Rubbish Free with kids!

We did our challenge 8 years ago. Over that time, I couldn’t count the number of times parents have been impressed with our “one year one bag” achievement until they learn that we don’t have children.
“You have no idea” they say. “You should try taking on my two-year-old.” Any sense of environmental inferiority is quickly replaced by a self-assurance Matthew and I are living in some weird alternate reality and that living rubbish free simply can’t apply their family. There is nothing I can say to this. There’s no come back and everyone knows it. The childless couple can’t give time management advice, or worse, suggest labour intensive rubbish free parenting tips.

But over the years I have met many families who do manage children (their bowel motions, their expectations, their instant and constant need for food…) and manage amazing waste-less households. Most recently, Candace and Max of Glen Innes, Auckland, with school aged Nena and toddler Marcy have just completed a low key new year’s resolution to “waste less.” –But what’s happened is incredible. They ended up going completely hard core and didn’t put their Auckland Council rubbish wheelie bin out for one whole year, but that’s not all. They had baby too! I am in completely in awe of them. TV3 News aired their story last night.

Candace is also the author of one of my favourite blogs: Real Living, striving for a wasteless life. Here’s a link to the “one year one bin” post. Any time looking around this blog is time well spent as it’s full of great DIY tricks, recipes and inspiration galore.

If you are a parent of preschoolers and you are still reading, firstly thanks for being so gracious. Of course everyone has different circumstances, and taking on additional challenges may not be what your mental health is screaming out for right now. However, if you are up for seeing what big or little changes you could make check out Waste Free Parenting with Kate Meads (you may know her as the NZ famous Nappy Lady). The website is packed with product information and tips, and connects you with the Waste Free Parenting workshops offered throughout the country. The workshops are fun and usually include free or discounted products.

In the meantime, hat’s off to all the parents!

Candace (left) & Waveney (right)

Candace (left) & Waveney (right)


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  1. Feeling inspired in Wellington, January 19, 2016:

    First of all, thank you for this website! I have visited here before, and I love that it is a New Zealand site (homegrown!) And also, thank you for putting more information about the lovely couple that were featured on the news. Their recent news story really shone a light on something that I had been ignoring over the years. I needed some more inspiration, and now I have two places to get it from! Yay!! All the best.

  2. Bill Harris, February 4, 2016:

    Rubbish free with kids idea is genius! There is nothing more important from teaching the next generation to reuse, reduce and recycle. The sooner they start taking care about the environment the better for their health condition. Parents have the responsibility to show their children how to keep the planet cleaner.