Tips for waste minimisation

​Changing one thing at a time is a great way to reduce your daily waste. You may even find you need to buy fewer rubbish bags as well! Here are some simple ideas that make a difference. Start with one and see how you go. 



The most powerful thing we can do is start to rethink how we deal with our rubbish and waste.

  • Support local business who are environmentally aware and make an effort to reduce waste.
  • Share with businesses what you would like to see them sell, do or not do anymore.
  • Pause before you buy something, and consider these questions:
    • How long will it be in my life for?
    • What is it made of?  Can I recycle it?
    • What happens to it at the end of its life?
    • What packaging does it come in?
    • Do I really need it?
    • Could I borrow or rent one?


Tips for waste minimisation - RefuseLook at different ways to refuse waste and put a stop to the problem before it starts. 

  • Keep your letterbox free of junk mail by putting a “No Ad Mail” sticker up. You can get these stickers for free at all Council offices and libraries. You can also sign up for an electronic mail box with Ecomailbox​. That way you'll still get all your favourite catalogues, but without the need for all that extra paper. 
  • Just say “no thanks” to single-use plastic bags when you are doing your shopping. Take a reusable bag with you instead. 
  • Sip don’t suck.  While straws may be handy the plastic they are made out of is not biodegradable. Next time you are out, don’t take a straw!


Here are some good ways to reduce the amount of rubbish you personally generate.

  • It’s all the rage to use reusable bags when doing the weekly shop. The next step is getting a couple of reusable produce bags. Just get what you need in the handy lightweight produce bags, instead of another single-use plastic bag.
  • Shop wisely by choosing products that have less packaging. Or buy in bulk to reduce the amount of packaging you take home with you.
  • Buy one good quality lifelong item instead of ten cheaper - but not long lasting - options. For example, a classic coat that will last many seasons.

Recharge the soil

Recharge the soilGreen garden waste and food waste​ can recharge the soil.

Read more: Food and garden waste


Read more: Our services - Recycling

​Throw a kids party with zero waste

Raising her two young kids, Nicola from Mainstream Green​ has been to plenty of kids parties. Check out this video to hear her ideas on how to reduce the environmental impact of your next celebration.


  • Consider going virtual
  • Recycle things you already have - kids artwork is a great option
  • Go old school and phone your guests!


  • Consider experiences, home made, pre-loved, or things that can be eaten
  • For wrapping, use the Japanese art of furoshiki (fabric wrapping) ​or recycle what you have
  • Keep a list of things your kids need for when people ask for ideas


  • Avoid over-catering - or have a plan to use, freeze or share leftovers
  • Go for packaging-free food options
  • Compost any food waste


  • Go for reuseables
  • Use what you have, hire, or source secondhand
  • Have a party collection to share amongst friends


  • Go for reuseables like fabric bunting
  • Use things found in nature - flowers, leaves, branches
  • Use a hole punch and dried leaves for confetti
  • Upcycle what you have or source decorations secondhand


  • Choose games that don't require any 'stuff', or try upcycling or reuseables
  • For example, 'pass the parcel' wrapping paper can be replaced with scarves
  • If you have prizes, keep them simple - follow the gift ideas above

Goodie bags

  • If you do choose to have goodie bags, here's a few ideas to reduce waste:
  • A piece of birthday cake, a plant or seeds, something homemade, a personalised story or poem for the guest, something reuseable like a beeswax wrap...

Waste hierachy

Waste hierachy
The Waipā way to deal with our waste!
  1. Re-think
  2. Refuse
  3. Reduce
Then we can try any of these great ways to stop waste going to landfill.
  • Re-use
  • Re-purpose
  • Re-gift
  • Repair
  • Re-charge the soil

Our last resort options are:

  • Recover
  • Recycle
  • Rest goes to landfill

Page reviewed: 10 Jul 2018 3:07pm