Q & A


After appearing on TV3 news we had an overwhelming response with people really enthusiastic about what we are doing and wanting to learn more. It was an interesting experience going on national television and I thought that we appeared perhaps more extreme than we really are. There were also a lot of questions posted on the TV3 Facebook page so here are the answers to the most common.

Are we vegetarians?

Yes, well more like flexitarians. We don’t normally eat meat but on the odd occasion we may buy some for the kids or eat meat in a situation where it is appropriate. We eat fish infrequently in small quantities and mussels often as they are cheap. We always take our own containers when shopping and in all cases prefer wild caught or home killed meat and seafood.

Do we eat dairy?

Yes. We get raw milk using stainless steel milk cans direct from a farm which we acknowledge is probably not a realistic option for most people. We are exceptionally lucky as we have a family member who lives rurally and collects this for us prior to visiting, we then freeze the milk in plastic bottles (which we reuse) and take out when needed. Cheese and butter we buy from the supermarket. The cheese wrapping we recycle at the soft plastic recycling station at our local Pak’n’Save and the paper from the butter we put in the compost heap.

What was in our rubbish? (See previous post ‘A month in, lessons learnt.’)

On the news clip I was just quoted as saying ‘plasticy stuff’ and ‘items that have a short life span’, which doesn’t give people a good idea at all. The story also didn’t mention that we recycle. We had planned to tip the bin out at the end of the year and do a thorough audit however a newborn, toddler, and Christmas got on top of us and the best we could do at the time was rifle through the bin with our hands. So from the rifle and from memory here are the contents:

Plastic and Miscellaneous

Broken toys- dolls, stationery  (I had someone give me a box of plastic toys which I accepted out of courtesy- 90% of it was broken or poor condition, this went in my bin), around 4 damp rid devices, shoes – at least 4 pairs, a weed mat approx 1.5 by 1 metre. All of this took up a decent amount of 140 litres. The rest was random stuff – sticky things, pill packets, styrofoam meat trays that came from gifted homekill meat, non recyclable or compostable food wrapping, broken glass and ceramics and some clothes (ripped and synthetic so not suitable for compost or charity shops).


I regret not keeping better track of my recycling. We put the bin out infrequently throughout the year, perhaps around 4 or 5 times. Mostly comprising of cans, punnets, newspapers, junkmail, paper, tetra packs.

Soft plastics we had in our landfill bin until the latter part of the year then I fished them out for soft plastic recycling. We bought a new shed that came in a box with individually wrapped sheets of metal. The packaging from this filled 1/4 of our landfill bin until I took it out for recycling. Cheese packaging, toilet paper packaging, and some other food packets went to the soft plastics recycling.

Do we grow all our own fruit and vegetables?

Tomatoes and corn at PERA community garden

No. We grow what we can in our small garden and containers, and belong to a community garden that also supplements our diet. Carrots, potatoes and kumara are among staples that we buy either from the supermarket or local market on a weekly basis. I also belong to a local food and garden group, we meet once a month to share and swap plants, fresh produce, and seeds.

Do we brush our teeth with baking soda and what’s a bamboo toothbrush?

Max and I use baking soda for our cleaning teeth, the kids use store bought toothpaste. We use Go Bamboo brand toothbrushes which look exactly like a normal one but the handle is made from bamboo and the bristles are biodegradable.


2 thoughts on “Q & A”

  1. Last two posts really informative and answered a couple of our questions. Ive been amazed at how much difference the recycling of soft packaging has made to our landfill. Thanks for helping us on our journey Candace!


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