Practical Gift Giving Guide

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?

Does this item fit with who this person would like to be?  Yes, fantastic! No, show your support by not making them agonise over wanting to be grateful vs. becoming the person they want to be.

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.

Photo credits:

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Photo by Lesly Juarez on Unsplash

Photo by Yoori Koo on Unsplash

The 12 Wasteless Days of Christmas

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 

  1. 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 🙂
  2. 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.
  3. 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!
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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 😛
  8. 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.
  9. Suggest your guests bring a resealable container and divvy out any leftovers.  This can be your gift to them and their gift to you.
  10. 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 as well as local seafood & meats.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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!!

Wasteless Pantry Bassendean News: 11 October 2018

A huge welcome to our first newsletter from Wasteless Pantry Bassendean! It’s been a hectic couple of months as we’ve been setting up the store, ordering in all our goodies and getting everything running smoothly!
If you haven’t visited the store yet, or still have some questions, then come down on Saturday October 20th for the Bassendean Spring Mini Market – we will have an information and tastings table set up and a talk/tour through the store at 11am and 1pm.

What’s been happening at Wasteless Pantry Bassendean this month:

  • We opened our doors for the first time on September 12th and have had lots of customers coming in to check out our products and how it works when you bring in your own containers.
  • Still not sure how the bring-your-own containers works? Check out this video.
  • Did you know that it is Buy Nothing New month? If you are keen to challenge yourself, check out
  • If you have already been to our Mundaring store then you will be familiar with most of the products in our Bassendean store, although we will have a wider range at Bassendean. A product list can be found here: Recent additions to our product range include linseed meal, Australian dried peaches, atta flour, gluten flour, potato starch, and dried shiitake mushrooms.
  • Thinking about Christmas cakes already? We’ve got you covered with glace apricots, glace pineapple, glace cherries, mixed peel, mixed fruit, along with all the regular dried fruit.
  • Did you know that we can do your shopping for you? Just drop off your containers or shopping list and we can fill them up while you do the rest of your shopping or relax at a café!

What’s next:

  • We will continue to expand our range over the next couple of months, if you have any requests please come in store and write them up on our wishlist!

Know someone who’d like to be kept up to date with what’s happening in-store? Anyone can sign up to the newsletter here or like our Facebook page to be kept up-to-date with the latest news.

Wasteless Pantry News: 5th Oct 2018

Did you hear that Wasteless Pantry opened in Bassendean on the 13th September and Greenwood is on track to open 15th October?

Both stores have the same feel as Mundaring, just with a bit more room to move and a couple extra bits to try out. If you want to keep tabs on what's happening at these stores and you're on Facebook check out: Each store has it's own newsletter list and loyalty program so if you have loyalty points in Mundaring but are now going to be a regular at another location, you will need to pop into Mundaring to redeem those points. But there is no rush, they will be here waiting for you 🙂

What's been happening in Mundaring:

  • Jeannie had a blast talking with our local crowd hosted by Shire of Mundaring!
  • We were very fortunate to be able to attend the Waste & Recycling 2018 Conference in Perth.  It was a great chance to learn more about waste avoidance strategies, circular economy initiatives, container deposit schemes and so much more!!  Going along to these events reminds us again, just how important it is to be doing the work we do and taking the actions we can.
  • We started stocking Atta flour for making Indian bread, Chipotle Chilli Powder, Harissa, Mexican Chilli Seasoning, Chicken Salt, Vegetable Salt, Pizza Seasoning, Garlic Granules, Australian Billy Tea Leaves and Organic Lemon Myrtle Tea Leaves.
  • We finally got Ethique shampoo bars back in stock! It seems that their latest round of promotion was a little too successful 😛
  • I got to go out and chat with a new round of Earth Carer graduates which was wonderful! It is so encouraging to see so many interested in becoming more sustainable!
  • Did you know that it is Buy Nothing New month?  If you are keen to challenge yourself, check out
  • We added a bunch of long-time wish list items to our range too… Potato starch, lupin flour, honey cashews, gluten flour (not to be confused with gluten free flour!!), dried mushrooms, bran sticks, agar-agar, organic muesli and aluminium tins/canisters for your beauty refills.

What's next?

  • We are looking at stocking a new 1kg honey jar, because we just love our honey!
  • Also researching our options for spinach powder, teff flour and yoghurt apricots.
  • Given that Christmas is upon us again, we will be getting glace green cherries and glace pineapples in soon as well as keeping up supplies of mixed fruit and mixed peel for your Christmas cakes.

Changing the world one pantry at a time,

Amanda & Jeannie

Photo credit: Photo by MILKOVÍ on Unsplash

Wasteless Pantry Mundaring News: 13th Aug 2018

Full steam ahead!!

We’ve been working behind the scenes getting everything ready for the new locations as well as spreading the waste reduction message via so many talks.

What’s been happening in Mundaring store?

  • We’ve had soup mix and blue boiling peas for winter but will faze these out as we get closer to summer
  • Cinnamon almonds disappeared as our supplier no longer has stocks of these, and instead, we have smoked almonds which are quite delicious!
  • We found out that Himalayan Pink Salt is not sustainable and so we started stocking Australian Pink Lake Salt which has the same nutritional profile, however, IS ethically and sustainably sourced
  • Our honey guy is out of Eucalyptus but has given us a beautiful Red Gum & Eucalyptus blend to try.  We’re just about finished up his Jarrah Honey stocks too!
  • Have you read Erin Rhodes (aka Rogue Ginger) new book “Waste Not”?  It’s a great read and we are now stocking it
  • We are discounting a few spices that haven’t been so popular and bringing in pizza seasoning, chicken salt, vegetable salt, chipotle powder, garlic granules and harissa for you to add to your dishes
  • If you are into bee pollen, we have some – locally and zero waste sourced 🙂

Coming soon:

  • We are working on getting WA grown quinoa!
  • Organic muesli has been tracked down and shall be ordered soon with any luck
  • If you aren’t a fan of coffee pods or our aluminium espresso makers, we have stainless steel espresso makers coming soon


Photo credit:

Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

Wasteless Pantry Big News!

Woo hoo!!

We said that we have some exciting news coming and here it is…

We will be opening a new store in Bassendean and another new store in Greenwood in September!!

We have been working hard on this since last year, trying to be patient to find exactly the right opportunities that will best serve our community.  You know that we really care about making waste reduction as easy and convenient for everyone as possible; that can take some time to set up just right.  We have managed to find just the right people to run these stores as well as just the right locations so that these new communities can get all their shopping done as waste-free as possible all in one stop (just like what we have in Mundaring). 

It is important to us that this type of shopping becomes mainstream, not a funny little thing to do only if you are super eco-conscious, cashed up and time rich.  We want everyone to have the opportunity to access this resource for reducing food waste, plastic packaging waste and disposable items.

We hope that you will continue to support us and spread the message to your friends in other areas that waste less living is achievable in small steps and enjoyable on the journey.

Wasteless Pantry Mundaring News: 25th June 2018

Isn’t this winter weather glorious!  Perfect for soups, stews, casseroles, porridge and tea!!

  • We got a chance to show our support for the Plastic Bag Ban when Environment Minister Stephen Dawson visited the store earlier this month and as part of a series of talks for City of Canning and Switch Your Thinking throughout the Perth metro area
  • Plus we also got a chance to support the community to reduce food waste by spreading the message via more Creating a Wasteless Pantry talks and speaking live on Channel 9 News
  • We were very lucky to be invited to the launch of the Plastic Free July Foundation!  This initiative started by the Western Metropolitan Regional Council is now it’s own entity, enabling it to have even more reach into the future.  If you haven’t registered already, please do via 
  • It was wonderful working with the Pre-primary to Year 6 students at Mundaring Primary School recently discussing the plastic pollution problem and solutions – beautiful posters from the Year 1’s are now on display at our store 🙂
  • We got to host a new round of Earth Carers who wanted to see how waste-free shopping can be done simply and easily
  • Boomerang Bags Mundaring gave us a great new display for collecting materials and offering make at home kits
  • We said Farewell to our team member, Emily, who has gone off to advance her Occupational Therapy career.  She is missed x

New items at the store:

  • U-konserve medium containers – stainless steel bottom and leakproof silicone lid handy for snacks
  • Mini curvy menstrual pads for lighter days
  • Bamboo straw sets for those that aren’t keen on stainless steel but want a reusable straw
  • Diced paw paw for easier make your own porridge and muesli mixes
  • Freekeh for salads, warm breakfasts, and as a variation on any whole grain recipe (like anything with quinoa)
  • Rice bran and apple flakes as another gluten-free breakfast option

Coming soon:

We’re bursting with excitement to let you know some really BIG news but we aren’t allowed to announce it just yet!  As soon as we can, we will 🙂





Photo credit: Photo by Alex Wise on Unsplash


Reduce your Waste: An Alternative to Recycling

With all this talk about China’s National Sword program and the implications for recycling in Australia, we at Wasteless Pantry thought it would be a good time to have a chat about waste.

Recycling is a tool to help divert resources from landfill but it is not the best answer.  So recycle, but only those materials that you couldn’t avoid buying in the first place, couldn’t minimise the need for, couldn’t reuse or repair.

Never let perfection stop you from starting, any little improvement you make is still worth making.

Try out replacing a disposable with a reusable, rethink your purchases to minimise waste and learn what you can about how to lessen your impact whilst still enjoying life.

Read More

Wasteless Pantry Mundaring News (1 February 2018)

Happy 2018!

With the kids back at school it really feels like the new year has begun 🙂

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and whilst we’re not big on giving stuff, we do love to share the love so…


We would really love you to nominate your favourite Wasteless Pantry staff member!  Send us a bit of love by email about someone at the store who has done something to impress you, help you or inspire you.  Make sure it gets to us by close of business Tuesday 13th February and we will pick the best nomination to reward that staff member with a $30 gift voucher of their choosing.

[Just so you know, we’ve asked our staff to nominate their favourite customers too!]

In case you are not sure of names…

In this photo L to R top row: Emily, Tessa & James

L to R middle row: Lizzy, Belinda & Jade

L to R bottom row: Jeannie & Amanda

What’s been happening at the store?

  • We’ve added a bunch of recipes to the wall – like flatbread, tortillas, pizza bases and doughnuts!
  • We had the arrival of stainless steel drinking cups, insulated water bottles, sisal exfoliating gloves, coconut fibre scrub pads and scourers, organic muslin produce bags, dish wash brushes and replacement heads as well as pouches of bamboo cutlery.
  • We also expanded our range of stainless steel lunch/take away containers to include bento snack boxes, Cheeki lunch boxes and stackable bento boxes
  • We updated the website so if you want a more recent idea of what we stock check out our Product List

Coming soon:

  • We’re about to do a big review of what we stock so we’ll keep you updated on the changes
  • We are hoping to add an Artisan Bread Mix for making cob loaves and baguettes as well as bringing back Wholemeal Bread Mix which has a new recipe that we are happier with

Photo credit:

Photo by Aziz Acharki on Unsplash