The mantra of climate change "reduce and reuse" implies a drastic shift from consumerist lifestyles the modern world has provided for people and can often end in the "too-hard basket".
To break down barriers, resourceful Kiwis have done some of the hard yards and can help those who are keen to do their bit.
A dedicated couple from Kerikeri, Rolf Mueller-Glodde and Inge Bremer, are the driving force behind a carbon calculator to help people understand their household emissions.
It takes about 30 minutes to fill in the calculator on their Carbon Neutral Trust Kerikeri website and will take into account household waste, transport and energy.
The household emissions will then be offset by the carbon that is absorbed by the user's property – for example, through trees.
"We aim to show people what they can do. To do that you need to have the basis to understand what your carbon footprint is," Mueller-Glodde said.
In 2018, Mueller-Glodde and Bremer founded the Carbon Neutral Trust Kerikeri together with Lindsay Jeffs, Kevin Lewis and Lynda Jeffs from Waiheke Island.
Initially, they planned to encourage Kerikeri and Waiheke Island to become carbon neutral.
That goal has been put on the back burner. Instead, the trust is focusing on getting communities and organisations nationwide to use their award-winning carbon calculator.
They now have over 1000 participants.
Mueller-Glodde said other carbon calculators would ask for too many personal data including household income, which he "would be hesitant to mention and probably other people as well – it's private".
Apart from being free, anonymous and easy to use, Mueller-Glodde said the most distinguishing feature was that it takes carbon sequestration into account.
"The calculator asks information around how many trees are in your garden, how big is your property and whether you compost. All that sequesters your net carbon footprint. As far as we know, we're the only calculator that does that."
Bremer added it was based on an idea from Ken Ross, Far North District Council community development adviser, who suggested that Kerikeri could become carbon neutral if its carbon sequestering vegetation is taken into account.
After completing the calculator, users can compare their profile with the carbon footprint of their community. The tool also helps participants to compute how to reduce their carbon footprint.
"The beauty of the system is that for the first time, you can get a grip of your emissions."
Bremer said households can't relate to the Government's reports on New Zealand's total emissions.
She believed if people are being made aware of how much greenhouse gas their land and garden can offset, they would be more motivated to look after vegetation and plant new trees.
Once households have a clearer picture of their carbon footprint, there are options to reduce emissions.
While tackling transport and energy emissions might be a long-term project for families, many could immediately reduce their emissions by cutting waste.
Hannah Blumhardt and Liam Prince from Wellington made the life-changing decision to ditch their rubbish bin in 2015, and have since toured the country to explain how living without waste is possible.
On their website The Rubbish Trip, the pair have published an in-depth guide for Northlanders on how to shop more environmentally friendly.
"The biggest thing that people can do to reduce their waste, if they're not doing anything already, is to organic waste out of the rubbish bin," Blumhardt explained.
"The single biggest proportion of a household rubbish bin is food scraps."
It makes up 30-50 per cent for Kiwi families.
"It has a climate impact because it goes to landfill and in the landfill there is no oxygen – it's an anaerobic environment and when food waste breaks down in an anaerobic environment, it produces methane, which is a potent greenhouse gas," Blumhardt said.
To stop organic waste from going to landfill, households can set up a compost bin, worm farm or bokashi composter.
Bokashi bins "pickle" food waste, unlike traditional composting where waste is allowed to decay.
There is also a compost collective, ShareWaste, which "is like Tinder for food scraps", Blumhardt said.
"It links you up with people in your community – maybe someone down the road who has got a compost and they have enlisted themselves and allow you to compost."
The Far North has a compost collective called Compost Connection, run through CBEC EcoSolution, which is setting up community composting sites.
Councils nationwide have either trialled or at least considered organic waste collection, but it's often deemed to be unpopular and expensive.
Whangārei District Council solid waste engineer David Lindsay said it would cost $2 million a year to introduce organic waste collection in the district and uptake is not expected to be high based on experience by other councils.
"People who would use the service are probably already composting in their backyard."
If households decide that composting isn't enough to reduce their waste, changing shopping habits is next on the list.
This requires bigger-picture thinking: Prince says we often don't take into account all the emissions that have been released to get the products we use daily.
Supply chains are connected to a series of emissions starting with the extraction of resources from the earth, to turning them into products and shipping them around the world.
"Some studies have shown that as much as 45 per cent global emissions come from making products. We're not doing so well in accounting for these emissions."
Every time we don't consume, buy second-hand or fix something that is broken instead of buying new, we're avoiding all of those emissions.
Reducing consumption stops putting pressure on the production demand.
Blumhardt said it was a common misconception that shopping environmentally conscious is more time-consuming than the classic supermarket visit.
"The thing that's time-consuming is changing habits. People are used to going to the supermarket, they know how it works, they are used to the products you get at the supermarket. Changing that is stressful."
Blumhardt recognised that people are time poor and zero-waste shopping can seem inconvenient.
But "convenience means we shop more inefficiently, more often".
That being said, shopping eco-conscious in the supermarket is also possible, but "you'll spend more money", Blumhardt said.
"The trick is to stay on the outside perimeter of the supermarket and not to go down the aisles. Stick to your fresh fruit and veg, the bakery section (bring bags), the deli (bring containers) and the bulk bin aisles (bring bags)."
Prince said it was wrong to assume that produce in a packet is more expensive than local and unpackaged goods.
Another eco-trap are compostable single-use bags from the fresh-produce aisles. Bringing fabric bags is more environmentally friendly.
Prince explained while they are certified to break down in an industrial compost (which do not exist in New Zealand), they are mostly going to landfill and produce methane.
The compostable bags are among several items the Government has committed to phase out by 2025 to be replaced by more environmentally friendly options.
The list also includes: polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polystyrene (PS) and expanded polystyrene (EPS) food packaging; plastic cotton buds, produce labels, straws, cutlery, drink stirrers and plates.
The Government is yet to decide on two other big polluters: coffee cups and wet wipes.
For Blumhardt and Prince, reducing waste is only one side of the coin. Reducing consumption and extending the lifetime of household items by reusing and repairing them is also important.
Tool and toy libraries as well as car rental and car sharing can open access to high-quality services and products for everyone. Renting high-end-brand clothes is also becoming increasingly popular.
Repair cafes offer expertise, community and know-how around fixing household items.
Kiwis pride themselves with ingenuity and enhancing skills around mending and extending the life of items can open up connections to others.
For Blumhardt and Prince, reducing their waste has been the "most exciting and fulfilling" change in their lives.
• The charitable Carbon Neutral NZ Trust is offering tree gift certificates as virtual Christmas gifts to support the community planting of native trees at the Wairoa Stream in Kerikeri.
Friday: How to encourage climate action
Yesterday: Niwa scientists predict Northland's climate
Today: How can we help?
Tomorrow: What are our councils doing?
Thursday: How we can fight for climate justice
Friday: How to take industry into a sustainable future
Saturday: Regenerative farming and growing techniques
Monday: The future generation