Razor Successfully

Roughly 2 billion disposable plastic razors are thrown away every year and are rarely ever correctly recycled. Although safety razors were invented in 1904, plastic has become so cheap and convenient since then that disposable, single-use plastic razors have unfortunately become much more popular.

So, why use a double-edge safety razor? Let's take a look at all of the benefits:

  • It's 100% plastic-free and is for life!  After the initial purchase, blades need to be replaced somewhere between 3-12 uses depending on the brand and frequency of use, but purchasing the razor itself is a one-time purchase.
  • Safety razors are great for both genders, any and all parts of the body, and they are a similar style to the disposable razor that we are all so used to.
  • Besides being more environmentally-friendly, they also offer smoother, and less irritable shaves.
  • They are definitely way more affordable in the long run!

I would say the only thing that is difficult is learning how to use it. Let's look at the best tips for the best shave:

  • Hold the razor loosely and don't apply too much pressure.  The single biggest mistake made by newbies is applying too much pressure! This may hurt or irritate the skin, potentially causing ingrown hairs or nics/bleeding.
  • Prepare yourself. Use a pre-shave cleanser or exfoliant to clear away any grit, excess dead skin, and bacteria.
  • Hold the blade at a 30-degree angle to your skin.
  • Shave with lubrication on the skin. Either shave in the shower (hot steam = comfortable shave), briefly hold the razor under hot water, or wipe your body with a hot towel prior to shaving.
  • Use a shaving brush to create a thick, cushioning lather in your shaving soap. The denser the lather of your soap, the more effective it will be at lubricating and cushioning the razor against the skin. A shaving brush will also gently exfoliate the skin, removing dry cells which will make your skin softer and healthier.
  • Be careful not to repeat the same strokes over an area as this may cause razor burn and skin irritation.

Here is a very short (30 second) video guide of how to construct the safety razor, as well as how to use it:

If you’re still not convinced or want a second opinion, read this woman’s account of how she transferred to using safety razors over disposable ones, HERE.

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Can Plastic Truly Be Recycled?

Can Plastic Truly Be Recycled?

So can plastic truly be recycled?  Let's break it down, plain and simple...

Materials like metal, glass and paper can truly be recycled because they can be remade into the same form without needing any additional materials to do so. A recycled glass container can be continually remade into a glass container, over and over and over again, without ever needing new material and without ever needing to go to the landfill.

Plastic on the other hand, cannot be. The process of recycling plastic weakens it, so new, virgin plastic must be added to it in order to make the same form again. Essentially, plastic can be DOWN-cycled but not truly REcycled. For example, a recycled plastic water bottle can be down-cycled into teddy bear stuffing or a synthetic rug, but not into another water bottle without needing to add new plastic.  And eventually, this down cycled plastic will run it's lifecycle to the end and will end up in the landfill.

So now you can see why recycling is definitely not the answer.  Not much of plastic gets recycled anyways, and that which does, is destined one day to end up in the landfills or waterways.  So what is the answer???  Refusal!  Not using it at all, and instead, finding a truly sustainable alternative that can be reused, recycled or will biodegrade and return to the earth one day. 

And for Hong Kongers looking for glass recycling drop off points, check out this link: 

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How To: Zero-Waste Menstrual Cycle

Here at PFHK, we are so excited that zero-waste periods have increasingly become more and more popular, especially in these last few months.  And how do we know that they have?  Because our menstrual cups and reusable pads have increasingly become more and more in demand!  Hooray!

If you haven't made the leap yet, but are curious to learn more about ways to make your cycle completely waste-free, keep reading and check out Bianca's personal experiences below.  Thanks!

THE MENSTRUAL CUP: This product is perhaps the best invention I have come across in years. It has drastically changed both my life and the lives of some of my closest friends, for the better. I can definitely tell you that as a first-time user, it may take some time getting used to, but everyone is different and I can only speak from my own perspective. I'm not going to beat around the bush and avoid the negatives, but if you stick with me you'll understand why I adore it.

For me, it took about three cycles before I could say I knew what I was doing and was comfortable with it. The first two months I was still using pads because I was inserting the cup incorrectly (now I know the appropriate method). Also, it really hurt to remove the cup because I was attempting to pull it out as a whole cup without accurately squishing it into a smaller and more manageable shape. And similarly to using a tampon for the first time, it can feel awkward, but once you master it, its very easy to use.  

Additionally, I have become much more comfortable with my body and myself.  To be honest, it can be a very bloody experience, since the cup collects blood that you must then dump into a sink, down a drain, or into the toilet bowl, before reinserting for another couple of hours. But, after about seven months of use now, I am having no troubles with it whatsoever; I never wear pads or any other absorbents. Amazingly, the cup lasts longer than any pad or tampon I've used in the past.  The cups (depending on which size you buy) are meant to last between 8-12 hours without needing to be taken out. The one I use has, and will continue to, save me money, and of course reduce my plastic footprint! Here at PFHK, we sell the Lunette Cup.  After lots and lots of research, we feel confident that this is the best one on the market!  Check out our stock HERE.

REUSABLE PADS: Check out this online resource of different plastic-free pads (including ratings). At PFHK, our favorite line is GladRags, because they are 100% plastic-free using only natural materials and their products are comfortable and effective.  We currently have pantyliners, day pads and night pads in stock, which you can check out HERE.

ABSORBENT UNDERWEAR: Check out Thinx. I've never tried these but some of my friends have, and love it! I would recommend you read various reviews of them online, and buy only one pair to start with, if this is an option you think you want to explore.

TAMPONS: See Natracare or Sustain Natural, who, although do not make plastic-free female hygiene products, do make products that are both carcinogen-free and better for you and the environment! Sustain Natural is raved about by the likes of zero waste gurus such as Lauren Singer, from Trash is for Tossers.

Thanks so much for reading and please let us know if you have any questions or suggestions!

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Reusable Coffee Cups: Just Do It

Single-use disposable coffee cups are one of the most wasteful inventions of our time. In any given year, 58 billion paper cups are thrown into landfills by consumers in the U.S. alone! Yes, I said BILLION!  What’s more, 4 billion single-use coffee cups are thrown out by consumers of Starbucks every year! It takes 1 million trees to produce the paper for all those cups, and that’s without consideration of the energy and water needed, as well as the space in landfills to hold these disposable cups. A study done by the International Coffee Organisation (ICO) found that Hong Kong is the 17th largest market for tea, with 1.428 lbs drunk per capita per year. With this scale, we have to do better. Ocean Recovery Alliance “persuaded the Pacific Coffee chain to get on board with reducing plastic waste by launching a lid-return programme... Customers who bring back their coffee cup lids are given a free drink upgrade, while the plastic lids are sent for recycling.” Although a considerable improvement, what would be even better is reducing the number of disposable cups used. That is the goal of the new tax imposed on coffee cups in the U.K. Consumers will now have to pay more for using a disposable cup provided by coffee shops. Maybe something like that should be implemented in Hong Kong... 

But you know, there is a very simple, very easy solution to all of this - bring your own cup! All of our reusable coffee/tea cups here at Plastic-Free HK are sourced from the British reusable coffee cup company, Ecoffee Cup. According to their website, cups are made “with the world’s most sustainable crop – bamboo fibre”, and are BPA and phthalate free. Yay! I love this brand because their values align with mine, and their products are just awesome; you can choose from a variety of colours, sizes, and patterns, and there are even accessories. There is also a William Morris collection… be right back; I’m getting one of these! They do customisation and bespoke design for Universities and companies alike and are currently selling their cups at “1000 independent retail outlets, cafes and restaurants in the UK, Europe, Russia, South Africa and beyond” (including here in Hong Kong at PFHK)

You can see all of our reusable Ecoffee Cups currently in stock by visiting our website, and please feel free to use the below discount code for an extra 10% off our cups until the end of the month, or while supplies last!

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Our Top Ten Ways to Reduce Your Waste for 2018!

To kick off the new year, we thought we'd provide our top ten ways to go plastic-free to those of you who would like to make some lasting changes in 2018.  I can't think of a better New Year's resolution, than to live more sustainably!

1. Sustainable drinking straws (stainless steel, bamboo, glass, paper):  The amount of single use, disposable plastic straws used globally on a daily basis is frightening.  And the impact they have on our environment is equally so. The Plastic Pollution Coalition has estimated that over 500,000,000 plastic straws are used every day in the U.S. alone.  Yes, I said billion. And they find their way into our waterways and oceans and create havoc with the marine life, either by maiming, trapping or killing birds and fish, or ingested and getting into the food chain, which then brings up concerns over our own food safety.  How much are we affected by the plastic ingested by the fish we eat?  

What strikes me the most with disposable straws is that there isn't any real need for them.  We use them because we're used to them.  But wouldn't it be just as easy to use paper straws or bring along our own stainless steel or glass straws?  I think so!  Check out the ones we love HERE!

2. Cloth shopping bags: Single use, disposable plastic bags is another big contender in the plastic pollution debacle.  Think of it this way: they're made from a non-renewable resource (crude oil), and once they're made, they're impossible to get rid of.  So basically it's a huge waste any way you look at it.  And once these bags are made and distributed to stores around the world, the consumer uses them for maybe 20 or 30 minutes to get their goods home, then throws them away.  Why?  I just ask myself why? What's the point?  Why spend so much time and effort to produce such a wasteful product that creates so much pollution throughout it's lifecycle?  Cloth bags are easy to come by, easy to carry, and I believe, much more efficient than it's plastic counterpart.  And more comfortable too!  

3. Bamboo toothbrushes: Yes, every single plastic toothbrush that you have ever used in your lifetime is still sitting somewhere.  These don't biodegrade, and from the research I've done, most recycling programs don't accept them.  

And moreover, since this is another item that is frequently replaced (every 3 months or so) by most people in the world, it's another item that creates horrendous amounts of unnecessary waste.  So here I go again asking myself "Why?".  Why are we all using these wasteful, non-biodegradable items when there is an equally effective product out there that could replace it?  I think for most people it is lack of education.  We just don't know any better.  Well, I can tell you I've been using my Brush With Bamboo toothbrush for quite some time now and it's amazing.  And not only is the handle sustainable, but the bristles are made from 62% castor beans and can be recycled too!  Click on the picture above to see more details.  Happy brushing!

4. Reusable water bottles and coffee cups: #4 follows suit as the previous three.  Throwaway, single use plastic bottles and coffee cups are items used by millions, maybe billions, of people every day, and it's unnecessary.  

It creates harmful waste that doesn't need to occur.  All we need to do as a whole is agree to carry our own reusable drinking vessels (preferably a sustainable option made from renewable, biodegradable materials). And while we're at it, let's find a way to provide clean/free drinking water throughout our cities and towns that everyone has access to.  Water should not be a commodity!  Here at Plastic-Free HK we're big on providing sustainable options to replace the big plastic polluters that we all are privy to and threatened by on a daily basis.  I've done lots of research on good options, and I sing the praises of both Pura Stainless and S'well bottles.  And for coffee, there's nothing more efficient and stylish the our Ecoffee Cups

5. Food storage: Plastics are big in the food storage industry.  Plastic wrap, plastic baggies, plastic containers.  You get the picture.  Eventually these items will break or wear out and you will need to throw them away.  And into the landfill they go.  So we see these items as important ones to find sustainable options for.  Some great alternatives are beeswax wraps instead of plastic wrap and lightweight stainless steel and silicone food containers for storage at home and on-the-go.  You can view all of our food storage items HERE.  Such simple changes that will make lasting impact.  (And FYI, we will be stocking silicone freezer bags sometime this month!)

6. Sustainable soap options: My family is almost completely switched over to bar soap in all of our bathrooms and showers/bathtubs.  My husband and I have been using it for quite some time, but for some reason I fell under the spell of believing my toddler son needed a "special" liquid soap for his bath time and that we needed "special" hand soap for our bathrooms.  There are some marketing geniuses out there, that's for sure!  I was duped for a long time but now realize bar soap works pretty well across the board.  And for our dishwashing liquid, I only buy from companies that use 100% post consumer materials to produce their plastic bottles, which means they're only using plastic that is already in the system.  The two companies I support completely are Ecover & Seventh Generation.  It's so important to consider the source!  Get to know the companies you are giving your dollar to.  It matters!

7. Plastic-free produce: Here in Hong Kong, it's an uphill battle finding produce that is not wrapped in plastic a million times over, but there definitely are options.  The two things that have helped me the most are farmer's markets and wet markets.  

8. Buy fresh meat & cheeses: I found an amazing butcher I love and trust that I can buy fresh meat from.  I either bring my own container for him to put the meat in or he wraps it in paper and off I go!  I've also found the best quality cheese sold right here in Sai Kung where I can buy it without the plastic too.  If I can remember, I bring my beeswax wraps and he uses this for transport.  If not he has paper as well. Again, a bit more planning and effort goes into purchasing these items, but the benefits for our environment far outweighs what it costs me.  I buy as much as I can from the farmer's markets because this produce is mostly local and very often organic.  And for everything else I try to pick up at the wet markets around town.  It does take a bit of concerted effort, but to me it's worth it and makes me feel like I've achieved a small miracle when I come home with produce that is free of plastic wrap or plastic containers.

I've also recently started ordering weekly produce from Eat Fresh and am hooked.  Local, organic produce that gets delivered straight to my door without any plastic packaging.  Check them out!

9. Drink more water: A lot of plastic waste comes from beverages: juices, sodas, etc.  At home we use a Big Berkey gravity water filter, which is long lasting and sustainable, making it a very good investment.  (And can I just say, I'm so in love with this water filter!  Highly recommended!)  I fill my water bottle up before I leave the house and have yummy teas throughout the day as well.  When we want juice for our son or guests, we either buy it in a glass jar or make it fresh.  For awhile I got into buying apple juice for our family, but every time we emptied it I felt a little sad that I was putting more plastic into the system, so I stopped and found other sustainable options that I felt good about.

10. Refuse!: This is one of the greatest lessons I've learned this past year as I educate myself about plastic pollution: refuse the things we don't need or will only use once. Just say NO!


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Zero-Waste Oil Cleansing

Zero-Waste Oil Cleansing
Have you ever heard of oil cleansing?  I discovered it this year and I will never wash my face with anything else ever again!  Not only is it cleansing for all skin types, but also moisturizing, simple, effective, efficient and of course zero-waste!  I can't flaw it really. Continue reading

Zero Waste Hummus!

Zero Waste Hummus!


Going to the grocery store can be overwhelming when you're trying to live a less wasteful life, especially when you live here in Hong Kong.  So I've decided to take it one plastic packaged grocery item at a time, and try to find a more sustainable option.

First challenge: HUMMUS!  My love for hummus is real!  But of course most come in plastic tubs.  And you all know where these end up.  So after I found the absolute best recipe on Inspired Taste, I looked through my local grocery store and found all the ingredients I needed in glass/metal jars.  

The salt, chickpeas (garbanzo beans) and tahini all come in glass and metal, I buy our olive oil in a bulk metal tin from Olive Tree HK and of course the lemon and garlic come loose.  If you'd like to add cumin I'm sure you can also find this with a metal cap, but this is just the one we had on hand at home.

Once you have all of the ingredients gathered, it doesn't take long to make at all.  A smooth creamy crowd please, for sure!  And no plastic waste.


1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas or 1 1/2 cups (250 grams) cooked chickpeas

1/4 cup (60 ml) fresh lemon juice (1 large lemon)

1/4 cup (60 ml) well-stirred tahini

1 small garlic clove, minced

2 tablespoons (30 ml) extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

Salt to taste

2 to 3 tablespoons (30 to 45 ml) water

Dash ground paprika, for serving



In the bowl of a food processor, combine the tahini and lemon juice and process for 1 minute, scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl then process for 30 seconds more. This extra time helps “whip” or “cream” the tahini, making the hummus smooth and creamy.

Add the olive oil, minced garlic, cumin, and a 1/2 teaspoon of salt to the whipped tahini and lemon juice. Process for 30 seconds, scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl then process another 30 seconds or until well blended.

Open, drain, and rinse the chickpeas. Add half of the chickpeas to the food processor and process for 1 minute. Scrape sides and bottom of the bowl, then add remaining chickpeas and process until thick and quite smooth; 1 to 2 minutes.

Taste for salt and adjust as needed. Serve hummus with a drizzle of olive oil and dash of paprika. Store homemade hummus in an airtight container and refrigerate up to one week.

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