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No-waste nomads talking rubbish

It was standing room only last night at a trash-talking waste reduction workshop at the Tairawhiti Environment Centre.

More than 100 Gisborne people packed in to hear self-described “no-waste nomads” Hannah Blumhardt and Liam Prince talk about their waste-free journey, which began in 2015.

Ms Blumhardt and Mr Prince, originally from Wellington, decided to try to reduce the amount of waste they generated by living without a rubbish bin.

They found it was easier than they thought and have since begun to share what they have learned with others.

The pair have been on the road for the past year, taking their Rubbish Trip roadshow around the country.

“It was meant to be a one-off but then it spiralled out of control,” Blumhardt said.

“We started in July last year and have now given more than 200 workshops to more than 10,000 people, which is really amazing.”

Tairawhiti Environment Centre manager Theresa Zame said the turnout last night indicated a shift in community thinking about sustainable living.

“There was such a wide range of people who attended.

“We had groups of teenagers, seniors and families, and people who had been living sustainably for a long time, as well as those who were curious about how to take the first step.

“It really shows how awareness is growing, which is a great thing.”

The no-waste nomads are here for the first time and have additonal workshops scheduled in Tolaga Bay, Tokomaru Bay and Ruatoria.

Ms Blumhardt said over the course of the past six months, interest in the lifestyle had noticeably exploded.

Increased reporting on the impact of waste, especially on the oceans, paired with increased awareness about the limitations of recycling meant more people in New Zealand were seeking ways to do their bit.

The free workshops provide practical tips on how to live with a zero-waste footprint, drawn from the duo’s personal experiences living waste-free.

People would learn why reducing waste was important, as well as how to do it, so it did not matter if they were starting out or well involved in reducing waste, Ms Blumhardt said.

“There’s something for everybody.

“We have found people are really, really keen to reduce waste but people often don’t know how or where to start.”

Their biggest tip is to start with the easiest things.

Take a cup, container and cutlery with you when heading out, in case you want to buy takeaways.

Bring your own bags and containers to the supermarket, shop at bulk stores or join a food co-op.

Since making the decision in 2015, the couple have never looked back and say because of it, their lives have been enriched.

“We’re healthier, we’ve saved a lot of money with this lifestyle, and have learned to be more creative as you make a lot of things from scratch,” said Ms Blumhardt.

The Rubbish Trip roadshow will give free workshops in Tolaga Bay tomorrow, Tokomaru Bay on Saturday, and Ruatoria on Tuesday.

For more information contact the environment centre on 867 4708, email tairawhitienvcentre@gmail.com or visit their Facebook page.

RUBBISH-FREE SINCE 2015: Trash-talking duo Liam Prince and Hannah Blumhardt spoke to a packed house at a workshop on living waste-free last night. They are on tour with their Rubbish Trip roadshow. Photo supplied