Rubbish Free Year Blog

Psychology for a better world

I find it very easy to slip into disillusionment when it comes to the reckless, irresponsible and naive ways in which our species is interacting with this world. This week I read an article in The Herald suggesting that with record Arctic ice melting many scientists believe that the worst case scenario predictions regarding climate […]

Closing down sale!

Change is afoot at Rubbish Free! Just over two years ago we rehashed the Rubbish Free website to try and make it easier for folk to reduce the amount of landfill rubbish leaving their homes. We did this by adding the┬áRubbish Free Guide, a searchable database of ideas and tips on reducing landfill rubbish and […]

Rubbish photos…um, I mean, Photos of Rubbish!

This week I came across the Plastic Is Rubbish blog. Based out of the UK these guys are trying to live without plastic and blogging about it, but they also have set up a Flickr account with beautiful, but disturbing, photos of rubbish in nature, like this one; They are eager to gather more images, […]

Kid’s parties – help!

We recently received an email from Georgina asking; i wondered if any of your readers would have suggestions for a rubbish free childrens party? Reusable plates etc are easy. The hard part is the compulory goody bag (it really is) which usually has a) way too may sweets and b) loads of really throaway plasticy […]

Volvo Ocean Race

This weekend I was lucky to be able to head down to the Auckland Viaduct, joining the other 250,000 people who came through the week to check out the Volvo Ocean Race Village. It was a fantastic atmosphere and awesome to be able to get right up close to the boats as the crew were […]

Older is better? We’ll see.

A couple of weeks ago I received an email from Dee in Nelson. The email was equal parts enquiring and venting. Like many, Dee was expressing her frustration at what appears to be a built in obsolescence to the appliances we buy for our homes. A few years ago friends of ours had their heater, […]

Stock with bumps and bruises means a great deal for you!

Many years ago I had a job merchandising products in supermarkets. It amazed me the amount of stock that would arrive, or become, damaged on it’s way from manufacturer to customer. The standard practice was for the retailer to return the product for a refund, whereby the manufacturer would destroy it. Considering the amount of […]

Spring update

Well, I hope like us you’re enjoying the signs that Spring is well and truly here! We’ve got lots of seeds planted which seem to get moved ten times a day; inside overnight, out into the sun in the morning, under the porch when it starts bucketing down, out into the sun…good ol’ Auckland weather! […]

Renovation rubbish & the perils of buying second hand

In stark contrast to our supermarket bag of rubbish from 2008, this week we filled a massive 60 litre council bag and sent it off to landfill! The culprit? Renovations! A couple of weeks ago we moved from our ‘apartment in the sky’, to the suburbs on the North Shore of Auckland. The term ‘slum […]

Umbrellas…yep, I’m really going to write about umbrellas!

On Friday, while walking from the bus stop to work, I overheard an astute young high school student observe that umbrellas and wind don’t seem well matched. It was bucketing down at the time and his companion’s umbrella had just turned inside out. I have to admit, that it was with a certain amount of […]

We’re ditching the car!

Recently I’ve been reading a book called; ‘What’s Mine Is Yours: The rise of collaborative consumption’. In it, Rachel Botsman and Roo Rogers outline the increasing phenomenon of sharing, bartering, lending, trading, renting, gifting, and swapping. Not being ones to miss out on the action we’ve decided to jump on board and give it a […]

Eco-consumers, keep shouting!

You may not have heard of Unilever, but there is a fairly high chance you’ve used or purchased one of their products. Unilever is a British / Dutch multinational company which, according to Wikipedia, owns over 400 brands, employs 160,000 staff and had a revenue of around 44 billion dollars in 2010. In NZ we’re […]


Today I had a phone call from Mary in Christchurch who was querying what to do with some spent AA batteries she had lying around. It inspired me to update the information in the Guide on the subject, and reproduce it here… The main issue with batteries is the heavy metals contained within them. Disposable, […]

NZ’s Best & Worst Packaging Awards 2011

This is a fantastic idea! The crew at Wanaka Wastebusters have come up with a way for folk to nominate the best, and more importantly, worst, examples of packaging in NZ, at So, nows the time to vent all your frustration with overpackaged fruit wraps, (what’s wrong with fresh fruit?), and eggplants on styrofoam […]

All fired up for 2011!

When I was a kid, one of my favourite books, (and probably a strong influence on my adult worldview), was The Sneetches by Dr Seuss. The book covers issues such as consumerism, prejudice, and discrimination, but the reason I mention it here is for the purposes of a simple analogy. In the book, there is […]

So long 2010!

Wow, what a year! When the year began neither Waveney or I had any idea what it held, as we loaded up the car and moved north to Auckland from our hometown, Christchurch. After a few false starts, it is ending with both of us working in paid employment we love, and a new and […]

Eat lunch then brush your teeth Rubbish Free!

This week we received our latest shipment of bamboo toothbrushes, and we’ve now got three types in the Store! The original brush has been rebranded as ‘soft’ and is joined by a ‘child soft’ version with a shorter handle. The third brush is a ‘medium’ bristle brush for those who like a bit more firmness […]

Love your Coast

This week the ‘Love Your Coast’ campaign is kicking off with 1500 volunteers heading to Rangitoto today to pick up rubbish along the coastline and is supported by Jack Johnson. The campaign is aimed at cleaning rubbish from Aotearoa’s coastline as well as raising awareness of the huge impact rubbish is having on our coastline […]


Juliet’s gard…sorry…Waveney’s garden, has aphids! Who knew that aphids could reach the 33rd floor, but there they are, crawling all over the lettuces in particular and having a good ol’ time. Apparently aphids are spread by the wind, so I guess that explains them finding Nirvana up here, and they are one of the most […]

Anyone got some spare sheep kidney fat?

Today I’m fighting a cold. I woke with a sore throat and as the morning has progressed it has been joined by a slightly runny nose, slightly achy muscles, and a slightly fuzzy brain. It’s like a kind of scale, after ‘slightly’ comes ‘moderately’ and then it peaks with ‘really’. So, four vitamin C tablets […]

A Juliet Garden

I love the creativity real estate agents show when listing properties, and I wasn’t disappointed to hear that our balcony is affectionately called a ‘Juliet Balcony’. Presumably, its because there is just enough room for Juliet to stand on to call down to her lover. If he did manage to scale the 33 floors to […]

Here’s some challenges for you – with prizes!

Jules is the co-ordinator of the Lyttelton Time Bank and she has issued the Rubbish Free Community with a challenge! Every year the Time Bank helps with two street festivals, one is summer and the other in winter. We have thoroughly enjoyed the winter one when living in Christchurch as there is an emphasis on […]

Good, Better, Best!

This whole rubbish free thing is a bit of a roller coaster! During the weekend we went down to our local Farmer’s Market and bought spinach, bok choi and asparagus. We would’ve bought a whole lot more but all that great organic food was wrapped up snug in plastic packaging…arghhh! So, the next step there […]

Rubbish free on the 33rd floor!

We don’t mean to be extreme, honest! But after having spent the last two months living amongst beautiful native bush and birds in the Waitakeres, we’ve now moved into a 34sqm apartment, on the 33rd floor, in the Auckland CBD! It has one bedroom, and what is affectionately called a ‘Juliet balcony’ – it is […]


Probably the most commonly asked question, in relation to our trying to live rubbish free, is; ‘what is the most difficult part’. Up until now I’ve generally answered either, ‘being prepared for spontaneity, such as the impromptu bbq on a Sunday afternoon’, or ‘nachos’. But that was because the real answer was much too difficult […]