Are you punishing yourself?

Decluttering vs Wasting

The idea of less stuff, clean surfaces, and an organised home is appealing to most.  That thought that you could spend less time cleaning, that it would be so simple that your 3-year-old could do it and that you could enjoy your home is so attractive that many of us have been on and off the decluttering bandwagon for years.

But if you are also trying to be environmentally friendly and reduce your contribution to landfill, it can be a conflicted experience.  Likewise, if you are someone who is budget conscious you might be looking at your possessions in terms of the monetary investment that you are potentially throwing away.  Alternatively, you might be more a sentimental type who sees the love in the gift (wanted or not at the time) that you are now trying to disconnect from.

Personally, I struggled with all three.  I punished myself for purchasing or acquiring the thing in the first place by trying to find a use for it when clearly it was not for me.  The thing would hang around my house, then in some storage space making it difficult to get to other more useful things, then it would be relegated to the shed before I’d finally admit defeat and move it on.  I felt guilty and ashamed of my relationship with stuff and that I had been outmanoeuvred by marketing to buy things I really didn’t need.

There are two ideas that made the difference for me.

  1. I started thinking of stuff as having its own needs – a need to be used as often as possible.  Was I ever going to use this to its full potential?  Would anyone I know use it more?  Could it be recycled so that it could have a new life as something with purpose again?
  2. I also started thinking about waste more generally to do with my things.  What other waste am I creating because I am holding onto this thing when really it needs to go (even if it needs to go to landfill)?  Was it impeding my ability to use other things to their full potential – like the bowls I couldn’t get out of the cupboard because I had too many serving dishes in the way or the room that we only half used because it had a stockpile of stuff to find a use for?  Was I wasting time moving and reorganising this thing that I don’t use, instead of using that time to live more sustainably?  Was I wasting water and electricity cleaning it but never using it?

I follow the waste hierarchy pretty religiously:

Refuse – stop buying things or bringing things home unless I need them

Reduce – aim for the smallest amount of things that I serve my needs

Reuse – find a new purpose for an underused item or pass it on to someone that can use it more

Recycle – break it down into its core material and give it another life

Rot – some things can be added to a compost pile to at least build your garden on

Then if it has to go to landfill so be it.


We are all learning and growing.  We make mistakes.  In other areas of our lives, we have learnt to forgive ourselves, let it go and move on.  This is just one more area to practice this.  Stop punishing yourself for your past and give yourself permission to step lightly into your best future.


Wasteless Pantry Mundaring News (12th January 2018)

Happy New Year!

May this year be the one where you see that you are part of a whole community that cares about reducing waste, living well and making a difference.  May you know in your bones that every action you take has an impact.

  • We have had a major win at the store!! After a year of encouraging, supporting, directing and educating we have finally achieved access to recycling facilities for all businesses in the Mundaring Shopping Village!  Up until this point businesses either looked after their own recycling or (more often than not) sent all of their recyclables to landfill.  We are so pleased that Centre Management has come on board and we’ll be pushing for education sessions for local businesses to make the most of the new facilities.  This is a big scale change and hopefully will make a big difference to the amount of landfill created by our area!
  • We’re still getting through the Christmas wrapped toilet paper so expect to see green and red for a little while longer.
  • We’ve almost exhausted our local supplies of Olive Oil from Wundowie and Wooroloo but we have another local one in the background ready to take its place
  • There have been a number of requests for a larger glass pump/spray bottle but unfortunately, that particular model is as big as it gets.  We are looking into alternatives for you all though so keep an eye out.  
  • With the trendiness of zero waste right now we are seeing more and more suppliers now offering us a range of goodies that we couldn’t access before.  Look out for Sisal Knitted Exfoliating Gloves, Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottles (with a plastic-free lid no less!), coconut fibre Scourers, wooden Dish Wash Brushes and replacement heads, Stainless Steel Drinking Cups, Organic Muslin produce bags, Bamboo Cutlery Sets and coconut fibre scrub pads arriving shortly.
  • Back to School preparations are underway and the range of naked lunch box alternatives are expanding.  So if you need some inspiration, look no further.

Going Zero Waste with a Naked Lunch Box

“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” William Morris

We are all drawn to a life of simplicity. There are many of us that are drawn to that idea of a simple life, which is a hands on, peaceful and present one.

To me, that is what zero waste living is all about.

It’s about going back to the basics of being able to cook your own food and live a life more intentional, and less disposable.  It is not about making life harder for the sake of the environment or doing things the hard way.  It is about creating a life that fits with your values and encourages slowness in your days.  You don’t have to bake your own bread or make every meal from scratch unless you want to.  But what if doing these things not only reduce the waste you created but gave you back control of what you eat and the beauty with which you do it?



There is lots of depressing information out there about why reducing waste is so important.  The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, or birds that are dying on some random island somewhere filled with our rubbish, or thousands of acres of forest that are lost every day, or the orangutans that are dying because of our love affair with cheap palm oil.  This information doesn’t help you move forward.  What helps you move forward and do the things that are going to help are finding ways to integrate good practices into your life.

I’ve been on this journey for a few years now and at the beginning, it was completely overwhelming.  There was so much to change and it felt as if it was too much to add to an already full life.  But what I have found over that time is that by going back to basics and reducing the waste, it has saved me time and has given me a better appreciation for how I live my life.

I’m hoping for this blog post to inspire some sort of change, but that might just be a change of mindset.  It might be a growing awareness of the little changes that you can make.  Changing to a slower and more intentional life, especially around this issue of waste.  As we like to involve our children in our growth, our first step might be around the naked lunch box.

A naked lunch box simply refers to packing a lunch without disposable packaging, and instead using reusable containers.  Those of you new to this idea should know that each school-aged child packed a disposable lunch creates 30kg of waste per year with their lunch alone (Australian statistics).  Just changing this one thing can have a significant impact!

There are lots of ideas for lunchboxes and what to fill them with available – so many Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram photos out there to inspire!

For those of you who have been packing a reusable lunchbox for some time and want to take your waste reduction skills to the next level, I encourage you to step it up a level and try to source your ingredients without packaging.  This might be taking a cloth bag to the bakery and asking for unwrapped bread.  Or it might be going to a bulk food store and buying your goods there.  Or it might mean taking produce bags to buy your fruit and vegetables (little reusable mesh bags instead of the disposable plastic ones).  Or maybe it is going to the farmers market and simply filling a box to take home.

This is just one way to get started.  It might sound like another thing to add to the to-do list that is a mile long or another challenge in an otherwise overwhelmed life, but what you might find is that by living this way you cultivate a skill.  You get to have an intimate and caring relationship with the food that you put into your children’s and your own body; as well as saving time and money.



Photo credits

Photo by Michał Grosicki on Unsplash

Photo by Jenn Evelyn-Ann on Unsplash

Photo by Litterfree Living

Wasteless Pantry Mundaring News (22nd December 2017)

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

from the Wasteless Pantry Mundaring Team

It has been an amazing year and we are so happy to be seeing the start of a shift to a low waste culture in WA!  We are thankful, as always, for our great community who have supported us the whole way.  It is wonderful to be making connections, feeling that belonging alongside other zero waste and plastic free enthusiasts (no matter your progress), and sharing all the tools we need to make this work.

As well as this, I am particularly mindful of how important it is to have the right people around you when you are trying to do big things (even by small steps).  We are very lucky to be working with Lizzy, Jade, James, Emily, Belinda and Tessa.  They have been the most reliable and supportive team I think I have ever had the privilege to work with.  It almost seems that they go about their days looking for ways to make things easier for others and to think a few steps ahead of what the store needs!

Working with Jeannie on this store has been quite the journey! Developing this community has far exceeded any expectations or visions we originally had of what this could be.  We are truly very lucky!

Sentimentality aside, there are a few things you might want to know …

  • Opening hours: Aside from the public holidays we are open as per usual! That means we will be open Sun Dec 24th 11 am to 5 pm, closed 25th & 26th, open Wed 27th/Thurs 28th/Fri 29th 9 am to 5:30 pm, open Sat 30th 9 am to 5 pm, open Sun 31st 11 am to 5 pm, closed Jan 1st then open again Tues 2nd 9 am to 5:30 pm
  • We are stocking zero waste hampers for those loved ones that want a gift.  There are big ones and little ones, ones for women, ones for men, ones for coffee lovers, and zero waste starter kits!
  • Aluminium and glass pump bottles are in stock and we now have a trigger spray attachment that fits these bottles too
  • Masa flour for tortilla making is now available
  • There are a bunch of different zero waste DIY dairy-free milk recipes on the recipe wall and we stock nut milk bags made from 100% hemp
  • We have gift jars ready to go for last minute, “Oh no, I forgot [insert relative’s name] was coming too!” moments
  • Gluten-free banana bread mix has been popular and we are getting great feedback about its versatility for a variety of cakes and slices.

Coming soon:

  • Who know’s what will happen in 2018 but we do have Pizza & Focaccia Bread Mix coming 🙂



Photo credits

Photo by Precision Focus

Wasteless Pantry Mundaring News (1st December 2017)

It’s so good to be chatting with you again!

It has been a little while between updates as we have been working hard to finally be able to say, “Yes, we are franchising” and, “Yes, there may well be a new Wasteless Pantry store coming to your neighbourhood in 2018!”  

The difficulty with running a store like ours is that we are so picky about why we do things, how we do things and who we do them with.  So, this has not been us dragging our feet, but rather making sure that moving forward you can trust that our standards have not changed and we will always be about community and waste first.  We really appreciate all your support and never want to take it for granted!

What’s been happening?

  • We started stocking some new useful reusables such as Onya bread bags, Vegan Wraps, Double Round Bento Tiffins (1400ml), large stainless steel To-Go Containers (1.4L capacity), Bento Compartment boxes with utensils (we’ve ordered more stock), and mini stainless steel containers (perfect for little snacks) 
  • We’ve added Yoshiki mix, raw Australian peanuts, green glace cherries (for your Christmas cake making), protein powder made from peas, vanilla beans and locally made dark choc and toasted coconut vegan protein granola (great as a snack too!)
  • Jeannie attended the Beyond Plastic Pollution Conference in Sydney and learnt all sorts of interesting info about waste and how different groups are trying to address it (see the events page if you want to come hear her summary)
  • Jeannie also ran our first Zero Waste Shopping Tour (hosted by EMRC) to give hands-on experience for those wanting to try it out for the first time (let us know if you missed it and would like us to do it again in the new year)
  • Since pretty much everyone uses toilet paper, we thought that stocking the Christmas wrapped version of Who Gives A Cr@p would be an idea so that you aren’t also having to buy single-use wrapping paper
  • We’re trying out Dark Roasted coffee beans from Skybury since so many of you love a strong flavoured coffee and we love locally grown beans! (House fans – House is a blend of dark and medium so we can mix some up if you are in need, don’t fret!)
  • We really are trying to be helpful with your festive preparations, we now stock food grade lavender and rose petals for making your gifts, beauty products and speciality tea blends
  • For those that are looking for a plastic-free sunscreen option and trying their hand at DIY – we have zinc oxide powder available loose plus a recipe on the board for you to try out (let us know if you tweak it and how it turns out)
  • Since we have so many new things coming in, we have had to discontinue other less popular items.  If you see a discounted tag, that’s why (hint: this is the only time we would suggest that you stock up if you use these products regularly)

Coming soon:

  • Gluten Free Banana Bread Mix should be in stock shortly to help with making your Christmas Fruit Cakes
  • Christmas gift jars and hampers (zero waste starter kit, wasteless women’s, wasteless men’s, wasteless coffee and wasteless travel) will be available shortly
  • Masa Flour (for tortilla making) and Doughnut Mix!
  • Plus glace apricots and choc jaffas will make their seasonal return
  • Pop in during December for tastings – this week is old-fashioned Christmas cake and next week is something with chocolate!
Feature image credit:
Photo by Ian Schneider on Unsplash

More Than Another Bulk Food Store

You want to reduce your waste and you make the effort to bring your own containers and bags for refilling.  Maybe you want to know that the places you shop at are doing all they can to avoid waste too.

Our mission statement:

Supporting the local community and providing education to cultivate and encourage a “zero waste” community as well as role modelling best practice food retail waste management.

We really care about this stuff!  Just recently we submitted an application to the Waste Authority of WA Infinity Awards and we had this to say for ourselves:

Wasteless Pantry is assisting the wider community to reduce the amount of waste that is generated, increase the proportion of materials recovered that would otherwise end up in the waste stream as well as reducing the amount of waste going to landfill. It actively communicates messages for behaviour change and promotes their adoption through a wide range of initiatives aimed at mainstream consumers. 

At its simplest, Wasteless Pantry is a zero waste and bulk food store. However, dig a little deeper and you’ll find that Wasteless Pantry is a unique store that was built entirely around this idea of being able to minimise waste and single-use plastics. We make it easy and achievable to reduce waste, you get to buy just what you need, and we enable you to turn waste reduction values into tangible actions. The rate of waste generation in the average household is growing rapidly and whilst many are alarmed by the statistics, the average person still feels that taking the actions required to reduce the figures is beyond their capabilities. Wasteless Pantry is an example of ‘the how’, providing education and role modelling of just how achievable it is to change behaviours in a sustainable way.

As a business model, it is also demonstrating best practice in waste management in the food retail sector, creating just 1.39kg of landfill waste in May 2017. This is less than 0.5% of what the average Western Australian household creates each month. 100% of recyclable waste created by the store was recycled (much higher than the 47% average for food retail stores) and a range of recyclable waste from the community was also diverted from landfill. 95% of organic waste generated by the store was composted. The food retail sector in Australia produces on average 1660kg of landfill per effective full-time employee per year. Wasteless Pantry generates less than 1% of this average, including very few resources that could otherwise be recovered.

What do you think?  Are we are doing okay?   Does it matter what waste we create?

Plastic Free July: Should You Bother?

Absolutely, YES!

I hear the same thing over and over.  “What I do doesn’t make a difference, there are so many people/government bodies/businesses/others that waste more than me, so why bother?”

And then I hear the reply, “Be the change you wish to see in the world”.

It’s not enough to want a better planet if that isn’t going to inspire you to not only think differently but also to ACT differently.

That is why Plastic Free July works.  It gets you to do something different.  It’s as small or as big a challenge as you think you can manage.  Many go into it thinking it will be easy.  I love these people. I was one of them.  The ones that think it will be easy are usually the ones most profoundly changed by it.  We find out that once you are truly aware of the issue on a personal level there is no going back.  You come face to face with the reality of just how much plastic waste is embedded in our everyday lives.  The blindfold of the daily routine is removed and you get to start seeing the world clearly via the multitude of decisions that we have to remake to succeed at the challenge.


You do it as a community.  At this stage, it is a global community with individuals in more than 130 countries participating last year.  If you have questions, there will be answers.  If you have struggles, there will be support.  If you succeed, we will all cheer you on and delight in what you have achieved.  It is no small feat.

You’re family or housemates don’t have to be on board for you to join the challenge.  This is about the choices you make.  Encourage, support and share your experiences; be a role model of the change.  You never know who you will inspire!

With the media sharing more and more about the problems in the world around waste and unnecessary plastics, this is an actual solution.  It is a guide to get you started on a meaningful journey to solving the problem.  When enough people are involved, aware and conscious of just what is going on with our disposable culture and how to address it, the effect will be amazing.  But in the meantime, the changes you are making are leading to a real quality of life that is missing with a disposable lifestyle.  You can try telling me that you love drinking out of a disposable plastic straw, and I will smile at you whilst I savour sipping from the glass without a straw knowing that tomorrow someone else will be able to enjoy the same experience. Whilst 50 plus years from now someone else will still be trying to figure out why you thought that straw was so instrumental to your happiness.

Alone we still make a difference.

It’s only one day, one week, one month… how hard could it be?

Find out more about the challenge and join us by registering via

If you have done the challenge before, share your experiences below to inspire newbies to give it a go!