Our four month challenge to explore ways to reduce our waste has come to an end, but the lessons learned by those of us taking part mean that it’s only the beginning of their waste-less journey. The low-waste challenge concluded with a group celebration in Wellington recently, at which participants shared their wins.
Hannah and Danielle from the Catholic Workers’ Berrigan House at Victoria University joined in the challenge, and they shared how the house had stopped purchasing milk in plastic bottles from the supermarket and had transitioned back to sourcing it from a local farm in a reusable bucket. Hannah acknowledged “it’s been challenging in our home. We did a rubbish audit and realised a lot of stuff we could be doing better.”
Mel McKenzie from our Kelburn parish whānau told us of her family’s changes, including making bread, toilet training the youngest child (no more nappies!), utilising beeswax wraps, and remembering to use paper or reusable bags at the supermarket. Caleb from Wellington’s Stillwaters Christian Community shared about their new compost bin and the food collection initiative they have with local bakeries, whilst a big win from a Newtown Urban Vision team was repurposing soy milk tetrapaks into trays, tote bags, and woven and strung up stars.
Rosemary and Joyce from our Karori parish whānau displayed a new tote bag upcycled from an old t-shirt, and told us how their team had also begun making their own bread, purchasing more products in bulk using their own containers, selling mesh produce bags at church, and creating beautiful bin signs for church featuring the Lorax. Cherie from St. Andrew’s Plimmerton reminded us of a friend’s new project to build walls from plastic bricks. Maggie from Wellington’s Mount Cook Urban Vision team told us of their goal for the Rubbish Revolution – to use no more than one rubbish bag every three months. They were so successful that they ended up adopting a new goal!
In addition to the personal endeavours of the teams, a few groups took the challenge beyond their homes and churches and lobbied the government to establish a bottle deposit scheme. Three of our teams, in partnership with local bottle deposit scheme advocates, Kiwi Bottle Drive, championed pop-up bottle drives in their communities. As a result, Minister Eugenie Sage has announced a beverage container scheme will return to New Zealand with the promise of increased recycling rates, a cleaner environment, and consumers receiving ‘cash for their trash’.
Thank you to everyone who participated in the Rubbish Revolution. If you did the Rubbish Revolution and want to share some of your best tips and hacks, we’d like to gather together some of the best advice from our revolutionaries into a resource that all of us can use in our homes, churches and offices. Email your lessons / tips / hacks to Elise Ranck on firstname.lastname@example.org.