Reduce waste and rubbish

The land of the long white cloud is fast becoming the land of the overflowing landfill with Kiwi’s sending over 3 million tonnes of rubbish to this end each year. This equates to the equivalent 126,000 20ft shipping containers or 315,000 single decker buses being buried with all their contents, all their chemicals and all their components that leach into the ground and will outlive us by several centuries. Left behind for our future generations to manage…

And are running out of official “holes in the ground”, with new landfill sites being set up on private farming land quietly behind closed doors. China no longer takes our unwanted plastics for recycling- so we have to figure out ways to reduce, reuse, repurpose and reallocate our rubbish, and fast.

Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.

Barack Obama

The uprising of public pressure to reduce single use plastics is gaining more and more momentum, with big business starting to take notice. To reduce our landfill problems further we all need to do a lot more and this can be as simple as incorporating some easy changes at home and work. Here’s part one of our combined office thoughts for tips to reduce day to day rubbish.

  1. Reusable shopping bags, if you haven’t got these yet, you have been living under a big rock. You’ll be forced to organise yourself very soon with the Government eyeing mandatory changes for all retailers in 2019 – or it will cost you and the planet a lot of money!
  2. Stop buying single serve soft drinks and water in bottles and cans, take your own cup or bottle for water or better still – reduce or stop your purchasing of soft drinks and save your wallet, your health and the planet.
  3. Don’t throw out reuseable household furniture and junk. These items can have a second life in the community through a junk removal and reallocation service.
  4. Bring your own coffee or tea cup to the café you go to each day and refuse the takeaway cups lids, the stirrers and single serve sachets of sugar.
  5. If you make your own hot drinks, avoid single use capsule and sachets for coffee and other hot drinks- unless they can be composted.
  6. Pack your own lunch, or at the café sit (good for your mental health too) for 15 minutes and eat off a washable plate and refuse plastic cutlery with take outs. If you visit the same place regularly for take out lunch- bring your own container. Businesses like St Pierre’s sushi are now offering discounts for customers who bring their own containers to pick up their lunchtime sushi.
  7. Set up your own composting bin and/or worm farm system at home and at work. If this is not possible then offer food scraps to people or community groups with a compost or worm bin, or for those that keep chickens or pigs.
  8. Take clean egg cartons and plastic berry boxes to your local farmers markets to see if they can be reused. (They also make great crafting stuff for kids and kindergartens).
  9. Buy food in bulk with a group of friends/ family or work colleagues. Organisations like Ceres offer easy online options and deliver to work or home. Then decant into glass storage containers and old glass jars for your pantry.
  10. You can do the same with meat (if you eat it)- buy in bulk direct from the farmers and reduce the amount of plastic packaging, trays and cling wrap which is also bad for our health.
  11. Borrow books and magazines from your library or buy from second hand stores. Or, investigate many of the amazing online e reading opportunities that exist these days. Auckland libraries offer an e book service for example.

Do you have any other suggestions for reducing your rubbish?

We’d love to hear them.