Zero Waste week starts today!

Going Zero Waste for a week?

The Zero Waste movement is about keeping things out of landfill. You may have seen variations on the ‘refuse, reduce, reuse, repair, re-home, recycle, rot’ mantra doing the rounds on social media.

Refuse – say no to plastic bags, straws, packaging you don’t need etc, take your own re-useable cups and containers for takeaways, have a cloth shopping bag and produce bags in your car or carry round with you in your bag. Buy items in recyclable containers like glass, tins etc in preference to plastic (limited recycle life) and multi layered packaging like tetrapaks that can’t be recycled locally.

Reduce – the amount of landfill waste you produce, the easiest way to do this is check what is in your bin! Can any of it be recycled instead? Food waste can be composted, or find someone who takes scraps for pigs or chooks.

Reuse – find another use for things, which might just mean washing them out and using them again! If you’re brave check out pintrest for ideas (and don’t blame me if you don’t surface for several weeks…).

Repair – fairly self-explanatory really! Sew that button back on, patch those jeans, get things fixed where you can – which might mean needing to do some research before buying things so that you buy stuff that is repairable rather than with built in obsolescence. It might take more time and money initially but will save you in the long run.

Rehome – if you don’t use it could someone else you know do so? There are heaps of buy/sell/give away type groups on Facebook, sell things on TradeMe or through the local paper – you can sell stuff through the classified ads in The Northland Age for free on Tuesdays if it’s under a certain amount. You can donate stuff to one (or several!) of the local op shops. The SPCA will take old towels and bedding that are a still functional but no longer ‘presentable’.

Recycle – we’re lucky up here, we can recycle all plastics, glass, tins, paper and cardboard via the red recycle bins or by taking stuff to one of the local transfer stations. You can also recycle batteries, electronics and green waste there. If you are going to put batteries in your recycle bin collect up a jar full or bag full and put them in something sealed into your bin – if they are lose they fall through the bin holes and can cause problems at the transfer station and not get recycled.

Rot – natural fibres, wood, bamboo etc will rot down eventually, so if possible buy things made from natural materials so at the end of their life they will degrade safely.


There are a number of groups on Facebook supporting the Plastic Free and Zero Waste movements. They are a great way to get inspiration and ask questions. Some we follow are:

Plastic Free July

Para Kore

The Non-Plastic Māori

Ban Plastic Bags in New Zealand

Plastic Bag Free Northland

Zero Waste in NZ!


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AUTHOR: Eco Centre
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