By Sarah Brookes TWO Mundaring mothers’ dream of a life with zero waste is a step closer after opening the doors to their bulk grocery food store The Wasteless Pantry this month. Business partners Amanda Welschbillig and Jeannie Richardson said it was an opportunity for people to minimise food wastage and stop food packaging going to landfill. “Jeannie and I were both concerned about the environment and after we read the book “Zero Waste Home” by Bea Johnson we knew there was so much more that we could be doing,” she said. “We started adopting suggestions to reduce our waste, but were struck by the lack of wasteless shopping options locally. “We started car pooling and driving around 45 minutes to options in other areas. “It wasn’t long before we realised that this was not sustainable and we longed for someone to make it easier for us to be able to shop the way we wanted much closer to home.” Mrs Welschbillig said retailers were reluctant to provide waste-free shopping. “When we approached a few retailers locally it became clear that they weren’t going to provide this service for us so if we really wanted to live a wasteless lifestyle we would have to do it ourselves. “There are a number of businesses offering loose bulk foods but as far as we are aware no other food business in Perth offers all their food package free and actively encourages you to bring your own containers.” Mrs Welschbillig urged those daunted by the concept to start small and be brave. “Come in and talk to us about the concept, see it in action and just start with one container of food,” she said. “Once you get started this actually makes life easier and gives you more time. “As you need to be more organised with your shopping you don’t make so many unnecessary trips to the store and when you get home you just put your container back in the cupboard and you’re done. “Plus there is less time wasted taking the rubbish out to the bin.’’ Mrs Welschbillig added reducing choices is also a major advantage. “When you shop at wasteless stores you have to choose between foods not packets. “You simply decide whether you want cashews or almonds, not whether you want this brand of cashews or that or whether to get a 50g packet for this price or 500g for that. “You also have the advantage of saving money by not buying more than you need that will ultimately get wasted.” Mrs Welschbillig said the rising cost of landfill had seen a growing shift towards a more package-free existence. “I think a raised awareness of the amount of rubbish we create as prices increase is helping to bring this issue to the foreground,” she said. “However I think many are focused on the cure for waste with waste-to-energy plants and increased recycling rather than the most simple preventative measures such as bringing your own containers.’’ The pair have more than halved their waste production. Ms Richardson said she put one small bag of rubbish to go to landfill out each week for her household of five and her recycling bin was never full.
About Sarah Brookes
Sarah is an award-winning journalist (2016 WA Media Awards - Best Three Suburban Newspaper Stories) who has covered our Mundaring and Kalamunda editions since 2011. She went to Eastern Hills Senior High School before studying chemistry and biology at university. Staring down a microscope two years into her degree she realised a future in science wasn’t for her – journalism was. Sarah lived in Europe before re-settling in Darlington, where her family has lived for three generations, with her two children. She has worked for various government agencies and Media Monitors. Sarah is a media junkie who loves talkback radio and devours the weekend papers.