By: Julia Schafer


We often find the new year is a great time to set intentions for how we want to live over the next 12 months and what changes we would like to make to be a better person, better community member, a better husband, wife, brother, sister or friend. If, like me, one of your goals is to help leave a lighter footprint on the planet, you are probably asking yourself: where do I start? Yes, it’s true waste in Australia has gotten out of control but everyone can make some small changes, baby steps if you like, to green up our homes while it can still make a difference.

So where to begin…

The kitchen is a great place to start and can be broken down into the following four areas: purchasing, cooking, cleaning and stroage.


Purchasing food and ingredients without excess packaging is tricky, particularly after COVID-19. Even my local bulk food store has had to package up its bulk goods and do away with tongs and the self-serve option.

  • Local markets are by far the best way to buy waste free produce
  • Remember to take your egg cartons to be refilled, and your bread bag to cram full of artisan breads
  • Make friends with the butcher and see if he will allow you to bring your own containers rather than wrapping your meat in single use plastic bags and paper
  • Honey from the beekeeper, jams and preserves in glass jars and if you are into buying yoghurt and dips, see if you can find a provider that is prepared to accept your previous containers back for refilling.
  • Don’t forget to take your keep cup and sit and enjoy the community atmosphere that comes with a local market


Most pots and pans go on forever particularly cast iron or enamel casserole dishes, in fact families pass these pieces down to the next generation. But this only happens if you buy quality cookware in the first place.

It’s important to consider your family’s health and avoid non-stick cookware containing PFAS, also called forever chemicals. Look for PFAS-free cookware and kitchen appliances such as those from GreenPan. They’ve recently released a PFAS-free Slow Cooker and Power Pan (a multi-cooker) which are available at Myer.


Dish washing is a thankless task but something we all do at least once a day. For waste free dish washer tabs choose ones that are septic system friendly, earth friendly and are packaged in cardboard boxes that can be composted down.

Ditch the toxic, packaged chemical cleaners and gather up some lemon, vinegar, bicarb soda, salt and essential oils which are really the only ingredients you need to make all the chemical free and waste free cleaning products for around your home.


Glass storage jars are as easy to pick up as asking your friends and family to save jars for you. Those big Moccona coffee jars are excellent, and you are reusing something that would end up in recycling. People feel a bit weird about freezing glass but let me tell you it truly isn’t a problem as long as you leave an air gap to allow for the frozen products expansion.

Our family did away with plastic wrap years ago and replaced it with beeswax wraps. They are made from 100% cotton and natural beeswax and at the end of their useful life they can safely compost down or be fed to the worms. You can now buy these at health food and department stores.

I hope these ideas have given you some inspiration to make some greener choices in your home and if you would like more tips and tricks, head over to my website and together we can leave a lighter footprint on the planet.