2016 Rubbish Update: 6 Months of Trash

Our rubbish bin contents from January to mid June
I mentioned at the beginning of the year that we (the BF & I) were now keeping track of our rubbish in a small bin we kept in our room. Looking back at that blog post, which was our December 2015 rubbish update it is really interesting for me to see how far we have come. I figured it was time I give an update on our rubbish progress for the year. I actually sorted and took photos of our trash back in mid June, so this update is for the first 6 months of the year only. There was a bit of a delay in writing this post, mainly cause I took a few holidays and then procrastinated this post while I wrote the others. My apologies!

Firstly, what is NOT in the bin?

  • Recycling and compost, or anything reused or diverted from landfill. We very rarely have plastic recycling, mainly glass and paper. We also very rarely buy tin food, I tend to avoid it as the tin cans often have plastic linings and I have since learned how to survive without having tinned food as the staples of my pantry. We are also pro composters, I first got my compost bin about 8 years ago.
  • The BF’s trash slip ups; he does an excellent job at supporting me and I know he actively avoids single use items, however this is my journey. He has actually done an amazing job at trying to go waste free, and I know that he has only had a couple of Styrofoam containers and one takeaway coffee cup this year.
  • Rubbish from communal household items; I live in a flat and while I try to influence what products we buy sometimes someone else buys a certain product. For instance, someone once bought  individually wrapped dishwasher tablets. We normally buy ecostore tablets which comes with biodegradable wrapping.
Here is the (landfill) trash we generated over the first 6 months of the year:
  • Plastic handle from a large bag of flour
  • Wrist bands from concerts
  • Thermal lined paper from my car registration (yes I own a car, I do live in Auckland!)
  • Random stickers and food tags
  • Plastic ribbon
  • Plastic swing tags from second hand purchases
  • K tape from the physio
  • Cartridges from a vape
  • Random assortments of plastic pieces including from wrist bands at Splore and WOMAD
  • An old sim car & a new sim card pack
  • Plastic straws (which I always refuse)
  • Clothing tag
  • Plastic tape from a package
  • Plastic seals from glass jars
  • Plasters
  • Dental floss
  • Flea treatment packets for the cat
  • A manky old elastic sock (who knows where the other one went)
  • Pill packets
  • Packaging from a box of Red Seal tea I thought was loose (I was so mad!)
  • Packaging from food items I already had

Soft Plastics

I have kept all of our soft plastics for the year, I will take these to the nearest supermarket to be shipped to Melbourne as part of the REDcycle programme. I try and avoid soft plastics at all costs, as sending my plastic overseas is not the best option. However soft plastics are particularly good at finding their way in to your home. For instance; the Auckland University alumni magazine comes plastic wrapped (does anyone know how to unsubscribe from this?). We have also received a few packages in plastic courier bags, and the BF’s distilling sugars and yeasts often come in soft plastic or plastic foil.
Soft plastics from 7 months (plastic ruler for scale; this ruler is about 14 years old!)
Unfortunately the second half of the year has not gotten off to a good start so far. I accidentally was given a takeaway coffee cup, I got a really bad cold and my annual hut pass expired so I am now using single use hut tickets.
EDIT: One of my fellow UOA alumni has informed me how to change my subscription to Ingenio the Alumni magazine. Update your info here https://www.alumni.auckland.ac.nz/en/update-your-details.html I switched my preferences to electronic copy only.
Riley & I with our trash audit from January to June.




  1. Anonymous   •  

    You are amazing! #MyIdol

    Also, thanks for the tip on changing Alumni mag preferences- lots of people could do with changing theirs I think.

  2. Anne@ArtyGreen in Paradise   •  

    Wow, I think you are doing really well! I've been trimming plastic waste for years and don't do as well as that (although shopping for the less converted doesn't help, but we're improving) Buying quality loose tea with no plastic/ foil packaging is a challenge unless you pay a fortune for it, let us know if you have found a source please.

  3. Amanda Chapman   •  

    Hey Anne, thanks for the kind words! I buy my tea loose from my local Indian store, they sell green & black. I also have a friend who works for a tea shop and she gave me heaps of loose leaf tea they were going to throw away! It was in packaging, however I managed to recycle all of it!

  4. Amanda Chapman   •  

    Aww thanks! I wish the preferences were automatically set to electronic copy only.

  5. Kathryn   •  

    This is amazing! Keep up the awesome work. 🙂

  6. Amanda Chapman   •  

    Thanks heaps Kathryn, much appreciated!

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