Rubbish-free year

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

Rubbish-free year - Week 51

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We are down to the last week now with plenty of room in our one rubbish bag. I did an interview this morning for RDU (Christchurch student radio) and the interviewer suggested that we had a week to rush around filling it up before it was all over!! Hmm, typical of student radio. What we are filling our time with though is our wee rubbish-free party - which is turning out to be a microcosm for living a rubbish-free life: full of planning ahead and creative thinking

- but no rocket science..

First we have a couple of big shout outs to the generous companies/organisations that are donating stuff. We approached companies that we thought fitted our rubbish-free philosophies and we are delighted with how things have turned out. Huge thanks to Villa Maria for supplying the wine. Villa Maria are enthusiastic members of Sustainable Wine Growing New Zealand and avid recyclers. About 70 per cent of their packaging is made from recycled material. They recycle everything they can at the plants.

We are also thankful to Harrington's Brewery for supplying a keg of their wonderful organic pilsner. We approached them for several reasons. Firstly, we thought a keg was the ultimate in rubbish free. It's about as minimal as packaging can get, designed to be reused, and it's metal - not plastic. Secondly, Harringtons are our closest brewery, and one of the best in Christchurch.

They are intending to set up a bottle washer this year so bottles can be reused rather than melted down and remade - heaps more efficient. And they offered to supply us with all the glasses we'll need too. That's awesome, saves hiring them.

We also asked our local church, Holy Trinity on Avonside, if we could borrow their tea and coffee cups and they were happy to 'come to the party'. Food is probably the more difficult thing to provide rubbish free, but we thank Bin Inn for supplying the raw ingredients for the party food - all we have to do is get baking. Honestly, without them we would have been stumped over and over again. So, huge thanks to them.

Let me finish with a conversation I had with our local florist.After picking out the flowers I wanted, I gave them to the florist. As she was wrapping them I said - no plastic thanks. She was lovely and more than happy to wrap the flowers minimally, with just a piece of silver paper and she creatively folded another piece of paper in lieu of plastic ribbon. I thought I might mention our rubbish-free year challenge. I usually don't, but she just seemed like the type of person who would be interested.

"Actually, my husband and I have challenged ourselves to live for one year without creating any rubbish"

" Oh were you on TV?"

"Yeah"

"Oh, I saw you. You might think its weird that a perfect stranger might think about you, but I often think of you. Like the other day we were at the supermarket and my husband went to grab a bag for two onions, and I said 'hey, we don't need that' - I was thinking, what a waste! I never used to even think about it. But now I do."

"Wow! That's amazing. Well, I am here today because florists are actually a pretty on to it way to buy flowers. I can't get them from the supermarket, because to avoid the plastic I need to have a conversation with the person who wraps them."

We talked for ages and I think we both felt pleased with ourselves at the end. I think it's worth going without packets of chips and margarine for a year for that one conversation.

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