Action On Waste - Reduce, Re-use and Recycle!

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Action On Waste - Reduce, Re-use and Recycle!

Keep cardboard, newspapers and advertising papers separate from your rubbish. Save it and send it to the Resource Recovery Centre for recycling. Non-glossy paper can be torn up and added a sheet at a time to a compost heap. If you need fuel, paper can be twisted tightly to make paper ‘logs’ to burn in a wood-stove.

Discourage junk mail delivery by displaying a sign ‘no circulars’ or ‘no junk mail’ on the mailbox. If you still want a community free newspaper, see the deliverer to request this specifically, or write to the newspaper office. Some Councils give out these signs.

Avoid buying canned, frozen or processed food, such as ready-made meals , at times when you can get fresh, seasonal and local NZ produce, often at similar or lower price. You save on packaging materials (many made of unrecyclable plastics), and on the energy used in food processing and transport.

Start making compost with kitchen scraps mixed with garden cuttings and raked leaves or pea-straw. A key to success is getting the right proportions of green (high nitrogen) and brown (low nitrogen, higher carbon) ingredients. See Our Guide to Composting Brochure or attend one of our seminars.

Worm Farms are very effective at reusing household scraps and turning them into both concentrated liquid and worm-cast fertilisers for the garden. They use a special type of compost or ‘tiger’ worm. See our Guide to Worm Composting brochure or attend one of our seminars.

Re-use plastic carrier bags from previous shopping and don’t accept the new bags until you have run out at home. The hardest part might be remembering to take some with you to the shops, along with your list. Why not keep some handy under the car seat, or in a cycle pannier? If you already have a quantity of plastic supermarket bags marked code 2, they can be recycled. First choice is to refuse the plastic carrier bags, second choice to re-use them, and thirdly (once damaged), to recycle the plastic. To avoid plastic bags, some people prefer strong cotton canvas bags (eg; from Trade Aid or Ecostore), or the reusable bags, from supermarkets.

Recycle As much as you can, of what can not be re-used.

Save regularly - bought packaging containers, once you have found a friendly re-user for them . As an example, some NZ native plant nurseries use washed waxed-cardboard one litre milk and yoghurt cartons as pots in which to grow tree seedlings. To locate a community-or school run native plant nursery near you, look at the plant nurseries list on the Bush Vitality website or ask the Department of Conservation. See the Bush Vitality website below.

This packaging eventually finds its way, part-decayed, either into the rubbish or the soil, but only after substituting for a plastic pot and saving valuable oil resources in that way. Similarly, clean plastic food containers with flexible lids (such as ice cream tubs) might be useful storage at playgroup or school or in your shed:

  • Have a garage or yard sale
  • Use the free (under $100 or under $10 item) classified advertisements in newspapers, or internet trading sites or join your local freecycle group. See the Freecycle website below.

The only cost to you is the time to find the contacts and arranging transport – some groups will even collect from you by appointment.

  • Find a ‘good cause’ to support: inquire by phone first, then take furniture, recent part-used tins of paint, construction materials and other surplus non-toxic items to a community project, youth or church group or your local recycle centre shop that can use them, instead of throwing them away. Community recycling depots run a reuse shop and any returns help offset the cost of recycling in remote areas.
  • Unwanted clean clothes find new users through ‘op’ and charity shops. Unsold ‘waste’ clothing goes into fibre recycling.
  • Trade reusables and your craft-made new items through a local Green Dollar Exchange.
  • Clean toys may be welcomed by toy libraries, and charity shops.
  • Magazines are taken by service providers who have reception/waiting areas.
  • Simple reading glasses and sometimes strong used shoes, may be welcomed by overseas development/aid charities, but phone to ask first.
  • Computers can be recycled on e-waste day annually.

Re-use mail envelopes that you receive, with labels (which may also publicise good causes). It saves on envelope buying. Obtain from NZ mail-order suppliers at about $4 per 50 labels plus postage, (eg; from Ecostore: with message ‘the future of the planet is in your shopping basket’. There are many other label producers.

Use e-mail as an alternative to some of your letters and cards, when it suits the recipient. Search for web sites with free ‘virtual picture postcards’ and birthday greetings. Printed greeting cards are so expensive to buy and mail these days for a ‘one-trip’ item. If you can, make your own cards with recycled materials - gift some time instead.

If you’re a computer user, don’t print out all the emails you receive, or you will require more rather than less paper! Consider loading the printer with paper already used on one-side, so that you have to make a conscious choice to put in new paper. Similar advice applies to a plain paper fax machine.
Also consider how efficient your computer is on toner/ink use. Can you refill or recycle the cartridges your printer uses? To find out more ask your retailer or visit the below websites: The eDay URL explains the value of computer parts collection and recycling in NZ.

Worm Farms are very effective at reusing household scraps and turning them into both concentrated liquid and worm-cast fertilisers for the garden. They use a special type of compost or ‘tiger’ worm. See our Guide to Worm Composting brochure or attend one of our seminars.

Re-use plastic carrier bags from previous shopping and don’t accept the new bags until you have run out at home. The hardest part might be remembering to take some with you to the shops, along with your list. Why not keep some handy under the car seat, or in a cycle pannier? If you already have a quantity of plastic supermarket bags marked code 2, they can be recycled. First choice is to refuse the plastic carrier bags, second choice to re-use them, and thirdly (once damaged), to recycle the plastic. To avoid plastic bags, some people prefer strong cotton canvas bags (eg; from Trade Aid or Ecostore), or the reusable bags, from supermarkets.

Recycle As much as you can, of what can not be re-used.

Save regularly - bought packaging containers, once you have found a friendly re-user for them . As an example, some NZ native plant nurseries use washed waxed-cardboard one litre milk and yoghurt cartons as pots in which to grow tree seedlings. To locate a community-or school run native plant nursery near you, look at the plant nurseries list on the Bush Vitality website or ask the Department of Conservation. See the Bush Vitality website below.

This packaging eventually finds its way, part-decayed, either into the rubbish or the soil, but only after substituting for a plastic pot and saving valuable oil resources in that way. Similarly, clean plastic food containers with flexible lids (such as ice cream tubs) might be useful storage at playgroup or school or in your shed:

  • Have a garage or yard sale
  • Use the free (under $100 or under $10 item) classified advertisements in newspapers, or internet trading sites or join your local freecycle group. See the Freecycle website below.

The only cost to you is the time to find the contacts and arranging transport – some groups will even collect from you by appointment.

  • Find a ‘good cause’ to support: enquire by phone first, then take furniture, recent part-used tins of paint, construction materials and other surplus non-toxic items to a community project, youth or church group or your local recycle centre shop that can use them, instead of throwing them away. Community recycling depots run a reuse shop and any returns help offset the cost of recycling in remote areas.
  • Unwanted clean clothes find new users through ‘op’ and charity shops. Un-sold ‘waste’ clothing goes into fibre recycling.
  • Trade re-usables and your craft-made new items through a local Green Dollar Exchange.
  • Clean toys may be welcomed by toy libraries, and charity shops.
  • Magazines are taken by service providers who have reception/waiting areas.
  • Simple reading glasses and sometimes strong used shoes, may be welcomed by overseas development/aid charities, but phone to ask first.
  • Computers can be recycled on e-waste day annually.

Re-use mail envelopes that you receive, with labels (which may also publicise good causes). It saves on envelope buying. Obtain from NZ mail-order suppliers at about $4 per 50 labels plus postage, (eg; from Ecostore: with message ‘the future of the planet is in your shopping basket’. There are many other label producers.

Use e-mail as an alternative to some of your letters and cards, when it suits the recipient. Search for web sites with free ‘virtual picture postcards’ and birthday greetings. Printed greeting cards are so expensive to buy and mail these days for a ‘one-trip’ item. If you can, make your own cards with recycled materials - gift some time instead.

If you’re a computer user, don’t print out all the emails you receive, or you will require more rather than less paper! Consider loading the printer with paper already used on one-side, so that you have to make a conscious choice to put in new paper. Similar advice applies to a plain paper fax machine.
Also consider how efficient your computer is on toner/ink use. Can you refill or recycle the cartridges your printer uses? To find out more ask your retailer or visit the below websites: The eDay URL explains the value of computer parts collection and recycling in NZ.