We're normal folks living our best lives on the North Shore of Auckland, New Zealand. With beautiful beaches and bush on our doorstep that we enjoy visiting and experiencing, we're very motivated in our mission to reduce waste and keep this land beautiful.
We wanted to do our part to reduce our carbon footprint and made a start by trying to reduce the amount of rubbish that leaves our home. We've only got a small wheely bin, but it was going out weekly and this seemed a lot for two people, two dogs, and a flock of chickens. We were looking for ways to make small changes with a big impact.
The Nespresso machine was an obvious starting point for us as we were creating a lot of pod waste. We tried the recycling scheme but found this a little impractical, so next we started emptying the pods by hand, adding the coffee to the compost bin, then cleaning and separating out the parts before putting the recyclable bits into the recycling bin - as you can imagine - this took a bit of time. We looked around for a better solution and found reusable capsules, so bought some and found they were brilliant and saved us a ton of time.
After a while, a new product appeared in the supermarkets, biodegradable capsules. Yippee! Yes we bought these. The thought of just being able to bin them guilt-free, or throw the pods in the compost without emptying them out first was too good to resist. We tried these for several months in combination with the reusables. Nine months down the line, the original pods we threw in the compost bin were still not even remotely starting to break down. We were a bit disappointed to say the least, so went back to only using the reusables again.
We wanted to reduce our carbon footprint further by finding a way to make the reusable pods here in NZ with either recycled plastics or bioplastics. Whilst researching the possibilities of doing this, we discovered the World's first truly home compostable coffee capsules made of paper and sugar cane. We did a happy dance, then emailed them and asked how we could get them into NZ. We've been using these pods ourselves to trial them, and they are wonderful. They break down in days just sitting on the kitchen counter.
Over the past year our journey has seen us go from putting out our waste bin weekly, to only putting it out 4 weekly, using no plastic when shopping - we just throw those veggies in the trolley as naked as the day they were harvested then wash them before use, turning off and unplugging electrical items when not in use, rescuing battery farm hens and subsequently being overrun with eggs and having to give eggs away on a regular basis to friends and family, not using the tumble dryer unless we absolutely have to, and if we do use the tumble dryer then we use the condensed water to pre-fill the washing machine, going from one worm farm to two worm farms and three compost bins, and all of this is pain free change that's easy to achieve for anyone.
We're in no way perfect, but are hoping that the small changes we make inspire others to make similar changes. If lots of people make lots of small changes, this may have a bigger impact than a few people making large changes.
Don't worry that you're not doing it right, or not doing enough, just by doing something you are helping, and you are taking a first step on a journey towards zero waste and a lower carbon footprint.