1 Year of Rubbish

1 year of rubbish fills about half of this bin & 6 months worth of soft plastic recycling on top. Yours truly for scale.

Happy new year! Just a quick update while I am between adventures to let you know how my waste free journey is tracking along.

To see my waste reduction progress please check out my previous rubbish posts: 

1 month of rubbish, December 2015 

6 months of rubbish January to June 2016

In 2016 I managed to keep track of all our rubbish, and still have majority of the trash I created over the year. There are a couple of things which did not make it in the bin; a small broken lightbulb, a plastic access card from the gym which the staff member threw away, medical waste created during doctors visits and packaging from a meat pack my partner was given as a gift for Christmas. Also excluded is stuff that we use as part of the shared household, as we live in a flat. Our flat mostly buys eco friendly products but sometimes there are products that aren’t so green. We have our own bathroom so it’s mainly kitchen things like dishwasher powder and vacuum lint, as the house has synthetic carpet. I have also excluded waste created from setting up the community fridge project, which was mainly sticker backings as I purchased green cleaning products and used things we already had.

Our rubbish (from myself and my partner), fills about half of the bucket from our bin. A few years ago this was our main bin which was being emptied approx. once to twice a week. We have always recycled and composted (I got my first compost bin at age 16), so when I first made the waste free switch back in early 2015 it was mainly plastic we were reducing.

I’m not going to dissect our rubbish, mainly because I’m short on time and I don’t want to lose very small pieces of plastic that are in the bin. I have had a rummage through the contents though so will give a summary.

Our 2016 rubbish consists mainly of:

  • Empty pill packets
  • Flea packets
  • Plastic packaging and miscellaneous items from my “previous life” found while decluttering
  • Swing tags from op shop fabrics and clothes
  • 1 takeaway coffee cup, given to us in a cafe we were dining in at due to miscommunication
  • The backings from stickers, which all have environmental messages (ironically)
  • Car rego & other car related stuff (we still have a car, due to living in Auckland)
  • A broken heel from an old shoe (I will get the shoe repaired)
  • Empty sachets from expired food in my pantry, I had a pantry clear out and used up some really old food.
  • Empty tubes from hand creams, cosmetics, lipgloss etc. purchased years ago
  • An unopened tube of hand cream, which I was gifted 5 years ago and never used. I threw it out as it contained micro beads!
  •  A broken plastic coat hanger
  • Old pens that no longer work
  • DOC tramping hut passes and an expired back country hut pass
  • Whittaker’s chocolate block wrappers
  • Bits from synthetic fabrics
  • An old sponge I had been reusing for far too long
  • A broken cat collar
  • Nylon bristles from bamboo toothbrushes
  • Binding from an old diary
  • Red Seal tea packets purchased mistakenly



Total Weight: 590 grams of landfill rubbish.

In 2016 I also purchased hardly anything from new. I think the only items purchased new where items to fix my car and to hook up some rain barrels. All fabrics, clothes and other items I needed where bought secondhand, from op shops or Trade Me. The last clothing item I bought brand new was in very early 2015, which was a hand-sewn dress I bought in Vanuatu.

Our recycling is mostly glass beer bottles, cardboard boxes and random bits of paper. We rarely have to recycle plastic, unless one of us has had a tough week then we will have a special treat (I need to keep it sustainable for our mental health as well!). Tin food is only purchased for extended camping trips. We also recycle all soft plastic, again we avoid purchasing items in plastic but sometimes a gift comes with plastic. Majority of our soft plastic comes from my partner’s home brewing/distilling hobby, it wouldn’t be fair to him otherwise as he is greatly supportive of my endeavors.

As for 2017, on day 1 we needed 4 plasters due to hiking related blisters and a cut on my finger! The journey shall continue…



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  1. Pingback: 1 Year of Rubbish: 2017 - Amanda in Waste-Free Land

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