Holiday celebrations like Easter can be filled with excess – too much packaging, too much food, and novelty items that don’t last long before ending up in a bin.
Celebrating can be done waste free with minimal effort!
Foil packaging, cardboard boxes, and plastic Easter egg packaging all look pretty. However, they waste valuable resources, often end up in landfill, or contaminate our recycling; and that is not pretty at all.
Instead opt for package free Easter Eggs, like the ones we have at Wasteless Pantry. As an added bonus they are locally sourced, palm-oil free, and absolutely delicious! Or go chocolate-free with one of our refillable wooden Easter Eggs. They can be filled with other treats or money, year after year. Plus they can be decorated by the giver or the gift receiver for a personal touch.
You can easily make your own ‘packaging’ with repurposed glass jars, felt egg gift bags, cloth bunny bags, or even decorated paper bags. There are so many ideas to give it a try.
When thinking about entertaining this Easter, buy your food package free and planning your portion sizes to minimize food waste. Think about how ‘leftover friendly’ your meals are to really get the most out of your food budget this Easter.
Often the best parts of celebrations are the traditions. This is a great year to make hot cross buns together! It takes just a little while, especially if you pick up a bag of hot cross bun mix from your local Wasteless Pantry. Just enough time to have a chat before you pull them out of the oven warm and mouth-watering to enjoy together over a cup of tea.
I live in the Perth Hills and have done so for well over 20 years. Bushfire preparedness has always been something that we were supposed to get to. Every year we maintain the fire breaks and clean out the gutters and up until a several years ago, that was pretty much it. When the Parkerville fires came through 7 or so years ago we evacuated for a day or two with our small children and pets and that was about it. It wasn’t even that close to our home but we could see the smoke and didn’t want to risk it.
Just 2 weeks ago the Wooroloo fires came through on the other side of us and we could see the glow through the trees that first night. With the wind whipping around, we packed up again and headed out.
We were very lucky. Many were not.
Bushfires have always been a reality but they are becoming more frequent and more intense with climate change. Fortunately, we watched Big Weather on ABC iview late last year and that really gave us the motivation to get our preparations in order. We now have an emergency pack with all the essentials and the really important bits that lives permanently packed in a central location in our home. If we were home, it would take us only a minute to grab and go. If we weren’t home, it would be easy for our neighbour to grab it for us.
We also have a written plan and have discussed when to go and where to go if bushfire comes through. Our kids know what we will take and what we will leave behind should we need to evacuate.
We are continuing to do what we can about reducing the fuel load in our gardens, and make it as easy as possible for our home to be defended against fire.
Given how close the fires came to the suburbs this year, it doesn’t matter where you live, it is worth knowing your plan. It is quick to do and then you have peace of mind when a crisis occurs. Check out for https://mybushfireplan.wa.gov.au/ more details.
Whilst we have to prepare for the likelihood of ongoing fire threats, we can also be doing whatever we can to tackle climate change. There are actions we can take that can slow down and start to reverse the trends.
For starters, reduce your waste.
The less waste we create that has to be landfilled, converted to energy or recycled, the less burden there is on the earth. The less stuff that has to be produced new the better. Instead, go secondhand, borrow, share, repair and look for better alternatives. Use up your stuff or find someone else who will give it a meaningful use. Eat all your food or feed it to the chickens or worms. Avoid your bins wherever you can.
Then help rehabilitate through things like tree planting and clean-ups.
During February 2021, Wasteless Pantry is helping to do that by fundraising for Carbon Positive Australia’s good works! Carbon Positive Australia uses the funds raised through donations and carbon offsets to plant native trees on degraded land in Australia. Over almost two decades they have planted 5,992,261 trees, restored 4,757 hectares of land and captured 632,681 tonnes of carbon. Impressive huh?!
The recent bushfires have reinforced just how important it is for us to do what we can to slow down and even reverse climate change. More trees and less waste will help!
So this February help us with our fundraising! All you need to do is make a purchase over $25 at your local WP store during February to qualify for a $1 donation. So, come refill your jars and do even more good.
The last big lesson for me was the amazing support from our community. There were so many offers of help and others just reaching out to make sure we were okay. In speaking with others that were affected, the overwhelming message was that in times like these people do band together and make it work. They lean on each other and offer what they can.
Please get to know your neighbours, be empathetic when someone is having a bad day, and just smile at people when you are walking by. These little gestures cost nothing but mean the world some days.
Community member Deb sent through this pic of her kids new favourite thing made from WP ingredients!
Mix together 2 cups plain flour, 4 tbsp cream of tartar, 1 cup salt, 2 cups water, 2 tbsp oil and 2 tsp of either turmeric/beetroot powder/cocoa powder/spinach powder in a saucepan (adjust colouring to your preferences).
Stir over medium heat for 3-5 mins or until it thickens adequately.
It’s a New Year and another opportunity to get cracking on reducing your waste. I love the enthusiasm that is generated from the calendar ticking over to January 1st, and all the new habits and resolutions that are inspired!
Step 1: Bin Audit
Starting with some ideas about what goes into your bin is the best first step. So as gross as it sounds, you are going to need to pay attention to what is going into your bin. If it’s a shared bin then it gets trickier and so picking a not too hot day/week to pull it all out on a tarp or the lawn is a confronting and informative way to find out exactly what has been hiding in there.
Group all the bits and bobs into as many categories as is useful to you:
Landfill – stuff that has no other place to go like disposable nappies and random little bits of plastic.
Compostable – think food waste, tissues, paper towels, hair from your hairbrush and dust out of the vacuum.
Recyclable – all the things that go in your yellow top bin.
Specialist recyclable – things like batteries, ink cartridges, toothbrushes, globes, spectacles, razors, mobile phones, e-waste and paint.
Step 2: Collection Bins
Now that you have figured out what you are dealing with, it’s time to make sure that you have all your collection bins sorted. Maybe you have only had a landfill bin in the house and so that is where everything has been going. Or maybe you figured out that you don’t actually know what goes in your yellow top recycling bin. Perhaps, your compost bin wasn’t cutting it as it was too big or too small and so nobody wanted to use it. Whatever you learnt, what is your solution?
In our house, we have a landfill bin, compost bucket and recycling bin in the Kitchen, Bathroom and Study/Office. We have a little battery collection bin in the draw with the new batteries. I pop bread tags, ink cartridges, used pens and toothbrushes into the shopping bag I take to Wasteless Pantry so that I can remember to drop them off each week. I put globes in my car for dropping off at the Sports Centre I go to. We have a box in the shed to collect any e-waste as that only gets dropped off about once a year.
Think about putting all the information about what goes in each Collection Bin on it so that everyone can make good choices. And make sure to let the whole household know where they all are!
Step 3: Use What You Have
At this point, you might be rearing to go get all the cool zero waste gear so that you can tick the box of feeling wasteless. Hold your horses!
We would love you to instead use up all the products and food you have first before you think about getting anything new. With the exception of expired products and food which needs to be disposed of, it is usually best to just swap things out as you finish them up. Good reasons for this are that:
More gradual change is usually easier to keep up long term
So instead of going out and getting new containers, reuse jars and takeaway containers. Instead of getting shampoo bars, use up the last of all your shampoo samples and leftovers first. Instead of buying a fancy BYO coffee cup, take one from home. And yes, we want you to use up all the food in packets in your pantry, fridge and freezer too.
Anything that has passed it’s used by date could be a risk to your safety, but anything past it’s best before you can use your common sense as most likely it is just not quite as flavoursome and delicious as it was before.
Step 4: Gently Make a Change
Find one thing at a time to change.
Pick one area you’d like to wasteless and just start there.
When that is easy and hard for you not to do, then do the next thing.
Preheat oven to 180C. Line a 16cm x 26cm tray with a reusable baking sheet Put all the ingredients into a large bowl and mix until well combined. Spoon mixture into the lined baking tray and spread evenly. Bake for 30 mins. Cover over the top of the brownies with a plate or another baking tray then bake for another 10 mins. Let cool on a wire rack.
Last week, Jeannie was given the opportunity to tour Foodbank for a behind-the-scenes peek at the amazing facilities and the team hard at work. She even got to enjoy a lunch prepared in the kitchens from rescued food.
Most of us know that we have a big problem with food waste in Australia. But did you know that over 300,000 people in WA live below the poverty line and struggle to access regular nutritious food? And thanks to Covid19, many people are now experiencing food insecurity for the first time.
Foodbank is an organisation that tackles both these issues, rescuing food that would otherwise go to waste, often on a huge scale and turning it into delicious, nutritious meals for those who need it most. And on top of all that, they now package the meals in compostable packaging!!
In the 25 years since its inception, the organisation has saved 50 million kilograms of food from landfill and provided 100 million meals.