Win the War on Waste This Christmas

What if this Christmas you could help reduce waste?

Wasteless Pantry was recognised by the Waste Authority of WA as Waste Champions for 2017 and Highly Commended as Waste Team of the Year in 2018, but we think we know a fair few champions ourselves.  Our community is full of great people showing the way for their families and friends in how to live a low waste lifestyle.  There is no better time of the year to lead others to this path than at Christmas when so many increase their already wasteful ways.

Every year millions of unwanted gifts are excessively packaged and wrapped, appreciated for only a moment before they are stored away unused, thrown away, regifted or sold.  Kerbside bins are overflowing with polystyrene, wrapping, packaging, wasted food and plastic bags from buying all this stuff in the first place.  It’s hardly a picture of love and peace toward all mankind.  All that rubbish will end up on someone’s doorstep or in the fish on someone’s plate!

Instead of getting wasted, let’s prepare ourselves for our most enjoyable and sustainable year yet.

Planning

The key to zero waste living, low waste lifestyles, or just taking a little more care about the waste we create is all in the planning.

Think ahead about the type of Christmas you want to have.  Is it important to you to have family traditions?  Spending time with loved ones? Being generous? Feeling relaxed and restful? Having lots of celebrations and fun? Eating great food?  Whatever the inspiration, remembering the overall big picture values you want to strive for will help you decide just how important that $2 plastic toy really is at this time of year.

When you are planning meals, plan to the plate, not to your stomach’s desires.  If you are anything like me then if there is a buffet style meal on offer you want to try a bit of everything!  With this in mind, cater for what will fit on a plate and no more.  If your guest has to have seconds just to try everything on offer there is a good chance you will have lots of leftovers to deal with.  Also, save yourself some effort and turn Christmas lunch leftovers into an easy Christmas dinner.  You don’t have to serve up a repeat of lunch, with minimal creativity you can still offer something that will be delicious using what is already at hand.

Share the load with preparing food and also with distributing out the leftovers.  Make sure everyone brings a sizable container for any leftovers and then you’ve given the gift of a Boxing Day that doesn’t require any cooking 🙂

Serve your favourite Christmas dishes in containers that are beautiful on display and also have lids for putting away any leftovers straight after the meal.  If it doesn’t make it to the fridge quickly and easily, there is a good chance it will get thrown out.  Plus no-one likes dodgy food or having to tackle the clingwrap.

Get your bins ready.  Whilst I would love to hear that you didn’t need a bin at all during the festive season, the reality is that most will.  So with that in mind, make sure your bins are clearly marked for recycling, composting, or even reusing (kids love boxes!).  Know your recycling facilities available too so that you can save as much as possible from landfill.

More ideas to come on this topic….

How are you getting ready for low waste celebrations?

 

Photo Credits:
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash
Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash
Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

Super Easy & Zero Waste Entertaining

The celebrations of the Christmas and New Year period are all about good food shared with good people.  I’m most fond of meals that are made ahead so I get more time to chat and connect; with less time hanging out in the kitchen on my own.

So here is a tried and true meal plan for anytime you need to whip together a feast!

Starters

Dukkah, olive oil and chunks of crusty bread

[Zero waste tip – BYO containers to Wasteless Pantry for the dukkah and oil as well as taking your bread bag to the bakery for your bread (or make your own)]

Soya crisps, bhuja mix, corn chips and smashed avocado with a little lemon juice, rice cracker salad or mixed nuts

[Zero waste tip – BYO containers to Wasteless Pantry for the snacks and use a reusable produce bag for the avocado.  Serve all the snacks in wide-mouthed upcycled jars so you just put the lid back on if they don’t get finished and nothing will go stale]

Main

Brown rice salad – super easy to make in about 20 minutes and if you have extra it is great for lunches the next couple of days.  Soak rice overnight if you want to speed up the cooking time.

[Zero waste tip – BYO containers for rice, seeds, currants, oil and soy sauce.  Feel free to substitute what you have e.g. red onion for shallots, any colour capsicum, sultanas for currants, dried garlic for fresh (just halve the quantity suggested)]

Roasted vegetables

[Zero waste tip – roast up any vegetables that you have handy, even if they are a bit limp, or shop with reusable produce bags.  You don’t need to peel potato, sweet potato, carrots or mushrooms, just pop them straight onto the tray.  Try reusable baking liners or oil up your tray instead of using the disposable sheets]

Roasted meat or chicken wings

[Zero waste tip – Pick smaller cuts of meat as these will take less time to cook (and less power to run your oven) and encourage your guests to eat more vegetables since it’s healthier for everyone anyhow.  Take your own container to your butcher to avoid the plastic bag and meat tray]

Dessert

Christmas Cake – it is super easy to make this cake that lasts up to 3 months so you will always have something on hand for unexpected visitors!

Fruit platter or grilled stone fruit sprinkled with cinnamon sugar

[Zero waste tip – eat what is in season, since there is so much local variety this time of the year anyhow! Whatever doesn’t get finished can be made into a fruit salad or smoothies for another day. In my opinion cinnamon sugar goes with everything so BYO container for this from Wasteless Pantry]

Bliss balls

[Zero waste tip – these can be made ahead and frozen in small batches so that you can whip them out as needed.  Also feel free to get creative with the ingredients by swapping in what you love and have on hand – maybe you prefer macadamia nuts or sunflower seeds, or dried apricots, or try adding in maple syrup if you like it sweeter and rolling in coconut or dip in chocolate for a more decadent treat.  The main thing is to use up what you have rather than having bits and bobs going stale in your pantry]

So there you have it, simple and delicious!

Customise to appetites and guests as needed.

 

Photo credits

Photo by Kate Remmer on Unsplash

Photo by Best Recipe Team

Photo by Monika Grabkowska on Unsplash

Photo by +Simple on Unsplash


Zero Waste Christmas Cake

The winning recipe from this years Wasteless Pantry Bake Off….

Old-fashioned Christmas Cake

Ingredients:

510g          sultanas

265g          raisins

155g          currants

150g          pitted dates (chopped)

100g          glace cherries (chopped)

75g   dried cranberries

75g   dried pineapple

50g   mixed peel

185ml brandy

2 tsp          finely grated orange rind

250g          softened butter

200g brown sugar

4       eggs

300g          plain flour

2 tsp mixed spice

 

* Blanched almonds & cherries to decorate

* 2 tbsp brandy to drizzle

 

Method:

Combine fruit and brandy in large bowl, cover with a lid and set aside for 2 days to macerate.

Grease a 22cm cake pan and line base with a reusable tray liner or grease a spring form cake pan.

Beat butter & sugar until creamy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well until combined. Stir butter & fruit mixtures together. Add flour & mixed spice. Spoon into pan and tap lightly on benchtop to release any air bubbles, arrange almonds and cherries on top.

Bake at 150C covered with a bigger cake tin for 2 hours 30 mins to 3 hours. Drizzle hot cake with extra brandy. Cool thoroughly before turning out.

[Store in an airtight dark container for up to 3 months].

Recipe is adapted from http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/2102/christmas+cake