zero waste dinner party

I decided to throw a dinner party for my parents, brother and Jake. After being super unwell for a few months, including hospital trips, endless scans and doctors appointments, they have all taken such good care of me. As my big surgery date looms, I felt like I owed them something grand. How better to show someone you love them, than with food! Thus, the ‘thank you’ banquet was born.

Table set, banner hung

Fussy eaters

With all this in mind, I would like this dinner party to be a zero waste friendly event. This means finding recipes that don’t require anything I can’t buy in bulk or fresh from the markets. The other important factor being that I eat vegan, and my mum is a celiac. The challenge – finding gluten-free, vegan, zero waste recipes that everyone will like.

My brother and dad, the least of the fussy eaters in the family

So Vegan

If you’re a vegan and have never stumbled across So Vegan before, then I’ve just changed your life. I have cooked so many of their recipes and decided this ‘thank you’ dinner would also blow a kiss to my favourite english cooks. They create meals, snacks and other delicious vegan creations that would impress even the most suspicious non-vegan. So my aim was to make my zero waste party an exclusive So Vegan menu.

Screen shot taken from the So Vegan website

Drinks

Seeing as it’s a Thursday night, Lachie has school tomorrow and dad has to drive, I decided to try my hand at some homemade, alcohol-free drinks. I had a crack at making a cucumber-mint lemonade, and a raspberry lemonade. Luckily for me, my mum has an abundance of lemons on her tree!

Delicious naturally flavoured lemonades

I picked up the cucumbers and mint from Eumarrah, which sources local grown fruit + veg. The raspberries were unfortunately taken from our stash of frozen packet berries which we hoarded in our non zero waste lives. The lemons (all 10 that I needed) were all taken from my mums beautiful lemon tree!

Appetisers

A pre-vegan version of me absolutely loves a cheese platter. I wanted to prove to my suspicious parents that a zero waste, vegan platter can be just as good! I picked up some Tasmanian grown veggies from Eumarrah for dipping, as well as some bulk bought ingredients to make a simple hummus and a tomato salsa. Photo of the full platter not available due to deliciousness and impatience of hungry family.

Salsa on the left, hummus on the right

Main meal

It’s coming towards the end of winter here, but the forecast says it will be 10 degrees on the night of my dinner. I decided to go for a soup, because it’s easy, can be prepared in advance and is easily vegan/gluten free. I have recently been making this delicious spicy broccoli & potato soup, which only needs 5 ingredients! It’s packed full of ginger and chilli, so it seemed like a winner.

Green soup, tastier than it looks

The potatoes, broccoli and ginger were all picked up from the farmers market, so all Tasmanian grown! We have a decent stash of bulk bought chilli flakes, which cost next to nothing to buy.

Sides

HASHBROWNS

I love soup but it’s not always the most filling meal, and I want my family to leave here with satisfied tummies. I had a bunch of potatoes that were begging to be used, so I decided on the So Vegan cheezy hash browns. This also gave me the opportunity to try some vegan cheese I’ve had stored for a rainy day.

Hash browns, gone quickly

BREAD

I also picked up some sourdough bread and gluten free bread for dipping in the soup, bought using my homemade bread bags! If you want to make your own bread bags, click here for my instructions.

A sourdough and a seedy gluten free bread

CREAM CHEESE

As an alternative to butter for the bread, I quickly whipped up a vegan cream cheese for spreading. Made mostly from cashews, the ingredients for this are easily bought in bulk. I picked out this recipe from the So Vegan salmon bagels, and honestly it only takes about 5 minutes to make!

Creamy cream cheese

Dessert disaster

This was my trickiest challenge, as I’m really poor at cooking sweet food. I settled on a recipe I’ve been wanting to try for ages, which is the So Vegan strawberry cheesecake brownies. We had a stash of mixed berries in the freezer, so I converted it to a mixed berry version. The rest of the ingredients were easily bought in bulk.

Mixed berry cheesecake looking purple and stunning

I’d made up the cheesecake, but it took me a little longer than expected and unfortunately, she did not set in time. Luckily, I’m a genius and had anticipated this might happen. So I quickly whipped up a tray of the So Vegan quinoa & chocolate chip cookies which I knew would be a crowd pleaser. All ingredients for these tasty treats were bought in bulk, even the chocolate!

Cookies to save the day

What wasn’t zero waste

The only thing I could not successfully buy zero waste is the coconut cream required for the cheesecake. The silver lining is that tin cans are not made from plastic, and I’ll keep these two for propagating my succulent collection on my balcony.

Coconut cream tins, pesky buggers

All in all the ‘thank you’ dinner was a success! My little brother, a notorious carnivore, actually said he would consider switching to a vegan diet because he couldn’t taste the difference! My mum was also able to eat everything on the menu, and this was a first for her. Most importantly, this was a fantastic opportunity for me to share some love to my family and Jake for looking after me whilst I’ve been unwell. I would’ve taken a photo of the full table, but we were too happy enjoying each others company, and tucking in a vegan, gluten free, zero waste friendly meal.


For So Vegan website, head to https://www.wearesovegan.com/

For homemade lemonade 3 ways, head to https://www.wearesovegan.com/easy-lemonade-3-ways/

For hummus & tomato salsa recipes, head to https://www.wearesovegan.com/easy-dips-3-ways/

For spicy broccoli and potato soup, head to https://www.wearesovegan.com/5-ingredient-spicy-broccoli-soup/

For cheezy hash browns, head to https://www.wearesovegan.com/cheesy-hash-browns/

For bread bag tutorial, head to https://tassiegirlzerowaste.home.blog/2019/06/09/bread-bread-bags/

For cream cheese recipe, head to https://www.wearesovegan.com/carrot-salmon-cream-cheese-bagel/

For original cheesecake recipe, head to https://www.wearesovegan.com/no-bake-strawberry-cheesecake-brownies/

For quinoa cookie recipe, head to https://www.wearesovegan.com/quinoa-choc-chip-cookies/


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tea

An everyday occurrence in most households. Whether it’s a cup to wake you up, or a cup before bed, I often think that tea is the elixir of life. But this beautiful liquid often comes with non earth friendly side effects.

Some chai tea leaves & my favourite tea pot

Getting rid of what you’ve got

Tea leaves

Amazingly, tea leaves can be a very versatile substance once you’ve used them. If you’re using tea bags, cut open the bag and scoop out the loose leaves. Tea leaves can be added to your compost bin (bokashi included), and act as a fertiliser to speed up the composting process. We pack ours up separately for donation via ShareWaste, which you can read about here.

Some of our used tea leaves

Tea bags

The bags themselves may be compostable but it really depends on the brand. Many tea bags (around 20-30%) are made up of polypropylene, which means they will not compost. You’ll be able to tell as these bags are usually heat sealed at the bottom and are kind of slippery to touch. If you aren’t sure about whether your tea bag is compostable, do some research first, or just throw it in the compost and see if it works! It will become evident pretty quickly if it’s working or not.

Twinnings peppermint tea bag

Compostable tea bags

As a nurse, I don’t often go a shift without having a cup of tea, and that goes for most of the nurses I work with too. So although I believe loose leaf is best, tea bags are an easy solution for making a quick cuppa. Luckily, many tea brands have heard our concerns and are attempting to switch to compostable options. T2 have recently made the switch to corn starch, and Twinnings are polypropylene free! For a more comprehensive list of which tea bags are/are not plastic free, head to this 1 Million Women blog post.

Jake’s stash of Twinnings Green Tea & Lemon

Loose leaf

I’ll acknowledge that tea bags are cheap, but in my experience loose tea leaves have a much better taste and flavour range. I used to get my loose leaf tea from T2, thinking this was a ‘better’ zero waste alternative to tea bags. However, the tea leaves come wrapped in a little tiny plastic bag. The box can be recycled, and the plastic will go to RedCycle, but that is far from a solution.

Some T2 leaves

So instead of giving up on tea altogether. The best alternative is to bulk buy! Eumarrah and Unpacked in Hobart both stock tea thats available for bulk buying, and most bulk stores near you should have a stock. Below is a photo I took at Eumarrah in the Hobart CBD, they have a huge range of loose leaf tea, from English Breakfast to Raspberry leaf.

Eumarrah’s bulk tea stock

You don’t need a fancy tea strainer

If you don’t have one, don’t let fancy sustainable focused instagrams fool you. You don’t need to purchase a super expensive tea strainer, or those little re-usable tea bags I see advertised everywhere. Tea strainers and tea pots have been around for a long long time, so most op-shops, tip shops and antique stores will have them for a super cheap price. Jake’s mum even has a collection of antique strainers that she usually picks up from op shops. My strainer came as a gift in a T2 pack for my birthday, it’s huge and fits in every mug. I also use it for kombucha making!

My favourite mug and tea strainer

Tea making is never something I had thought about going into this zero waste journey. But due to the amount of tea we drink, we had to make some changes. But this was not a difficult change, it’s actually easier (and cheaper) to buy in bulk, and there are heaps of composting options out there.


For my blog post on ShareWaste, head to https://tassiegirlzerowaste.home.blog/2019/08/10/sharewaste/

For tea bag composting, head to https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/composting/ingredients/composting-tea-bags.htm

For list of compostable & non-compostable tea bag brands, head to https://www.1millionwomen.com.au/blog/tea-bag-or-not-tea-bag-guide-plastic-free-tea/

For information on RedCycle soft plastic recycling, head to https://www.redcycle.net.au/what-to-redcycle/


Follow my Instagram @tassiegirlzerowaste

sharewaste

If you’re a person who wants to start composting but don’t have the means, space or motivation to keep up with a composting system, then this magical idea might be for you!

Some of our food scraps

What is ShareWaste

I’m amazed I’ve not stumbled across this magical website sooner. ShareWaste is a way to connect with local composters in your area, that will take your scraps and compost them for you! So you are being responsible with your food waste, and your neighbours get the benefits of compost for their gardens! It’s also a great way to connect with your community, and make some new friends!

Image taken from ShareWaste

How it works

Have a browse of the map and see who pops up in your area, I was genuinely surprised by the number of composters near me! Click on someone and read their conditions. Many people will specify certain things they don’t want donated, usually meat, citrus, tea bags or eggshells.

One of my ShareWaste companions conditions

If you find someone that suits your kind of scraps, then send them a message! I sent a bunch of messages out to make sure I had a few people to go to. This ensures I’m not dumping huge amounts of scraps on just one person. This map below shows a few composting folk in the greater Hobart area!

Screenshot taken from ShareWaste

Who we’ve connected with

After sending out messages to six different folks who were close by, we got responses from 4 that we were keen to set up with. Some people accept certain things that others don’t, and some people have a certain way they wish you to drop off your scraps. So to stop ourselves from getting confused I’ve developed a big chart of who accepts what, and pinned it up in the kitchen.

A list of all our ShareWaste friends

Be a good donor

It’s really important to note that this isn’t just an alternative bin system. It’s super important to follow the rules of the host and be polite. The common things that people tend not to accept is tea, coffee grounds and egg shells. But some of our ShareWasters do! With this in mind, I put used coffee grounds, tea bags, and egg shells in their own seperate containers to not contaminate one load of scraps.

Some used loose tea leaves we keep in a seperate container

Making our first drop off

Making our first drop off

On a rainy Saturday arvo we set out to make our first drop offs. We didn’t have much for our first drop off so we went to Bill’s place as he accepts a wide range of scraps. Bill’s system is pretty simple, an easily accessible wheelie bin out the front that we couldn’t miss. Walking up towards it we could smell the lovely food scraps already brewing away inside – we knew we’d struck gold!

The inside of Bill’s bin!

Start collecting

There’s no time like the present! Grab a bucket or bin and start collecting your scraps. You’ll be doing the planet a great service by diverting your food from landfill and allowing someone else to churn them into beautiful compost for their own gardens. It’s so easy, just get started!

Jake being my trusty (and very handsome) bin-lid holder

For ShareWaste website, head to https://sharewaste.com/share-waste

Follow my Instagram @tassiegirlzerowaste

bokashi composting part 2

Part 2 of bokashi composting is about what to do when your bokashi bin is full! If you’re unfamiliar with bokashi style composting, read bokashi composting part 1 and this post will make a lot more sense.

All the tools I need

Where we’re at

The next stage, image taken from Urban Composter

So with our Urban Composter system, we’ve let our food scraps begin their fermentation process in our bokashi bins at home. The scraps are now ready to be transferred somewhere to begin the process of turning into soil. With bokashi composting there are a few options for this stage; these are to either bury it, or worm it. The option of burying basically requires a small hole in someones garden or planter that you can dig it into. Worming it, means getting yourself a worm farm!

Our food scraps

Because we live in an apartment with no garden, our options are quite limited. But the best option we could come up with is to bury it in my parents garden! In an ideal world, I would have a beautiful, functioning worm farm or a big, luscious garden. But apartment living means mooching off mum and dad’s garden.

Mum’s garden patch

When the time came to burying our bokashi scraps, my parents were all for it. They are keen gardeners and they were pretty stoked at the idea of having fresh compost to sprinkle on their garden. I found an empty patch in one of their garden beds, dug a hole and put everything in.

Mum and Dad’s bottom garden

I dug about 15cm down and covered it with a nice layer of top soil and a quick water, now the process begins! I have been checking regularly for the past three weeks, and it should take about 4-6 weeks in total. I’ve noticed that some of my pumpkin peel scraps are still pretty much in tact, so I’ll have to address that at some point.

Food scraps in their hole, baby lime tree in the background

What if you don’t have a garden

If you don’t have access to a garden, one of the best things you can do is ask permission to use a small space of someone else’s. Whether this be a neighbour, a relative or friend, let them know they can reap the rewards of beautiful, nutritious compost for their own gardens. This could also a great way to make a new friend!

My mum’s lovely lemon tree from which I’ve taken many lemons from

Composting part 3

The next stage of composting for me is to hopefully dig up some beautiful compost from this load of food scraps, and a few other loads that I’ve buried! Going forward, I’d love to establish a worm farm on my tiny balcony. I’m hoping to have one going in the next couple of months to help chew through the food scraps we accumulate. Stay tuned!


For bokashi composting part 1, head to https://tassiegirlzerowaste.home.blog/2019/05/30/bokashi-composting-part-1/

For the Urban Composter indoor composting system, head to https://www.urbancomposter.com.au/#focus


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sauerkraut

Since making my own kombucha, I’ve become a little obsessed with the world of fermentation. Next on my fermentation bucket list is homemade sauerkraut.

What is sauerkraut

If you’ve never tried it, don’t let the name put you off. It features the almighty cabbage as it’s main ingredient, with the added bonus of other delicious vegetables of your choosing. You let it brew away in it’s own juices to make a delicious toast topper or salad addition. This all occurs through the magical process of fermentation.

On our way to get our sauerkraut veggies

Sauerkraut fermentation is pretty big in the zero waste world, as it’s longevity in the cupboard and plastic free assembly is ideal for a zero waste kitchen. If you aren’t keen on making your own, head to your local food store as they usually have sauerkraut in stock. There’s plenty of different flavour combinations to try, and it usually come in glass jars for re-use.

Getting the ingredients

There’s nothing better than fresh veggies. I love the taste of the veggies from the farmers market or straight from my mums garden, they usually have a taste unlike those from the supermarket. Upon doing some research, I found that 100% of people on the internet believe in using farmer fresh veggies for homemade sauerkraut. So off to the Cygnet market we went.

My farmers market fresh ingredients

1 cabbage head (equal to around 1kg)
1-2 extra cabbage leafs for a ‘lid’
Accompany vegetables
1-2 tbsp of salt (any salt will do)
Big bowl
Smaller jar/s for storage
Patience
Decent forearm/wrist strength

Making the sauerkraut

I based my recipe of the Zero Waste Chef’s original sauerkraut. The basic process of sauerkraut making is the same across all recipes, however I used veggies that are in season in Tassie for this batch.

The chop

The finer you chop the cabbage, the easier this will be. I stupidly didn’t take a photo of my chopped cabbage, but if you have some kind of device that chops things finely, that will be your best friend. Because we’re a simple household, I just used a knife that worked well to. I then peeled two of my baby carrots and chopped up one green chilli, and put it all into a big bowl.

Two peeled baby carrots

The salt

The salt is probably the most important ingredient in homemade sauerkraut making. By adding salt, it draws out the water from the veggies and creates the liquid in which the sauerkraut will ferment in. Add the salt to the veggies and mix it through thoroughly.

Adding salt to the veggie mix

The squeeze

The water-drawing-out process doesn’t just happen on it’s own, it requires a decent squeeze session. So spend the next half an hour or so, literally pushing down the veggies and squeezing them tight until water starts to drip. This process was super frustrating for me because I felt like I wasn’t getting any water. It also took a toll on my previously injured back & shoulder. So if this happens, get a strong person to help and a touch more salt. The water will flow eventually.

The dreaded squeezing that hurt my arms

The extra squeeze

I felt like I needed a little extra push, so I transferred my sauerkraut from my bowl to a big jar, and put in a big bottle of water to push it all down to create more juicy goodness. Leave it for an hour or so and more water will (hopefully) start to appear.

Squeezing more of that juice out

The bottling

You can ferment your sauerkraut in whatever vessel you like, even the bowl you made it in. I bottled mine into three jars so I could give one to my parents. The aim of the fermentation process is to make sure all of the vegetables are submerged in this veggie juice you’ve squeezed out. It’s also super important to pack the veggies in nice and tight by pushing them all the way to the bottom of whatever jar you plan to ferment it in. With this in mind, pop a piece of the spare cabbage leaf on top to create a ‘weight’, to keep all the veggies submerged. Seal the lids of your jars tight and you’re done!

Cabbage leaf to submerge

The brew

Keep your sauerkraut in a cool, dark spot for a few days and then give it a taste. I started noticing a few bubbles appearing, which is a good sign that the fermentation process is going nicely. Between days 3-4 this batch went from smelling like cabbage water, to a beautiful chilli scented, sour kind of smell. Give it a taste! If you like it, then transfer to the fridge. I have found that 3 weeks has been my sweet spot for fermenting with this particular batch. Move it to the fridge and it will store for months.

My stunning kraut

This sauerkraut combination tastes absolutely delicious with avocado on toast, with a couple slices of radish. You could also use it to spice up a boring flavoured salad. Even more, the benefits of fermentation are wonderful for your tummy. I find that I’m less bloated and less groggy when I eat fermented foods. This stuff is a win-win!


For the Zero Waste Chef sauerkraut recipe, head to https://zerowastechef.com/2014/03/29/sauerkraut/


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clean kitchen

A clean kitchen is a functional one, but many products we buy to keep our kitchens clean are not zero waste friendly. Luckily there are many zero waste options out there to keep your kitchen the tidiest room in your house by tackling the five key players: sponges, sprays, soaps, paper towel & gloves. Strap yourselves in cause this is a big one.

Our big chunk of cleaning products for our kitchen

Getting rid of what you’ve got

Essentially every cleaning product in the kitchen like sponges, scourers, spray bottles, gloves and paper towel will end up in landfill. In terms of re-use, things like spray bottles and dishwashing liquid bottles are excellent to keep for bulk buying, so don’t throw them out even if they are recyclable. More difficult items to re-use like sponges, scourers and gloves require a little more creativity. An easy google search will show you a hundred ways to re-use these items! I was stupid enough to throw away my old sponges and gloves without giving it any thought, so don’t be like me and try and find a way to re-use them first before they head to the bin!

Sponges

Wooden & bamboo brushes

Bamboo and wooden brushes seem like one of the best sponge alternative options out there. I’d received a Seed & Sprout bamboo brush in their Eco Starter Bundle, and have really enjoyed using it so far. These products seem to have a much longer shelf life, are actually good at scrubbing your dishes, and don’t stain. In an uncontrolled shopping binge at Teros, I bought myself a general scrubbing brush, a tough scouring brush and a vegetable brush!

Our collection of brushes for kitchen cleaning

Although there is metal in some of these products (therefore non-compostable), their durability will last a hell of a lot longer than a regular sponge from the store or a hand made option. We’ve been using the Seed & Sprout brush for nearly six months, and it’s still in 100% perfect condition.

Make your own scrubbies

A homemade scrubbie

The term scrubbies sounds stupid, but you can make your own kitchen scourers through the wonderful art of knitting or crocheting! If you’re not a crafty person, I’ll guarantee you know someone who is. Making a scrubbie is super easy, simply cast/chain on around 2o stitches and garter stitch/treble stitch until you’ve reached the scrubbie size of your liking!

Crocheting up a scrubbie storm

In terms of the wool to use, you’ll ideally want something that is compostable. Luckily, if you’re using pure wool with no synthetic materials through it, it can be composted in small amounts! Otherwise raffia is a great material to make scrubbies with, as it’s a biodegradable product (also vegan). I had some raffia left over from making my own shopping bag from Wool & the Gang, so I quickly knitted up a few. The scrubbies I’ve made with this raffia are water repellent and an absolutely amazing scourer for those hard-to-get stains.

The leftover raffia I use for scrubbie making

Spray alternatives

Making your own cleaning sprays is super duper easy. I’ve already written about this in my bathroom cleaning post, which covers recipes for both orange cleaner and an all purpose spray which can both be used in the bathroom and kitchen. If you want to learn how to make your own sprays, click here! In the meantime, start collecting old spray bottles to store your new cleaner in.

My DIY orange cleaner that works a treat

Soaps

Dishwashing liquid

No kitchen is complete without dishwashing liquid. Luckily, dishwashing liquid is easily bulk bought from your local store. I re-use two old dishwashing liquid bottles that were originally bought from Woolworths for bulk buying. It costs around $20 to fill the two up to the brim. Top tip for Hobart locals, the lemon myrtle dishwashing liquid from Eumarrah is an absolute winner, it leaves the whole kitchen smelling like a forest.

Bulk buying dishwashing liquid from Eumarrah

Make your own dishwashing liquid

This is also a possibility if you have the time and money to do so. I personally haven’t ventured into the world of making my own dish liquid, mostly because it’s super easy to just buy in bulk. If it’s something you’re really keen on, a good recipe I’ve seen online is by Brendid, a non-toxic homemade dishwashing detergent. Her recipe uses ingredients that are easily bought from a bulk store and would not take long to make up!

Soap bar

I recently received a dishwashing soap bar by the Australian Natural Soap Company as part of Flora & Fauna’s eco box. I actually haven’t had a chance to use this product yet as we have a healthy supply of bulk bought dishwashing liquid. Essentially you grate a tablespoon of the bar into your hot water and it forms a lovely bubble. I’ve seen similar products displayed locally in some of Hobart’s sustainability friendly stores, so shop your locals first before heading online.

Australian Natural Soap Company dish & laundry soap

Hand soap

Not everyone has hand soap in their kitchen. But for those that do, you can also buy hand soap in bulk. We take an old lemonade bottle from a trip to the beach, and fill it up for around $5. This hand soap from Unpacked is a delicious lemon myrtle blend, which I’m just realising might be my favourite smell.

All our kitchen soap collection

Paper towel

The good paper towel

When finishing up cleaning, it’s nice to give the counters a quick spray and wipe down with some paper towel. Despite being made from paper, paper towel is NOT a recyclable product. However paper towel doesn’t have to be eliminated from your cleaning routine completely, as you can actually buy compostable paper towel from Who Gives a Crap! A brilliant company with a fantastic ethos of sustainability and proper sanitation for those who need it. If you want to learn more about their products, I wrote about them in more detail in my toilet paper post, or head to their fabulously colourful website.

Who Gives a Crap paper towel, image taken from their website

Just use tea towels

If you used paper towel every day, or even every few days, it would quickly build up in your composting bin. So the most obvious alternative is to just use a tea towel! We have a huge stash of tea towels (as do most people), so just make the mental switch, as they do literally the exact same thing! The only downside with tea towels, is that they most likely leak tiny microfibres into the water ways when they are washed.

The tea towel collection

Bamboo cloths

A microfibre free option is with bamboo cloths! We purchased five bamboo cloths from Koala Eco, that we use to wipe down the counter tops, dry dishes and clean the sink. They are machine washable, and don’t leak any microfibres into our water ways. They are so stupidly soft and they don’t ever stain! You can find bamboo cloths everywhere online, I just went with an Australian brand that I trust.

Two of our bamboo cloths from Koala Eco

Gloves

The final step in a sustainable kitchen. If you don’t want to touch your dishes when you’re washing them (which I completely empathise with), then you probably have gloves. We have burned through a few pairs of crap Woolworths brand gloves in our time, and we were seeking something a little more durable. At a quick stop at Teros, I picked up some If You Care rubber gloves, that are a wonderful bright green colour.

Our new green kitchen gloves from If You Care

These specific brand of rubber gloves are not recyclable or compostable, but I doubt that many kitchen gloves are. When these gloves are done, I’ll chop them up into rubber bands. These gloves are fair trade certified, made from 100% renewable resources and come in compostable cardboard packaging. Their motto, good for nature – good for people! Even if you don’t purchase these gloves in store, they are available online, otherwise have a look around your local, sustainability friendly stores.

Back of the If You Care gloves packaging

Keeping a kitchen clean in a zero waste way can be tricky in this modern world, especially when we become so habitual with our cleaning routines. Luckily there are many clever solutions out there that make for an easy transition.

For ideas on how to re-use sponges, head to https://recyclenation.com/2012/09/reuse-sponges/

For ideas on how to re-use kitchen gloves, head to https://ecogreenlove.com/2015/03/12/reusing-rubbergloves/

For Seed & Sprout Eco Starter Bundle, head to https://seedsprout.com.au/products/eco-starter-bundle?

For Teros online, head to https://teros.eco/

For Wool & the Gang raffia, head to https://www.woolandthegang.com/en/products/ra-ra-raffia

For my DIY cleaning spray recipes, head to https://tassiegirlzerowaste.home.blog/2019/05/13/bathroom-cleaner/

For Australian Natural Soap Company dish & laundry soap, head to https://www.floraandfauna.com.au/the-ansc-dish-laundry-soap-200g

For Flora and Fauna’s eco box, head to https://www.floraandfauna.com.au/f-f-limited-edition-eco-box-19

For Brens recipe for homemade detergent, head to https://brendid.com/non-toxic-homemade-dish-detergent-for-hand-washing/

For Who Gives a Crap paper towel, head to https://au.whogivesacrap.org/products/forest-friendly-paper-towels-6-double-length-rolls

For my post on toilet paper, head to https://tassiegirlzerowaste.home.blog/2019/05/08/toilet-paper/

For Koala Eco bamboo cloths, head to https://koala.eco/products/bamboo-cleaning-cloth


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snack series – fool proof popcorn

Apparently it’s pretty common knowledge to be able to make popcorn on the stove top, but if you’re like me and have been eating microwave popcorn for years, then this is for you. Microwave popcorn is obviously not zero waste friendly, but luckily I’ve found a way to make popcorn with a 100% guarantee of no burnt kernels. So today’s edition of the snack series is fool proof popcorn!

Recipe

Corn kernels are really easy to source without packaging. Bulk buy stores usually sell them super cheap; I buy around 500g to fill up this jar and it costs about $5. Other than the corn kernels, all you need is a bit of oil to create your popcorn!

1/3 of a cup of popcorn kernels
2tbsp of oil
Seasoning of choice

Bulk bought corn kernels

1. Turn stove top on to low-medium heat, add oil to a saucepan and pop the lid on. Allow the oil to get nice and warm.

2. Of the 1/3 cup of kernels, take three single kernels out and place them into the saucepan and make sure they are in the oil. Wait a minute or two until those three kernels have popped.

3. As soon as those three kernels have popped, remove the saucepan from the heat and add the remaining kernels, then let cool for 30 seconds.

4. Wait a few minutes until they pop, once there is a few seconds between pops they will be ready to serve up.

5. Pour the popcorn straight into a bowl to prevent any burning. Then just add the seasoning of your choice, I like a simple pinch of pink salt!

Finished product

By following these instructions, my stove top popcorn is always burn-free. A simple yet moorish treat that is great for movie nights or between meal nibbles. Most importantly, this is a zero waste friendly recipe! This concludes my snack series (for now), as it’s time to move onto making more zero waste switches in my kitchen. But I’ve now got myself four delicious snack recipes to make without the packaging!


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snack series – potato peel chips

I love potato chips, and I wish there was a way I could buy them without the packaging. I’ve recently found a way to turn potato peels destined for the composting bin, into my favourite salty snack. Packaging free! So today’s edition of the snack series is potato peel chips.

Some beautiful, Tasmanian dutch creams

Recipe

The peels of potatoes is all you really need. We get our potatoes at the farmers market from a local grower. We once bought a 5kg bag of dutch creams in a big paper bag, and we use that bag to re-fill with potatoes when needed from the same farmer. Also, this recipe is not exclusive to specific potatoes, any potato is welcome! I adapted this recipe from the Carters a Family Guide to Waste Free Living, easily the best and most useful book I’ve ever bought in my life.

Our dutch cream potato bag

Potato peels of any amount
Oil
Salt & Pepper
*Optional any other spices or seasoning of your choosing

Bulk bought olive oil and salt

1. Preheat oven to around 180 degrees and wash your potato peels. This is 2.5 potatoes worth of peel!

2. Place your peels on a baking tray, add oil and seasoning to your taste. Mix through until all peels covered.

3. Pop the peels in the oven, let them cook for around 20 minutes, stirring halfway through, until they are nice and golden. The aim is to get them tasting like potato chips, so the crunchier the better! My oven is shit so it might not take as long if you have a proper oven.

4. Once cooked, allow them to cool and serve them up! These do not last long in our house, but you can store them in a container for around a week!

These potato peel chips are easily our favourite zero waste snack. The peels seem to crisp up better than the potatoes themselves. They don’t take long to make, and they make use of potato peels that were otherwise destined for the compost bin! It’s a zero waste win.

Jake enjoying his favourite zero waste snack


For the Carters, Family Guide to Waste Free Living book, head to https://www.booktopia.com.au/a-family-guide-to-waste-free-living-lauren-carter/prod9781760783051.html#customer-reviews-tab


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snack series – kale chips

Kale is a really diverse and delicious vegetable, that is packed full of goodness. It’s also easily grown, therefore the farmers markets are abundant with winter kale right now. Although I think it’s delicious, many people think it tastes terrible. So today’s edition of the snack series is making kale taste delicious, by turning them into chips.

Beautiful winter kale I bought from the farmers market, don’t forget the produce bags!

Recipe

Every recipe for kale chips is essentially the same, all you’re doing is roasting kale in the oven with some choice spices. For this recipe I used smoked paprika and sumac. The only thing I would recommend is to buy the kale fresh from a farmer, as supermarket kale seems to lose a lot of it’s taste.

Bunch of kale
Olive oil
Spices of your choosing
Salt

Spices I chose for my kale chips

1. Preheat the oven to 120 degrees, wash the kale and let it dry.

Kale being washed

2. Chop up the kale into preferred size for snacking.

Chopped up kale into chip sizes

3. Place kale on a tray, add the oil, spices and salt to your preferred taste.

Kale ready to go into the oven

4. Pop the kale in the oven for around 30 minutes, stir half way through. I’ve found that letting them roast in low temperature for longer, yields for a better result. Take them out of the oven and let them cool, and store them in a container for around 3 days.

Finished kale chips

Because these don’t store for long, kale chips aren’t ideal for meal prep. But they don’t take long to make and are extremely satisfying for those salty cravings. I absolutely love these kale chips as an alternative to potato chips, and I’m avoiding the waste in the process! Next up in the snack series I think will be homemade popcorn!


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snack series – roasted chickpeas

My favourite thing in the world is to snack, but most of favourite store bought snacks are certainly not zero waste friendly. I needed to fill in those gaps between meals where I’m hankering for something sweet or salty. So the snack series was born, which is my attempt at creating a bunch of zero waste friendly, vegan, healthier snacks. Today’s edition of the snack series, is roasted chickpeas.

Recipe

I am a big follower of the Zero Waste Chef, and I’ve been using an adjusted version of this recipe for my roasted chickpeas. It’s nothing complicated, and no real measurements. It’s also vegan and gluten-free!

Some of my dried chickpeas

In an attempt to avoid metal cans, I buy my chickpeas dried and in bulk from Unpacked. They are super cheap, I buy a kg each time for around $10. Funnily enough I store them in an old hummus container! Buying them dried means there’s a little extra work involved in the process, but definitely worth it for the taste benefits. Here is everything you need:

A cup or so of dried chickpeas
Oil
Spices of your choosing
Salt

Some pink salt, sumac and paprika I use for seasoning

1. Soak chickpeas in water and cover for 6 or so hours, but you could also soak them overnight. I used 1 cup of chickpeas for this batch.

Soaking chickies

2. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees. Pop the chickpeas and a bit of water into a saucepan and cook them until soft, around 30 minutes or so.

Cooked chickies

3. Pop the cooked chickpeas onto a towel and pat them dry, doesn’t have to be perfectly dry though.

Drying chickies

4. Put the chickpeas onto a baking tray and add the oil and seasoning of your choosing. Stir the chickpeas around until fully coated. I used paprika and sumac, but any spice will do! Put the chickpeas in the oven for around 30 minutes and stir regularly. My oven is shit though so it might take less time in a good oven.

Pre-cooked chickies with spices

5. The chickpeas should turn a beautiful, golden brown. Take them out of the oven and let cool, they taste best when they are still warm! Store in a jar for a couple of weeks, but they haven’t lasted that long in my house.

The finished product

This is the easiest little treat to make to cure the salty pre-dinner cravings. They are somewhat healthy with nothing bad in them! You could make an enormous batch to last a week, so they are also great for meal prep. Next in my snack series is kale chips!


For Zero Waste Chef original roasted chickpea recipe, head to https://zerowastechef.com/2017/10/11/roasted-chickpeas/


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