Auckland family takes eco to a new level

Auckland family takes eco to a new level

An Auckland family of five has managed to fit one year's worth of their rubbish into one wheelie bin.

What began as a new year's resolution has kicked off a new way of living.

It's empty now but the single wheelie bin held a year's worth of the Weir-Barwell family's rubbish.

What's more impressive is there are five of them in their busy household, including two-year-old Marcie and six-week-old Naomi.

That means a lot of cloth nappies to wash and dry, but the family says it's worth it.

"I just want to have a good environment and good world for my children and people in the future," says Max Barwell.

They've set a new challenge – to cut back on even more waste.

"I think it's good because if we want to save the environment we can't just make more rubbish. It will kill all of the ocean animals," says Nena Weir.

But they're realistic about their target.

"We're not hippies by any stretch of the imagination; we're a pretty normal family. We don't buy all organics or anything. Cost and practicability drive most of it," says Mr Barwell.

So things are pretty simple; food is mostly home-grown or homemade, and if it's bought from the shops, the family take their own containers and bags to buy rice, flour and sugar.

The bags were made from old netting.

Every time the family buy goods they make sure they're recyclable or compostable, like bamboo toothbrushes, used with baking soda instead of toothpaste.

The Weir-Barwells say the simple life is better for their health and pockets, and they insist it takes the same amount of effort and time.

"If we make something we make a lot of it, and then it lasts a long time. I don't think I'm any busier than any other mum with young kids,"says Candace Weir.

Their tip for newbies is to start small.

"In the average Auckland rubbish bin there's around 40 percent food waste, so composting is your first bet,"says Ms Weir.

But they say any change, big or small, will make a difference.

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