Here are 8 fast tips for creating your own zero waste pantry that won't break the budget and will help you organise your food storage.
1. Repurpose and Use What You Have
There is no need to head out and buy a stack of matching jars.
Most people have way more containers than they need and this can be a great way to put them to use and free up your kitchen storage areas. I keep different sized jars from foods we have bought and have managed to find a few freebies along the way or at second-hand stores. (I think I have only purchased 4 of the containers in the photo above)
There are so many amazing pictures on Pinterest and Instagram of gorgeous pantries which I drool over….BUT making a big purchase of new glass jars is not necessary at all. Better to reuse and repurpose as much as you can.
2. Your Pantry Doesn't Have to Be Plastic Free
Plastic is still a good storage option.It’s not great for the planet, and it isn't suitable for all foodstuffs, but there is already so much in circulation (and probably in your house) that it seems silly not to use it.
Most of my Tupperware has been found in op-shops, and it really does last a long time and seals well to protect against pests.
3. Avoiding Plastic Packets
Have you noticed that buying food in packets forces you to get more than what you need?
By shopping in wholefoods or bulk locations you can choose how much you want and avoid storing too many items for a long period of time and risk them going stale.
Take small containers with you to the shops to cut back on single-use food packaging. Reusable cloth produce bags are another lightweight option, just make sure they have a drawstring!
4. Get Creative
You might notice some of my jars are actually glass drink bottles and tins can be super useful. As long as the container you choose is suitable for the product, it really doesn’t matter. I don’t label generally, however if you are going to purchase labels, make sure they are durable as the last thing you want is for these to fall off. I use a sharpie pen on some…especially flours as I use a variety of odd ones that I really don’t want to get mixed up and ruin my baking.
5. Rubber Band Hack
I hate the thought of dropping my glass jars so I have put a couple of rubber bands around them (some are actually rubber wristbands the kids keep collecting at parties). This also stops them banging together if you do need to take them to the shop and stops them sliding all over the place when you’re taking them out of the cupboard to use.
6. Keeping Food Fresh
Nuts, crackers, spices and a few other things really don’t taste great if they aren’t fresh or crunchy. To make sure you don’t lose your crunch or flavour, adjust your storage container size so that there isn’t too much air in the jar.
7. Less is More
Buying less variety can be a good strategy to staying organised. I don’t know if you can tell from the picture, but I have two different lots of soup legumes (I only need one) plus a variety of lentils, beans and other stuff that I could easily use to make up a soup mix.
If you have a good food processer, you can turn almonds into meal….oats into oatmeal, make LSA, and a ton of other stuff. By sticking to a wholefood, you have more options and require less variety when shopping and storing.
8. Eat What You Have and Shop Your Pantry First
If your pantry is getting overloaded like mine, how about eating through it before buying more?
We are planning to eat our way through a lot of this before we restock and we are always trying to tweak our habits to simplify our life and prefer to do staple shopping once a month or less. This will make room for what we use regularly and some items I rarely use these days I just won’t bother restocking like coconut flour and chia seeds.
Got any simple tips for a zero waste pantry? I'd love to hear them, add the in the comments below!