Easy, waste-busting recipes for food and drink

Easy, waste-busting recipes for food and drink

Whenever we do our talks, we provide zero waste nibbles, free of charge, as a way of demonstrating that it’s possible to create easy snacks and treats without the packaging. We focus on recreating the kinds of pre-made, convenience foods that people would otherwise buy in a packet, things like muesli bars, crackers and dips.

We decided to share our recipes because we want to help people to live low-waste (and because lots of people have asked for them!). All these recipes have been developed in New Zealand, using ingredients that are relatively easy to find across the country without packaging. We invite you to maintain the spirit and energy with which we have shared these recipes with you (that is, our ongoing work to achieve a zero waste future and to help others be a part of this too), by challenging yourself to make these recipes without producing waste.

Some things to note:

  • These recipes will only produce “zero waste” food if you buy the ingredients unpackaged. To find out where you can buy unpackaged ingredients in your region, please check our Regional Zero Waste Shopping Guides. We have made all these recipes in virtually every part of New Zealand we have visited on The Rubbish Trip so far, so it should be possible to get the ingredients with little or no packaging wherever you are in the country.
  • We make our recipes up as we go along, often changing them on the spot if we reckon they need it. So, you might find our instructions less precise or guided than you may be used to (we aren’t food bloggers after all!), but hopefully our slapdash/vague methods are still useful.
  • Our recipes are no-frills and no-fuss so you may want to develop them if you’re into something fancier.
  • Our recipes are suitable for people who lead busy lives on low budgets (though less busy people with lots of money can make them too!) because they are quick and easy, require few ingredients and are low cost. They have developed this way because of the practicalities of The Rubbish Trip: we do all the catering for our events ourselves (it’s the only way to ensure that the food will definitely be made following zero waste principles) and we don’t have time to faff around because we’re on the road, cooking in other people’s kitchens, doing talks every few days. As we run our entire project on $20 a day (which includes our own daily expenses), we can’t be making expensive things either – we look out for low-cost, local ingredients. Somehow we manage to achieve all this while using mostly organic ingredients, and most also fairtrade. Contrary to popular conceptions, sustainable, ethical living does not have to be time-consuming or unaffordable (though it can be, it just depends on how you approach it).

We’ve created a key to help with identifying dietary requirements:

  • GF = Gluten-free
  • WF = Wheat-free
  • NF = Nut-free
  • OF = Oil-free
  • RSF = Refined Sugar Free
  • RAW = Raw
  • V+ = Vegan

Recipe list (click on the header for each category of food/drink to go to the recipes)


  • Tea and infusions
  • Milk and Non-Dairy Milk
  • Ginger beer (coming soon)

Condiments, Spreads and Bread

  • Vegemite/Marmite alternative (GF, NF, OF, RSF, V+)
  • Nut/Seed Butter (GF, OF, V+, can be NF)
  • Apple Cider Vinegar (V+, GF, OF, NF)
  • Sourdough bread making (GF, OF, V+)


  • Sunflower Seed and Tomato Dip (GF, V+, RAW, OF, NF)
  • Green Pesto (GF, V+, OF)
  • Hummus (GF, V+, OF, NF)
  • Muhammara Dip (GF, V+, RAW, OF)


  • Pea flour crackers (GF, NF, V+)
  • Oat crackers (V+, NF)
  • Walnut and Rice Flour Crackers (W-F, V+, O-F)

Energy bars

  • “I Have Nothing in My Pantry and No Time to Spare” Muesli Bars (Wheat-free, Oil-Free, RSF, can be Nut-free)
  • Muesli Bars (WF, OF, RSF, V+, can be NF)
  • Simple Bliss Balls/Energy Balls (GF, O-F, RSF, V+)
  • An Alternative to LCM Bars (W-F, OF, V+, can be NF)

Sprouted salads (+ how to sprout and why it’s the best thing ever!) – coming soon!

Sweet treats

  • Your Favourite Cake to a Winning Formula (can be V+, can be OF, can be NF, can be RSF)
  • Lemon Coconut Cookies (V+)
  • Fruit Crumble (V+, can be OF, NF, GF, RSF)
  • Mug Cakes
  • Anzac Cookies (coming soon…)
  • Chewy Ginger Cookes (coming soon…)

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