Matthew and I have been doing our thinking out loud since the challenge finished 6 months ago.  We knew that we would continue to commit to living rubbish free and that we would embark on learning about other aspects of sustainable living but we didn’t know how things would take shape.

As it turns out,  some of our plans have taken on a bit of a life of their own.  For example, we assumed that this website ‘rubbish free year‘ would be a bit of a misnomer after the year was up and that it would be best to transfer the guide, links and anything else useful to the more general rubbishfree.com.  We planned to launch that site in the months immediately after the challenge.  However  ‘rubbish free year’ has been thriving post challenge.  Our biggest month ever was recently (May, over 10 thousand visits),  and we now get more hits and media inquiries from overseas  as news of what we did has spread.  People have been enjoying reading the blogs from start to finish.  As we are not ones to tamper with the  simple value of a story we decided to leave it all as it is for now.

We have kept up our rubbish free lifestyle, which we can gladly say remains in tact.  However there are a few caveats these days which result in us humbly trundling the bin out to the kerb every month or so: we have a rubbish producing flatmate (a friend who we live together with) and visiting friends now leave their rubbish with us,  and recently I have been putting out lead infected soil too! But our shopping habits are still rubbish free, and that’s the important thing.  Meanwhile our Rubbish Free consulting work has seen us making DVD’s and handbooks but its actually been unforeseen offers and ideas that have been our focus.  (More on that if/when things emerge from the pipeline stage).

And all along I have been blogging. It has turned out to be a solo effort as Matthew is temporarily struck with a sense of having nothing to  say – although he finds enough to say around here.  The blog roll is currently reflecting our struggle to work out what ‘sustainability’ means in practice and how we might continue to move toward that goal.   This is the original issue that paralyzed us into doing not much of anything and approaching it again, in all its nebulous glory,  is having a similar effect.  I am back to standing in the organic supermarket, holding a can of pasta sauce from Holland or Belgium with writing all over it that I can’t read wondering whether I would be better to buy local and non-organic. And even then,  there’s that niggle that I should have grown the buggers and bottled them myself.   We simply don’t know where (or how) to draw the line.

Its is such a privilege to blog about something and have people comment and help us work it through. However, partly because life has been busy we haven’t giving this process as much attention as we want to, I wanted to interview experts and experiment with car free weeks etc.  But alas, without the pressure of a challenge we seem to meander (at best), which doesn’t make for spectacular reading.  With this in mind we have decided we do need to specifically decide what our journey toward sustainability will look like.  It was the specific parameters of topic and time frame that made the Rubbish Free Challenge work for us, so we will see what we can come up with this time.  Once we have had a chance to work out what our next move will be we’ll let you know.  You never know, maybe Matthew will feel lead to say something.



  1. Mrs Green, July 13, 2009:

    It’s great to catch up with you and hear the latest. I’m always intrigued to know how people get on after their challenges are over.

    It’s great that your new habits are in place and you’re still living an environmentally conscious way. I can’t imagine ever going back to the way I was before; even if I pulled the plug on our website tomorrow.

    These habits are now part of us and our life together and it would just feel so BAD to throw too much stuff away!

    I’m so excited that people are still interested in what you are doing and you are getting offers / projects coming up. I can’t wait to see them materialise for you. You are a true inspiration and it’s been lovely to find out where you are at with your honest and refreshing read.

    Thank you!

  2. Christine, July 14, 2009:

    There are no easy answers I’ve found as rubbish free can well clash with whatever next step you decide to undertake.

    The can of pasta sauce shows your quandary exactly. If you grow the produce required to make the sauce, will it be organic produce even if it is local, saves air miles and any form of packaging? And do you have the time?

    I’m trying to balance those points and find that it affects the rubbish balance. If I didn’t have a compost heap because I grow my own mostly organically, I would be creating more waste by cooking from scratch.

    When I’m no longer fit enough to grow my own there will be a whole different balance to my sustainability.

    So many sides to every question.

  3. jen, November 5, 2009:

    I feel exactly the same way. Our blog is floundering since the end of our project 4 months ago. It’s not that we’re not passionate about trying to live with less waste, it’s that we don’t talk about it as much. I figure it’s either because we have the kinks worked out by now or because we are slightly embarrassed that we are back to buying toothpaste and cheese wrapped in plastic. . .

    Don’t worry. Your blog and project was and continues to be an inspiration. If anything, it shows how one action leads to more action (now you’re thinking sustainable food systems and local economies, where before it was only waste) .

    Looking forward to see your next path.

  4. jen, November 5, 2009:

    does your consulting business have a website, or is it just “consulting as consulting comes up”?

    We just do some consulting here and there as it turns up. Thanks.