The Latest Zero Waste Fails, Successes, Attempts and Adventures

I am going tramping this weekend! Hiking/backpacking/bush walking for all you non Kiwi folk. I am hoping to do this as waste free as possible, however this will be my first attempt and as I still transitioning to this lifestyle there may (will) be shortfalls. As I am not the trip leader I won’t be doing the group shopping, however I did make the winning group food suggestion- vegetarian burgers. I know how I can make these waste free (this has become a bit of a staple dinner of recent), so on the next tramp I intend on cooking rubbish free burgers. For my own food I will be packing things I already have in my pantry/fridge, as it is only an over-niter and my pantry is well stocked. I will be packing some items (such as homemade porridge) in Ziploc bags that I already had, as I do not wish to carry extra weight by using a container and I don’t have any cloth bags that I can trust to not spill through my tramping pack. I will also be taking the remnants of a tube of toothpaste bought back in May. I have been saving this tube for tramping as it is easier than taking my jar of homemade toothpaste. Next time I will buy Lush Toothy Tabs which I have taken tramping before. These tabs come packaged in a cardboard box and are super lightweight. Alternatively I will take a small jar or container of baking soda or a homemade tooth powder.

I have recently been told “Not everyone can meet your ideals and expectations of food packaging” when I suggested we ask our party guests to bring a “plastic free plate” of food to a party we were hosting. I have realised that while zero waste has been easy for me as I have taken it as a personal religion almost, for others it may not be as easy to break lifelong habits and/or find the extra time to be prepared. I have been reasonably successful in my attempts as I enjoy the challenge and when people question my container/jars/cloth bags. I have had quite a few conversations with cashiers and food vendors about my attempts and their frustrations with the waste from their industry. I’ve definitely noticed shopping this way is a lot more personable and sociable, and I often break the staff member out of their routine to do something differently. In saying that, a lot of vendors or cashiers don’t even bat an eye when I hand them a container, they load up my container with a smile and more often than not give me a little bit extra for free. Or they ask if I want a plastic bag… For me going Zero Waste has absolutely come naturally and I often look back and wonder why I wasn’t doing it earlier! I have enjoyed seeing my friends and family change little things like switch to cloth bags or bring their own container, and I definitely don’t aim to be the Zero Waste Police (although I do have a Litter Warrant to fine people who litter in Auckland…), really it is the companies we should be getting to change their habits!

Another attempt and near-success I had this week was cheese! I asked at my local Countdown for some plastic-free cheese, and after a bit of explaining as to what I was after the lady at the deli counter said that  if I ask the manager she can put aside a section of the 20kg block that they cut up and wrap in-store on the day it arrives. Fingers crossed this one works out for me, as I am craving hard cheese and last month caved and bought some plastic wrapped. I have been told that Farro Fresh sells cheese at the deli counter that I can get in my own container. They also apparently sell tomatoes in jars, as I have been complaining about not having tin tomatoes anymore as they are plastic lined. Looks like I need to pay a visit to the more gourmet supermarkets in Auckland.

Anyway I need to pack my tramping gear for tomorrow, hopefully the weather isn’t too horrendous and I get some great views. I will post an update and mini-tramp review when I get back.


  1. Life my way   •  

    Not sure whereabouts in Auckland you are but you can also buy plastic-free cheese at The Dairy in Ponsonby Central

  2. Amanda Chapman   •  

    Hey thanks for your comment, actually did read about that place a while back but I forgot as I don't really hang around in Ponsonby that much, but it's not far from where I live so I may have to go pay a visit! Also good luck for your Zero Waste attempts too! We may bump in to each other one day whilst picking up rubbish 🙂

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