Reducing Your Household Waste

There are heaps of ways you can reduce the amount of waste that comes from your household, that are easy and cheap to do.

Find out where your nearest bulk bin store is and start shopping packaging free. On your next grocery shop see if there are items you buy in plastic that you can swap to buying in glass, cardboard or in a can.

Jam, peanut butter, mayonnaise and simmer sauces are all sold in either plastic or glass jars. Choose brands sold in glass jars, which are often also NZ brands, to support local and do good for the environment at the same time. When you have scraped the last bit of peanut butter out of the jar work out how to reuse the jar as many times as possible before it goes in the recycling bin. You could:

  • Donate them to groups around the country who make jams and marmalades for foodbanks  or try your local op shop.
  • Create your own reusable coffee cup with rubber bands and a jar (or ask your local cafe if you can create a box of them for their customers buying coffee on the go)
  • Make your own beauty or cleaning products and package them in glass jars. These can make great gifts too.
  • Use the jars to sort and store miscellaneous household item such as drawing pins, small toys, pens.
  • Look out for shops and businesses in North Canterbury that support waste free initiatives.

It is also easy to make a simple swap for cleaning product containers. Look for brands that offer refill stations so you can use the bottle over and over again. Or buy laundry powder in a cardboard box with no plastic scoop included. Those brands that don’t include a scoop include instructions on tablespoons of laundry powder needed per load.

If soft drinks are regularly on your shopping list, a soda stream could be a good investment to save you money while reducing your plastic bottle use. Syrups for flavouring can be made from lemon, feijoa or even rosehip! Even without a soda stream, a kombucha or ginger beer bug can supply you with a steady supply of refreshing fizziness. You could also consider buying drinks in aluminium cans, which get made back into aluminium cans an infinite number of times.

  • Choose products with little or no packaging
  • Buy in bulk to reduce packaging
  • Use cloth nappies, not disposables, where feasible
  • Put a 'no circulars', 'no junk mail' or 'no ad mail' sticker on your letterbox
  • Learn ways to reduce household food waste by following the National Food Waste Prevention Campaign - Love Food Hate Waste
  • Attend a 'Waste Free Living' or 'Waste Free Parenting' workshop with Kate Meads 'The Nappy Lady'.

If you live outside the District's kerbside collection area, you can take separated paper, cardboard, plastic containers type 1-7 except for anything that can be scrunched into a ball - like biscuit trays, glass bottles and jars with lids removed, aluminium cans and steel tins, electronic waste and much more to the Oxford Transfer Station or the Southbrook Resource Recovery Park.

Tetra Pak/Liquid Cartons

Non foil-lined drink/milk liquid cartons with fold out tops can go in the Trees for Canterbury containers located at the Southbrook Resource Recovery Centre. These are not accepted for recycling. Trees for Canterbury use them to plant native seedlings as the cardboard breaks down in the soil. Foil lined containers (like Tetra Pak), or those with plastic pourers/screw tops need to go in the rubbish.

Other Service Providers

Make use of services offered for diverting waste, for example some private bin collection companies offer a recycling or green waste bin that people located outside of the Council's kerbside collection area could use. Check out the Yellow Pages for services.

The Council is a partner in the Sustainable Living Education Trust, which has loads of resources and tips for practical ways to live more sustainably.