Rubbish-free year

A Christchurch couple attempt to go a full year without creating any rubbish

'Garblogger' comes up with toothbrush alternative

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WEEK 23 - One of the statements we are never quite sure how to take, when talking to people about our rubbish-free challenge, is, "You guys just seem so normal."

Without getting into a psychoanalytical discussion of what is normal, we have intuitively felt that we are relatively normal, a feeling that has been reinforced recently by making a large number of international connections with other "normal" people trying to reduce their rubbish footprint. It began with being contacted by Karen in the UK, who has a website, therubbishdiet.co.uk.

From her we learned that we are "garbloggers", and that there are many such people in the world. We are not sure who decides, but there is a list of the top 10 at takepart.com.

Karen wrote a blog highlighting some garbloggers, and we subsequently have connected with a few of them. A woman we found particularly interesting is in Oakland, California, and can be found at fakeplasticfish.com.

She is trying to reduce the amount of plastic she consumes, and what we particularly liked about her is that she has made a long term commitment to doing so.

She has not gone down the road of "no plastic for a year challenge" or similar; rather she simply tries every day to remove more plastic from her life. Her site has some great suggestions for plastic-free alternative products.

We were keen to find out what she does about oral hygiene. Although relatively low contributors to the rubbish bag, we are keen to get our landfill waste as close to zero as possible.

We still have not found a great solution to toothbrushes. We ordered a wooden one with natural fibre bristles that are compostable, but it arrived in a sturdy plastic container. The fakeplasticfish site's owner is using Preserve toothbrushes, which are made out of recycled yoghurt containers.

When you have finished with the brush, you send it back in a postage-paid envelope and it is recycled into picnic tables. We've ordered one and look forward to seeing what it is like.

Although it appears that there is no way of getting around nylon dental floss, there is an alternative to the 700 million plastic floss containers discarded each year. We have discovered Gentle Floss, which comes in a cleverly designed cardboard box which is recyclable.

We have been given permission to distribute this in New Zealand - check the page on our website.

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