Week 47 – Christmas Blog


Christmas was always going to be the riskiest time of our rubbish free year, and I suspect that had we just started the challenge it might have blown us right out.  However, we, and more importantly, our family and friends have had almost 11 months to get our heads around doing Christmas rubbish free.  Everyone did very well, giving us gifts without landfill destined packaging, but I think the prize for most innovative and creative packaging solutions goes to my parents in law.  They sent us gifts from Auckland, using flour and water glue to secure the packaging (which held despite the package getting wet from rain),  tied with string for extra support.   My gift, which was a great ceramic piece, was packed in a box with popped pop corn taking the traditional place of styrofoam.  It worked really well and the present arrived safe and sound.  Another great rubbish free gift was a ‘Gift for Life’ card from Tear Fund, whereby instead of giving us something, money was donated to Tear Fund for chickens and seeds for a micro-enterprise project in a rural area of Malawi, Africa.

We have been quite considered in stocking up with food to see us over the next few days.  For example, the old impromptu barbecue can cause a few problems when the butcher isn’t open and the supermarkets still insist on only offering meat on styrofoam trays.  Therefore, we purchased plenty of barbecue meat which we have frozen in appropriate quantities so that we can pull that out when the need arises – as it did last night.  The only additions we’ve had to our rubbish bag this week, was the plastic clear wrapping around the lid of a jar of dijon mustard that I bought in a bit of rush completely forgetting about rubbish free as I did so, and a bit of plastic from the patch in a bicycle tire repair kit.  We are in complete awe of our friends and family for pulling off a rubbish free Christmas – well done!

Next week we are hoping to be well out of reach of internet and computers as we celebrate the new year arriving, so will see you all the following week.  Also huge apology to any vegans who freaked out about the comment on cellophane last week.  Waveney has asked me to pass on her apologies regarding the misinformed statement that cellophane is made from ground calves hooves.  It is cellulose – plant based matter.  Sorry about that one!!  Special thanks to Moria who pointed it out.

5 thoughts on “Week 47 – Christmas Blog

  1. Great photo! We will keep this one. Glad you liked the organic bubble wrap. We enjoyed eating what didn’t fit in the box.


  2. Happy New Year Waveney & Matthew, and well done! I came upon this site rather late in the project, but have enjoyed reading the blog and now want to make my 2009 as rubbish-free as I can. Since you are winding up this site soon, can you recommend any others that also give helpful tips and product information? (I’ve given myself a Bokashi system as a Xmas/New Year gift already — no packaging, bought from the local organic store!)


  3. My wife and I have been following your efforts for the best part of a year now – so first up congratulations – and thanks for all the hints.
    We have a couple of questions about your recycling – I know the challenge was to do away with rubbish but..
    Milk – do you use plastic or cardboard – or something else entirely? Is there a reason for your choice?
    Recycling in general – since you went rubbish free, has your amount of recycling gone up, stayed the same, or even gone down (as you are now using less packaging in general)?

    Your effort is an inspiration to many, many around NZ, so thanks.

    For Milk we use plastic. The cardboard option is tetra pak which is a cardboard, foil and plastic combo – impossible to recycle. Until two years ago we used the glass bottle from the gate system. It was great, but must have been uneconomical for Meadow Fresh. In regards to recycling generally the amount we recycle has gone dramatically down. Because we go to the bulk food stores for things we can only get there we now are in the habit of buying other things there too. E.g. now instead of buying cans of beans we buy the beans bulk, instead of recycling our olive oil bottle we refill it and same for jif, vinegar, detergents etc etc. 🙂


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