On the hunt for eco-friendly Christmas presents? Get comfy, put your feet up and window shop from home this year with our gift guide full of wonderful gifts for everyone.
– 2 1/2 cups of dry roasted almonds
– 300g dark chocolate buttons
– A pinch of salt
– Put the chocolate buttons in a heatproof bowl (glass) over a small pot of boiling water. Once the chocolate has melted, add in the almonds and stir until completely covered.
– line a baking tray with baking paper (reusable of course 😉 ). Spoon the chocolate and nut mixture into the tray and smooth out until it is an even thickness.
– Let it cool at room temperature or in the refrigerator until the chocolate has set. Sprinkle with salt and serve!
So delicious and easy! Great for gifts or just a cheeky snack for yourself.
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.
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 by Annie Spratt on Unsplash
Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash
Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash
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!
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, Nordic crackers, 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]
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)]
[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]
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]
[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 by Best Recipe Team
The winning recipe from this years Wasteless Pantry Bake Off….
Old-fashioned Christmas Cake
150g pitted dates (chopped)
100g glace cherries (chopped)
75g dried cranberries
75g dried pineapple
50g mixed peel
2 tsp finely grated orange rind
250g softened butter
200g brown sugar
300g plain flour
2 tsp mixed spice
* Blanched almonds & cherries to decorate
* 2 tbsp brandy to drizzle
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
The Lost Art of Not Giving Crap Presents
Do your Christmases and birthdays revolve around getting and giving plastic, over packaged trinkets and novelty gifts that are enjoyed for less than one hour and then become awkwardly pushed aside, dust collecting reminders of rushed decision making and consumerist manipulation?
Or maybe you’ve been regifted one of these little treasures?
I ask these questions not in judgement, but in awe of how easy it is to get caught up in the hype of the festive season and leave all reason behind. As much as I love waste less living, reducing waste, talking rubbish and being thrifty and creative, this time of year I feel the pull of buying stuff. Who doesn’t love showing how much they care by doing nice things for others? The thing is, doing nice things for others is not the same as buying something, just to give something. Thinking through the life of the purchase requires a little more in-depth enquiry.
Will this person find this novelty gift funny for years to come? Yes, great get it! No, then maybe just recap what you saw the next time you catch up.
Will this person have space for this gift in their home long term? Yes, fantastic! No, then is there something else consumable that might be more appreciated?
I get that picking out the right gift for someone is hard! But I also wonder if sometimes we forget to ask, does this person even want a gift from me? Would they rather my company, a hand with something or just a smile?
So I titled this blog post “Practical Gift Giving Guide” and whilst I think the most practical gift is often nothing at all, here are some other ideas that might relieve the need to give something good:
- Handmade tea blends: How about pulling together your own blend of herbs and petals that would be most soothing for the person in mind? Think a combination of lemongrass, peppermint, hibiscus, ginger & cinnamon for an uplifting blend or chamomile, lavender, rose petal, rosemary for a fragrant calming blend.
- Fragrant bath bags: Much like an oversized tea bag for your bath. Again, choose your own blend of loose herbal teas plus some Epsom salts and bicarb to relieve tension and soften skin. Pop it all into a little refillable bag (like our soap nut bags) and you are good to go again and again.
- Homemade soaps: Palm oil free soaps can be hard to come by, so stocking up for a friend who cares about this topic may be just the treat they were after.
- Individual chocolate bars and rocky road: If you popped into Wasteless Pantry last week you would have had the opportunity to try out Christmas Bark (white chocolate topped with cranberries and pistachios). It took me less than 15 minutes to make, was delicious and the combinations are endless! Just melt chocolate buttons or bits of your choice and top with your friend’s favourite flavours. Maybe they love dark chocolate topped with pepitas, hemp seeds, goji berries and slivered almonds; or perhaps white chocolate topped with trail mix and chia seeds? Delicious!
- Reusable items: If you have a friend that is preparing for next years Plastic Free July or saw the War on Waste and wants to get themselves equip to waste less, how about supporting them. Think BYO coffee cups, reusable shopping bags in pretty designs, produce bags, reusable baking liners, metal straws or stainless steel drink bottles. It can be a bit of an investment to get yourself kitted out to start with so this type of thing is greatly appreciated.
- Recipe jars: For that friend who loves the idea of cooking from scratch but finds it tedious to gather the ingredients, show your love by doing it for them (or get us to, we won’t tell on you!) and popping a recipe on the back of the container to make cooking a breeze.
Just a sample of ideas to get you started and you can always pop into Wasteless Pantry to have a chat if you have a very tricky friend to find something for.
You never know what inspiration you might find.
Eco Christmas – Green Christmas – Earth Friendly Celebrating – Zero Waste Gifts
Do those words strike fear? Do they conjure ideas of deprivation and judgement? Do they sound like an impossible ideal?
We are here to inspire you and encourage a little less waste, without compromising the joy and jubilation of the season.
We’ve already been hinting at giving less but more thoughtful gifts. What other ideas are there?
Most of these ideas are nothing new. It’s just about remembering how nice it used to be to enjoy quality rather than focussing on the quantity.
12 Ideas for a Zero Waste Christmas
- Give up buying gift wrap – there are so many more beautiful ways to present your presents. What about making reusable gift bags? Not a seamstress? Then how about using a op shop pillow case with a ribbon to close. Or look into furoshiki and simply use a square piece of beautiful scrap fabric that can be reused and repurposed endlessly. If you have kids, then use one of their many paintings or drawings 🙂
- Reuse last years Christmas cards as gift tags or to craft your own new design of Christmas cards. Instead of buying more this year, how about sending a e-card. There are many very funny and cute ones out there that will be great to enjoy as the receiver without then having something to throw away.
- Consider what reusables you have available to avoid disposable items. Such as cloth serviettes, stainless steel straws, glass bottles for water, metal cutlery and plates. If you are worried about the clean up after then set up a washing station where everyone can take care of their own mess. Most people would love to be involved and help out, so let them!
- If you are giving gifts then consider a secret santa/kris kringle. Everyone gets a name or gender to buy for with a price range. You only have one gift to give and you get one in return and you will be able to afford better quality gifts. It is easy and far less stressful.
- Consider giving gift vouchers for your time rather than for a product or store. Time is the most precious commodity these days. Your friends and family will surely love to know that they will get to do something lovely with you throughout the year.
- Keep an eye on your portion sizes and only cater as much as a person will reasonably eat. We all the know the parties where there was so much food that the host was still eating the same meals a week later. To guide you, think about what a person can fit on a plate. If you have so much of everything that there would be more plates filled than people to eat them, scale back. Everyone will thank you as many eat out of guilt of the effort you have gone to that has been left untouched.
- Make something. If you are artistic, create something. If you are crafty, fashion something. If you are a cook, bake something. If you are uninspired, check out pinterest or grab a Gift Jar from us 😛
- Reuse last years Christmas decorations or get out into the natural world for inspiration and supplies. There are beautiful things that can be done with nuts, vines, popcorn strings, cinnamon sticks, branches, fabric, a bit a glitter and some glue.
- Suggest your guests bring a resealable container and divvy out any leftovers. This can be your gift to them and their gift to you.
- When sourcing produce for your deliciously planned menu, think about what is in season and locally available. We are very lucky to have a wealth of fresh foods harvested locally – think mulberries, stone fruits, berries, cherries (check out www.ripenear.me) as well as local seafood & meats.
- Get to know your local wineries, breweries & distilleries for locally produced celebratory drinks! If you ask nicely you may be able to take back your bottles after, or even fill up a reusable growler of beer to take home.
- How about doing your bit for local charity shops (and those less fortunate as well) by stocking them with all your goodies that go unused? I’m sure that everyone has at least one or two items in their home that are in good quality but never see the light of day. Op shops love your items and so will those that frequent them. If your kids are into Santa and not yet ready to part with their toys for goodwill purposes, then tell them that Santa doesn’t bring presents if he thinks you have too much stuff.
- Just because we love to exceed your expectations – here is a bonus idea! Give the gift of an experience rather than another thing that will need to be cleaned up and cared for. Vouchers or a promise to go hot air ballooning, tickets to the local pool, the zoo, the movies or a trip to the beach are all gifts that will be appreciated for more than one day of the year!
What other ideas do you have up your sleeve? Share them below and have a very happy festive season!!
With Christmas fast approaching we are readying ourselves for the gift giving season.
We know that you have so much love to share, so many great intentions to show just how grateful you are for all the wonderful people in your lives. We also know that giving a thing doesn’t always match up with your eco values but maybe you don’t necessarily want to turn up empty handed.
And so the Gift Jar was born!
We have a range of jars available for order at the store but since we are more about sharing the zero waste love than we are about profiting from the commercialism and consumerism of Christmas, below is your own printable version of the gift jar labels that we are using in store this Christmas.
So, if you want to make them on your own you now have what you need!
And if you don’t have the time or just like the idea of us making them up for you, give us a call, an email or visit us to order at least 3 days in advance (up to 7 days as we get closer to Christmas).
If you are keen on doing gift jars for Christmas or other occasions (you can reuse what you have to refuse waste!) then check out these ideas we have in store…
2 cup Epsom Salts
3 tbsp. Bicarb
1 tsp Vanilla Essence
Jar + Ingredients = $8
Contains 1 cup plain flour, ½ tsp baking powder, 1/4tsp salt, 1 ½ cup sugar, ¼ cup cocoa & ½ cup macadamias
½ cup melted butter
½ tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 170C. Pour jar contents into bowl & add wet ingredients. Stir until well combined. Pour into greased 20 x 20cm pan and bake for 35 mins. Cool before slicing.
Jar + ingredients = $11
Contains 1/3 cup plain flour, ¼ tsp baking powder, ¼ tsp bicarb, 1/3 cup brown sugar, ¼ cup white sugar, 1/3 cup oats, 1/3 cup milk choc chips & 1/3 white choc chips
3 ½ tbsp. melted butter
½ tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 180C. Pour jar contents into bowl and add wet ingredients. Stir until well combined. Grease baking tray and place spoonfuls of mixture onto tray. Bake 12-14 mins.
Jar + ingredients = $6
1 1/3 cup plain flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp bicarb, ¼ tsp salt, 1 cup rolled oats, ¾ cup smarties, ½ cup brown sugar & ½ cup white sugar
½ cup softened butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 180C. Beat together wet ingredients in bowl until light and fluffy. Add jar contents & mix well. Grease baking tray and place spoonful’s of mixture onto tray. Bake 10 mins.
Jar + ingredients = $9