Pantry Essentials for a No-Waste Kitchen

It's often said that the kitchen is the heart of the home, so where better to start when trying to cut down on waste and get organised?

One of the areas of waste in the kitchen is our food: it's estimated that 20% of the food we purchase in Australia is wasted. The sheer volume of this is disturbing. Especially in relation to the fact that 2 million people rely on food relief in Australia each year.

However, it's also important to envisage the decomposing vegetables en masse, producing huge amounts of methane gas, which, over a five-year period, traps 100 times the amount of heat in the atmosphere than c02 leading to increased global warming.

One of the best ways to prevent food waste is to plan your meals in advance, and nothing helps more than having a full stock of pantry essentials.


Beans: Beans are an amazing flexible food staple – great for side dishes, salads or in pasta. They contains high amounts of fibre and protein, so they're a boost for your nutrition as well.

Rice and pasta: Easy and versatile side dish or a quick main dish with simple stir-ins such as chopped veggies and protein.

Flour: Make sure that you've always got flour on hand to whip up some bread, pancakes or muffins! Also great for thickening soups and sauces.

Potatoes, garlic and onions: Versatile veggies that add flavour and substance, plus they last heaps longer than lots of other vegetables.

Read: 10 perfectly good food scraps you're probably throwing away

Dried herbs: Can be used add pizzazz to any dish, and are used in a range of DIYs for your home to add aroma to your home.

Vinegar and Oil: Use together or separately to make dressings and/or enhance flavour of a dish. Bonus: you can do a TONNE of cleaning using olive oil. (and here's 11 Ways to use vinegar around the house)

Pasta sauce: Stir into hot cooked pasta or boiled veggies for a super-quick meal. Make a big batch of your own pasta sauce ahead and keep some on hand for weeknights when the idea of cooking from scratch just seems like too much work.

Canned tomatoes: Use in everything from casseroles to pasta, curries to soups.

Stock: Make quick sauces and soups. You can even make your own stock by boiling leftover or overripe veggies, and then store them in recycled jars.

Bi-carb soda: All hail this magical substance that can be used for everything from cooking to cleaning, skincare to DIY.

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Dried or canned lentils, chickpeas and other legumes: These protein-packed plants cane be used as the base for curries, for bulking up soups and casseroles, and can even be transformed into amazing meat-free burger patties. They're also cost-effective and nutritious: wins all round!

Soya sauce: If you don't have this in your pantry, you're missing out. Soya is amazingly versatile, and can be used in thousands of recipes, from homemade sushi to stir-fries.

What have we missed? Let us know your pantry staples in the comments below!

Why is it important?

Everything we buy and consume has its own carbon footprint story embedded in producing it and getting it to you. As shoppers and consumers, we have the power to drive change in:

  • What we buy, and therefore what gets produced and offered for sale
  • How we use and maintain things, and
  • What we do with them when we don't want them anymore, or they've reached end-of-life.

Try this next: How to make homemade citrus cleaner

Images: Shutterstock

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