Hi there! We are Matthew Luxon and Waveney Warth and this site has emerged out of a year long challenge we set ourselves that became known as the Rubbish Free Year.
From 1st February 2008 through to 1st February 2009 we tried to avoid creating any landfill waste from our home in Christchurch, Aotearoa New Zealand.
We suceeded in only throwing one supermarket bag of rubbish out for the year. Although the standard has slipped, we still live with very little rubbish. In 2016 we put out one rubbish wheelie bin.
Click on the magazine images to read articles on the year, or click here to see the first of three TV3 Campbell Live stories on the challenge.
The aim was to create new habits in order to further our journey towards living lightly on the earth. We really enjoyed the challenge and continue to live ‘rubbish free’.
When we were doing the challenge we lived with our dog and two chickens in Christchurch, New Zealand, where Matthew was working 30 hours a week, and Waveney part time hours plus study. We have no kids. We have a car but bike a lot. We eat meat, but not every day. Within 5kms we did have a bulk foods store, butcher, baker and organic store and also had a section large enough to garden and deal with our own organic waste.
We’ve now relocated to Auckland, New Zealand and continue our rubbish free lifestyle whilst house sitting around the city. We’ve been heartened to find that living rubbish free is not dependent on having land. We now live the equivalent of an apartment lifestyle and are pulling it off, so there’s no excuses!
Although you may not call people with chickens in urban areas ‘normal’, that’s what we are calling ourselves, i.e. up until the start date of our rubbish free challenge we were still buying food in plastic, take-a-ways in styrofoam, and toothpaste in throw away plastic tubes. We didn’t know a great deal about what we were doing when we started and are hoping this can be an encouragement to others who, like us, would like to know and do more. We have moved to Auckland to be closer to family and are house sitting. This makes living rubbish free a bit more of a challenge as we constantly need to find new sympathetic shops wherever we are house sitting at the time, but we’re getting there!
The question we are most often asked with regard to living rubbish free is; ‘What do you do about….?’ We never get sick of this question, constantly challenging ourselves to have a good rubbish free alternative to hand and it is also from this question that the concept of having a searchable database of products and ideas that make living lightly in the world a lot easier formed. If you do, or you have a better suggestion than what we have listed here, we’d love to hear it so please email so we can update the database. Over time, together, we should be able to create a fantastic resource for those wanting to reduce the amount of rubbish they create.
Cut to the chase! What are the basics…
Exercising your consumer power! We choose not to buy anything that is has non recyclable packaging or is in itself junky, plasticy, disposable etc
Ask friends and family not to bring (or send) any rubbish to your home - beware the humble packet of biscuits!
Make things yourselves to avoid packaging, for example baking bread and muesli bars.
Reduce… Reuse… Rehome… Recycle… the four Rs are a big part of the plan to eliminate rubbish
Compost: We had two systems on the go, a standard one for food scraps and lawn clippings, and a longer term one for things that take a bit longer to break down, like nail clippings, hair and cotton. Now we travel about with a bokashi bin with family, friends and community gardens benefiting from the resultant highly nutritious matter.
Reusing: waste not, want not. That container, string etc just might come in handy - but we don’t keep any more than we can use.
Rehoming: Just because it is junk for us doesn’t mean that someone wouldn’t want it.
Gardening and maybe some preserving etc (ugh! sounds like hard work).
Buying second hand: This is the only way to buy some things that usually come with packaging when new.
Recycling: paper, cans, and whatever plastics are accepted in your town.