Each year New Zealanders send about 2.5 million tonnes of waste to landfills.

That’s more than 1/2 a tonne of waste per household per year.

Landfills affect the environment by releasing powerful greenhouse gases, and can leach waste into soil and water, which pose a serious risk to humans and animals.
Nearly 3/4 of this waste could be kept out of landfill by recycling, reusing and recovering. That’s  a huge amount of waste that we can do something about.
The first step is to separate rubbish into categories.

There is plenty of waste in food preparation and consumption.
Tip number one is to collect all food waste and recycle it into the garden instead. Bury food scraps and you will be surprised how quickly they disappear. Tea bags and egg shells do break down but they take longer.
Our rubbish bin takes twice as long to fill now.

Collect food waste and bury in the garden.
Break down egg shells to a fine powder before disposal.
Do not add meat, however I do throw a chicken carcass out for the birds to peck on before I dispose of the bones.
That’s if I’m not using the bones to make stock of course.
Burying food scraps in the garden helps to break it down fast.

Most food scraps have almost completely disappeared in just one month.
Burying in a separate part of the garden each time.
Let the worms do the work.
Egg shells and tea bags may take a little longer, but they are also great in the fertilizer bucket.
I also fill a bucket of water with Comfrey leaves, once they break down they make excellent fertilizer and adding some egg shells to the mix now and again enhances the brew.

2/ ZERO WASTE : Glass

Glass is reusable and can make great containers in your pantry.

Buy and reuse glass containers. Pick them up from second hand stores. Swap with friends who are not using them.

3/ ZERO WASTE ; Plastic

Many plastic containers can be reused.

For example we reuse our Chinese takeaway containers all the time. Stacking food in these containers, in the fridge is great because you can see the food in them without opening the container. They are recyclable anyway and once I’ve finished with them that’s just where they go. They also make great storage solutions for school lunches, picnics and freezing food. Plastic containers can also be re-modeled into seed raising containers.
4/ ZERO WASTE : Paper

Paper waste these days is collected and disposed of by your local council. However paper can also be reused at home in the garden in many ways.

Break up paper waste and include in the food scraps you bury. Use paper as a weed mat in the garden.
Use for lighting the fire.
5/ ZERO WASTE : Avoid Fast Food and supermarket packaging

Most of the rubbish we collect today is in the form of food packaging.

Buy in bulk from the bulk store. Buy meat from the butcher, although I have noticed more and more butchers are pre-packing meat, I tend to go for the meat that hasn’t been sitting in plastic. I also tend to buy my fruit and vegetables that way too. Bring along your own carry bags too.
6/ ZERO WASTE furniture, clothing and old knitting (BONUS)

I know what your saying, but there was only 5, that’s true, but I had to add this one in because its something I like to do and maybe you do to? 
Finally I just wanted to say, I’m a big fan of recycling furniture too, old can be good and over the years I have re-purposed couches, chairs, beds, dressers, drawers, wardrobes, knitted jerseys and clothing.
All of these items could have gone to the tip or even come from the tip actually.
Jerseys have been made into blankets or made into a new jersey or some other garment, a cushion or put to some other use.
And all of them have fed a creative passion to re-invent and reuse something that already had served a useful purpose and now can be useful again.
Do you have some tips for reducing waste in the home?

We would love to hear from you.

Share your tips with us and help our readers learn more.

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