Waitawheta Tramway Tramp Review

One of the many swing bridges along the track   Waitawheta Tramway is a super easy and relaxed tramp, providing plenty of history and views. I would highly recommend it for families with young children or older hikers wanting an easy overnight trip. Which was what most of the demographic hiking over this weekend was made up of. We were a group of 10 Aucklanders just wanting a super relaxed and easy hike in a short driving distance and a bit of swimming on the side. The track was everything I wanted and expected. It was completely flat, an easy 2 hours drive from Auckland, and only 2-3 hours walk.     Heading in to the fields of wildflowers         The top waterfall Despite the track being easy, it still provided plenty of great sights. The track follows the Waitawheta river starting in a rural farm setting […]

Grey Lynn Farmers’ Market (and other Waste Free Adventures)

‘Bring it Back Depot’ at Grey Lynn Farmers Market Grey Lynn is officially fruit fly free! I celebrated by going to the Grey Lynn Farmers Market for the first time. It is a quaint little market in the community hall, and has a real community feel to it,  because it is community owned and operated (have I said community enough?)! The first thing that caught my eye was the recycling/reuse swap table. You can bring in any unwanted plastics, glass jars, egg cartons and seedling trays, or you can take any from the pile. What an awesome idea, especially for someone like myself who is always after more glass jars. This is run by Grey Lynn 2030 Waste Away, who sell Ideal Cups and Rethink reusable bags. The other cool thing about this market is they are plastic bag free! This was implemented a few months ago, and seems to […]

Rubbish Update: November 2015

It has been a while since I did my Plastic Free July rubbish update, so I thought I should check where things are at. I’ve been collecting all of our rubbish and recycling for the month of November. Not collected were our food scraps- which get composted, and paper waste, which is either composted or recycled. We did not have any metal waste for the month, except for bits of swarf which occasionally comes home in the BF’s clothes. Recycling: Hard Plastics: 1 milk bottle, 2 small sauce containers from our takeaway which I will reuse before recycling and the case from the cat’s flea treatment (not shown). Soft Plastics: 2 toilet paper wrappers (I have recently read that the Earthcare wrappers can be composted), 1 plastic wrap from the Auckland Uni Alumni magazine, a whole lot of packaging from an online purchase on Mighty Ape (new bamboo chopping board […]

Parnell Farmers Market & La Cigale French Market

Parnell Farmer’s Market Today is Black Friday in the USA. It is a day that I just cannot comprehend, people opt to spend the day pushing through crowds  to buy things they don’t necessarily need because it is on sale. I could go on a rant about Black Friday, but I will spare ye reader. Many conscious consumers are choosing to start an anti Black Friday and not buy anything for the day. I am all for this, however today is Saturday, which means local farmers markets. So I chose to spend my day wandering the streets of Parnell and buying from small local businesses. I had to go to Parnell to pick up some stainless steel cups I had bought off Trade Me, so I decided to make a morning of it. The BF & I caught the bus in to Newmarket and then walked to the Parnell Farmers […]

A Guide to Waste Free Gift Giving

With the holiday season coming up now is the time that we are constantly reminded we should be out shopping. There are a numerous issues with buying presents from the mall, they are expensive, unsustainable, mass produced and malls are stressful, busy places. Don’t get me wrong, I love giving gifts, however I hate shopping and going to malls. I used to find after receiving presents they sat in a pile in my room for a while until I could figure out where they should go. Additionally every time I moved house I realised how much unnecessary stuff I had, gifts were often a huge part of this. I would feel guilty donating something someone had gifted to me. This is why I am huge advocate of gifts that don’t last forever, or gifts I know will be used or appreciated often. I tend to give gifts that I have […]

Zero Waste Nachos

I mentioned a few months back that I love nachos and have been struggling to go without nachos as everything comes in plastic… Well tonight I finally did it! I had tried a couple of months ago to make my own corn chips, it was the biggest hassle and a bit of a fail, so I was so excited to finally find corn chips plastic free. I’m vegetarian, so these are meat free and healthy. You can very easily make it vegan by leaving out the sour cream or make a sunflower seed sour cream.   Corn Chips- I got these in my cloth bread bag from Mexicali Fresh in the city. They make them fresh and in-house. I just asked if I can get some corn chips takeaway in my own bag, I didn’t buy anything else and wasn’t eating in. The server said that wasn’t weird and people […]

Guest Post: ReMaterialise- Plastic Bags into Fantastic Bags

ReMaterialise shopping bags (photos: Fi Leaning).   I discovered ReMaterialise at the beginning of this year. I can’t recall exactly how I stumbled upon their website, I was probably looking for a creative ways to reuse plastics. I was finding all sorts of innovative ways to re-use plastic bags, and plastic bag fusing seemed the best way to use heaps of bags to make a useful and strong item. I attempted plastic bag fusing myself, and I quickly learned it was not easy! It is a slow process of painstakingly ironing plastic bags on a low heat. My finished product was a wonky sheet of plastic that I used as a place mat for the cat bowl.  About a month ago I unexpectedly found myself meeting the creator of ReMaterialise, Fi, while I was volunteering for Ecomatters. I was very excited to meet Fi, and may have fan-girled a bit […]

Homemade Vanilla Extract

 I recently learned that vanilla extract is super easy to make, saving me from buying overpriced extract or the cheap essence in plastic bottles.Not only is it easy to make, but it is fairly cheap too and it makes great gifts! What you need:    Spirit- vodka, bourbon, brandy or rum. I am fortunate to date/live with someone who distills their own (hey-yo free booze!). Vanilla beans- Some supermarkets sell pods that come in glass jars with plastic lids, which you can reuse. Or you can find some at an organic store, however they come in plastic tubes. Glass Jar- I steep my beans in an old coffee jar, but you can use any old larger jar. I keep small quantities in smaller jars, caper jars are perfect. What to do: Slice the beans in half, you can leave the tops connected if you wish. Chuck your beans in a […]

Keeping up with the Kombucha (& other ferments)

Kombucha is probably a buzz word you have heard recently. You may be wondering what the hell Kombucha is and why is everyone talking about it?! I started brewing Kombucha about 4 months ago, knowing little about it myself. It’s that easy to make though, all I did was spend a few hours watching Youtube videos and reading blogs about fermenting Kombucha and I had the hang of it in no time. So what is Kombucha?? Simply put it is fermented tea brewed using a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast, aka SCOBY. At this point I should mention SCOBY’s look absolutely disgusting, so if you have a weak stomach it’s probably best not to see the SCOBY before trying Kombucha for the first time. Kombucha is a “health drink” as it is fermented it is full of good bacteria, vitamins and is good for your gut etc etc. To […]

Produce Bags & Bulk Bags

The easiest switch to avoid unnecessary plastic is to use reusable mesh produce bags. These bags are great for buying fruit, veges and bulk bin items in. Bags: Rethink small, homemade, Rethink large, Mighty Ape. Where to buy mesh bags in NZ: Remateralise: 3 pack $20 these mesh bags are sold package free and are made in Auckland. Perfect for produce or bulk bins.  Rethink: 3 large bags for $12.50  these bags organic cotton bags are only suitable for produce and larger items (not bulk bins). Rethink also sell multi-packs with other sizes and various other options. Some of the other bags, such as the bread bags, come plastic wrapped. Biome Eco stores: There’s a huge selection of bags available from this online Australian shop. I’ve heard the Onya ones are good. Mighty Ape: 5 large bags for $14.99 While these are the cheapest option, I ordered some from Mighty Ape […]