Six months' rubbish — in one bag

  • 10 August 2011
  • Home Energy Centre

Ralph and Ali Hogan decided to cut down the rubbish they sent to landfill. Six months later, they still hadn't filled a single council rubbish bag.

Ralph (pictured) said they virtually eliminated their landfill rubbish through careful shopping and lots of recycling and composting.

So how did they do it? 'It all starts at the grocery store,' said Ralph. 'We try to choose items that come in paper, glass, tin, or number 1 or 2 plastic.

'We buy products in bulk when possible to avoid temporary packaging. Whenever we do not find a product in a recyclable container, we ask customer service for assistance. Sometimes we just go without.'

Non-recyclable plastic containers are used for refrigerator storage or organising bins, Ralph said. They shop with reusable grocery bags — 'If we find ourselves buying something when we don't have our bags, we decline plastic bags if we can manage to get our purchases without.'

Each week Ralph and Ali collect 10 litres of vegetable scraps in their compost pail, which they deposit along with grass clippings at a community garden compost pile in Porirua.

'Done properly, there is not a problem with smell or critters. Layering is the key…turn from time to time for air. It is an aerobic process.

'As difficult as it is, we try not to buy rubbish. If it costs twice as much but lasts 10 times longer, we come out way ahead and so does the environment,' said Ralph.

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