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Zero Waste in the South Island Part One: The 6 Day Tramp

Hello all! You may have noticed I have been majorly absent from my blog since the launch of the Community Fridge. I have been keeping busy with the community fridge, answering inquiries, working, the usual life stuff, and trying to throw in a good work/life balance by taking lots of mini holidays. So far this year I have been camping in the far North (Tapotupotu near Cape Reinga), WWOOFing in Raglan, tramping and road tripping the South Island, volunteering at WOMAD (New Plymouth) and WWOOFing on Waiheke Island. I have a few more breaks booked in, including a yoga retreat this weekend and a trip to Australia to visit my family. If you want to follow along with my adventures, I tend to keep my Instagram fairly up to date.
Earlier this year I went to the South Island for a wee tramping/exploring holiday with my friends. I haven’t done many multi-day hikes since starting my waste free journey, only over night hikes, so this provided a new challenge for me.Myself, the BF and two close frie…

2016 Rubbish Update: 6 Months of Trash

Our rubbish bin contents from January to mid June
I mentioned at the beginning of the year that we (the BF & I) were now keeping track of our rubbish in a small bin we kept in our room. Looking back at that blog post, which was our December 2015 rubbish update it is really interesting for me to see how far we have come. I figured it was time I give an update on our rubbish progress for the year. I actually sorted and took photos of our trash back in mid June, so this update is for the first 6 months of the year only. There was a bit of a delay in writing this post, mainly cause I took a few holidays and then procrastinated this post while I wrote the others. My apologies!

Firstly, what is NOT in the bin?

  • Recycling and compost, or anything reused or diverted from landfill. We very rarely have plastic recycling, mainly glass and paper. We also very rarely buy tin food, I tend to avoid it as the tin cans often have plastic linings and I have since learned how to survive without having tinned food as the staples of my pantry. We are also pro composters, I first got my compost bin about 8 years ago.
  • The BF's trash slip ups; he does an excellent job at supporting me and I know he actively avoids single use items, however this is my journey. He has actually done an amazing job at trying to go waste free, and I know that he has only had a couple of Styrofoam containers and one takeaway coffee cup this year.
  • Rubbish from communal household items; I live in a flat and while I try to influence what products we buy sometimes someone else buys a certain product. For instance, someone once bought  individually wrapped dishwasher tablets. We normally buy ecostore tablets which comes with biodegradable wrapping.

Here is the (landfill) trash we generated over the first 6 months of the year:

  • Plastic handle from a large bag of flour
  • Wrist bands from concerts
  • Thermal lined paper from my car registration (yes I own a car, I do live in Auckland!)
  • Random stickers and food tags
  • Plastic ribbon
  • Plastic swing tags from second hand purchases
  • K tape from the physio
  • Cartridges from a vape 
  • Random assortments of plastic pieces including from wrist bands at Splore and WOMAD
  • An old sim car & a new sim card pack
  • Plastic straws (which I always refuse)
  • Clothing tag
  • Plastic tape from a package 
  • Plastic seals from glass jars
  • Plasters
  • Dental floss
  • Flea treatment packets for the cat
  • A manky old elastic sock (who knows where the other one went)
  • Pill packets
  • Packaging from a box of Red Seal tea I thought was loose (I was so mad!)
  • Packaging from food items I already had

Soft Plastics

I have kept all of our soft plastics for the year, I will take these to the nearest supermarket to be shipped to Melbourne as part of the REDcycle programme. I try and avoid soft plastics at all costs, as sending my plastic overseas is not the best option. However soft plastics are particularly good at finding their way in to your home. For instance; the Auckland University alumni magazine comes plastic wrapped (does anyone know how to unsubscribe from this?). We have also received a few packages in plastic courier bags, and the BF's distilling sugars and yeasts often come in soft plastic or plastic foil.

Soft plastics from 7 months (plastic ruler for scale; this ruler is about 14 years old!)
Unfortunately the second half of the year has not gotten off to a good start so far. I accidentally was given a takeaway coffee cup, I got a really bad cold and my annual hut pass expired so I am now using single use hut tickets.
Riley & I with our trash audit from January to June. 

EDIT: One of my fellow UOA alumni has informed me how to change my subscription to Ingenio the Alumni magazine. Update your info here https://www.alumni.auckland.ac.nz/en/update-your-details.html I switched my preferences to electronic copy only.

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