Reduce waste at home
Ditch plastic shopping bags
Take reusable fabric bags or boxes whenever you shop.
Empty bags blow away to make pollution on land and waterways, are broken by sunlight into small particles that may be eaten by animals, birds and fish (who get no food value from them) and persist for a long time when buried in landfills. They are made mostly from non-renewable oil or gas, occasionally from corn starch.
In 2018, the New Zealand Government implemented a plastic bag ban. This means that from July 1st 2019, all retail stores and supermarkets are not able to give out plastic bags (if they do they can be fined) This ban includes plant based plastic bags as they also pose hazards to fauna and flora.
Most currently labelled 'compostable' will only do so in perfect warm oxygen-rich conditions, and not in a sealed, cold, airless landfill.
New Zealanders previously used 1.6 billion short life plastic bags each year.
Sometimes enjoying food and drinks while out and about involves unwanted waste, such as plastic containers and plastic straws. Avoid this by having an ‘On-the-go-kit’ in the car that includes your shopping bags, reusable produce bags, your reusable cup, reusable containers for purchasing take aways and reusable stainless steel straws such as those from Metalworks Wanaka.
The best way to make sure you actually use your reusables is to buy ones you love. If you get a coffee cup you like the look and feel of, you will be more likely to remember it and if you have a reusable drink bottle you love, you will drink more water and less bought fizzy stuff!
See One Planet Composting page on this great way to reduce landfill, reduce greenhouse gas (inc. methane) emissions and feed your garden veg!
Reduce junk mail
Over 44% of printed circulars are never read, so why accept them? EcoMailbox website provides a service for people who choose to receive promotional information from retail and mail order businesses via email, instead of through their letterbox.
As an alternative, display a mailbox sticker to say 'no junk mail' or 'no circulars except community newspapers'. These may be available from local Council offices or can be requested by mail (send a stamped self-addressed A5 or DL size envelope) from Sustainable Living Education Trust, PO Box 58, Geraldine 7956.
Donate to second-hand shops or use 'Freecycle'
Domestic items, furniture and clothing that are not obviously saleable yet too good to dismantle for recovery of materials might be re-used by someone else, so make a connection with charity and opportunity shops which specialise in this, using Yellow Pages search (remember to insert your local town or region), local Facebook buy/sell/exchange groups or use web-based Freecycle
In Timaru the Crows Nest reuse shop is an example.
Love Food - Hate Waste
Every year we Kiwis send 157,398 tonnes of food to landfill. Not only is wasting food costing us money and nutrition, it is also bad for the environment. Once sealed in landfill, the decaying food generates methane gas.
Learn more with Future Living Skills & Rubbish Free Year
A learning guide on 'waste minimisation at home' designed for groups in discussion is available to download free across NZ, once you register your location and email address at Sustainable Living website
Reduce your chemical exposure
Ecostore reduces impact on the environment by finding alternatives to toxic chemicals often used in cleaning and bodycare products.
On average women have 480 monthly periods and may use 12,000 tampons or pads over that time to absorb menstrual blood. It takes those tampons over 500 years to break down in a landfill
Try reusable pads and menstrual cups as alternatives. For example, MyCup NZ has educational resources