As a prelude to the “The Rubbish Trip”, Wellingtonians Hannah Blumhardt and Liam Price visited Kāpiti to share their story of life without a rubbish bin. “The Rubbish Trip” is a national tour of workshops and presentations, kicking off to coincide with the beginning of Plastic Free July. To make this possible they have set up a Give a Little campaign, where you can make a donation to help them spread their waste free wisdom.While in Kāpiti (thanks to hosts Transition Town Ōtaki, the Shipshow organisers and the ‘Gabes Gold Nuggets’ Greener Neighborhood), Hannah and Liam presented the ins and outs of living without waste. Over a series of kids workshops and evening presentations, they provided food for thought on why to think twice about getting your next flat white ‘to go’.Being the school holidays, the kid's workshops were popular with both kid and parents. The duo demonstrated their creative flair with great ideas for making cool stuff without the waste. The kids left with books and musical instruments made from reused materials and vegetable paint paintings.
In the evenings, Hannah and Liam explained their zero waste philosophies in more depth. Disposability has become normalised to the point that we are blind to rubbish. Taking audiences through a guided meditation that involved an imaginary walk through a supermarket provided a sober reality check on the extent to which we purchase and receive unnecessary packaging waste without question. Visualising supermarket aisles filled with packaged products and then what happens to the packaging soon after it's purchase is an eye-opening experience.
As Hannah and Liam explain, a zero waste lifestyle (or simply reducing your waste) requires creativity and a shift in thinking. It takes some preparation, but it isn't more difficult. In fact, their life is better - a huge plus is saving a lot of money because they no longer buy things as a convenience, which also means avoiding a lot of the unhealthy stuff like preservatives, chemicals and additives. Though thankfully they added, chocolate can be sourced in compostable packing and wine bottles are reusable!
Their kaupapa involves living according to the 5R principles: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Rot, Recycle. Inspiration comes through following Bea Johnson’s blog Zero Waste Home, Lauren Singer’s Trash is for Tossers, Kiwi rubbish free pioneers Matthew Luxon and Waveney Warth, Para Kore, and the Zero Waste in Wellington FB Group.
The 5R Principles
Their biggest tip is to start with the easiest things - take a cup, container and cutlery with you when heading out in case you want to buy takeaways; bringing your own bags and containers to the supermarket; shop at Bin Inn to buy stables without waste or join a food coop. There are also many creative ways to make-your-own alternatives to packaged consumables. With the help of Google, Hannah and Liam learned to make their own cleaning products and cosmetics from basic staples like baking soda, cornflour, coconut oil and sunflower oil. The simple Japanese art of Furoshiki provides an answer to all their carrying needs.
To add further punch to their argument they provided some examples of new economic models that support and follow a zero waste methodology. The New Plastics Economy and The Circular Economy take a whole new approach to how materials are made, used and reused. The latter has been adopted by the EU Commission and the NZ Sustainable Business Network. This structure includes the concept of a Sharing Economy; the Sustainability Trust has produced a practical guide for how to be a part of this in Wellington.
These two really know their stuff. Their journey is inspiring and admirable. Find out more about what's planned for their 'roaming zero waste roadshow', aka The Rubbish Trip on their Give A Little page and give generously to help them share the zero waste word!
Hannah and Liam in action at the Zero Waste kids workshops: