Back to Basics: How we have managed to produce zero waste

Our columnist Lydia Harvey's challenge to stop shopping at the supermarket has completely changed the life of her and her family. Not only are they growing produce out of their backyard they're also reducing their waste and learning to recycle what they use. 

One of the biggest changes we feel has happened since taking up our challenge this year, besides a massive lifestyle change, is the changes we've made to our environment.

I wouldn't say our waste is non-existent, but since we've stopped shopping at the supermarket it's reduced significantly.

A huge part of how we are achieving this is through eating food that we have grown, that is in season or we've sourced locally.

The Harveys compost their food scraps to lower to reduce their waste.
The Harveys compost their food scraps to lower to reduce their waste. Source: 1 NEWS

Doing this we have drastically reduced our waste in regards to packaging, food mileage and factory emissions.

We're pretty lucky that where we live the local market is happy to refill our containers, baskets and jars which helps reduce the amount of rubbish such as plastic bags we would otherwise accumulate shopping at the supermarket.

In the form of food waste, we have a zero food to landfill policy.

This means that left over meals get used for dinner the next day - usually in a pastry filling.

Lydia's sons with their chickens.
Lydia's sons with their chickens. Source: 1 NEWS

All other food waste goes in one of our three composting systems for standard food scraps which consist of a worm farm, a general compost bin and scraps for the chickens.

Useful scraps such as egg shells are dried out for the kids to break up and spread across the garden to stop snails eating baby greens, while we turn apple cores into vinegar for bottling.

Our milk comes from a local farmer which we collect in glass jars and we use Morse bags if we purchase anything from local markets.

By opting out of the supermarket, we have seen a change in how we look at what we’re using and this has flowed over into other areas of our life.

By opting out we have gained a little more of our consumerism power back.

From Lydia’s Garden – Homemade Muesli

Lydia's homemade muesli.
Lydia's homemade muesli. Source: 1 NEWS

Lydia’s scrumptious and simple recipe for homemade muesli will get your mouth watering and have you longing for breakfast.

3 cups rolled oats
¾ cup shredded coconut
zest of 2 oranges
Fresh juice from 2 oranges
2 tbsp. of brown sugar
2 lines of Whittaker’s dark chocolate chopped

Combine the rolled oats, coconut, zest, sugar and orange juice into a large roasting dish and toast for 5-10 minutes in the oven.

Remove for the oven and cool.

Once cool add favourite combination of seeds and nuts. For me I use seeds, goji berry, crushed peanuts, dried fruit peel and chopped up chocolate to the mix.

Serve with yoghurt and your favourite fruit.

Gardening with Lydia's children.
Gardening with Lydia's children. Source: 1 NEWS

Doctor's stark warning after Christchurch synthetic cannabis overdoses

"There's no doubt, if you're smoking this stuff, you're gambling with your life."

That's the stark warning to users of synthetic cannabis from an emergency room doctor in Christchurch after a "nasty batch" of the drug has caused 10 people to overdose in the city in the last 48 hours.

Dr Mark Gilbert said there are eight people still critically ill and "we can’t guarantee they’ll live".

The people were unconscious when they arrived at the emergency room, the doctor said.

"When the patients come to the emergency room, we're finding they're in various states of unconsciousness, they can’'t really tell us anything, we get very little information, sometimes no information."

He offered a stark warning to people using synthetic cannabis.

"There’s no doubt, if you’re smoking this stuff, you’re gambling with your life," he said.

"We’d strongly advise that particularly at the moment, where there seems to be a bad batch in Christchurch, that people stay away from smoking even small amounts of this."

"It seems there's no safe level of this drug to smoke."

Dr Gilbert said it appeared the "bad batch" of the drug being sold was "causing particularly severe affects".

He went on to say: "The symptoms of this range in severity, but they generally start off with some agitation and confusion then precede to coma and seizures and in severe cases, cardiac rhythm disturbances and this can precede to cardiac arrest and death," he said.

Emergency department doctor Mark Gilbert says the patients have been critically unwell as a bad batch of the drug is sold. Source: 1 NEWS


Ten children taken to hospital after plane emits unknown substance over Carterton school

Ten primary school children in Carterton have been taken to Wairarapa Hospital after a plane is thought to have accidentally sprayed the school with pesticide. 

The incident happened at approximately 1pm at South End School in the town.

Wellington Free Ambulance says 10 children with moderate symptoms have been transported to the hospital in Masterton and paramedics are treating 40 other people - children and adults - with very minor symptoms. 

Four ambulances and a Lifeflight helicopter are being used, Geoff Procter of Wellington Free Ambulance said. 

“We are taking a precautionary approach. All the children and their families are being well looked after with extra food and water," he said. 

One-hundred-and-seven people are going through a decontamination process, consisting of washing down, and fresh dry clothes, Mr Procter said. 

"The decontamination process takes a while. We’re all here and on hand to make sure everyone is safe and well.” 

Symptoms the affected children have are generally low-level, consisting of nausea, vomiting and itchy eyes, he said. 

Mr Procter advises that if anyone‘s condition deteriorates, call 111. 

Parents have been seen arriving at the school with a change of clothes and children are slowly coming out one by one in towels. 

A plane is suspected of accidentally spraying the school with pesticide and several children have been hospitalised. Source: 1 NEWS

Carterton Fire senior station officer Wayne Robinson said local people have been presenting to the local medical centre after the incident. 

A 1 NEWS reporter at the scene says there are numerous appliances there and roads are blocked in several directions. 

NZ First MP Ron Mark who lives in Carterton has told 1 NEWS it seems a plane has accidentally sprayed the school with pesticide.

Police say they are investigating and are going door to door in the area checking on residents' welfare and trying to locate the source of the smell. 

They are also searching the school's grounds.

Carterton District Mayor John Booth says parents are very worried. 

A statement on the school's Facebook page read: "A plane flew in a southward direction and one student had seen 'stuff' coming out of the plane - so we assume it was a fertiliser of some sort - several students have experienced feeling quezzy and ucky."

Parents waiting outside South End School.
Parents waiting outside South End School. Source: 1 NEWS

This follows a report of an aircraft dropping an unknown substance near the school. Source: 1 NEWS


Tauranga mussel processing plant ordered to pay nearly $280k after worker loses eye

A Tauranga mussel processing plant has been ordered to pay nearly $280,000 after a worker had to have his eye removed after an incident involving a corrosive cleaning product.

In a statement Worksafe says North Island Mussels Limited was sentenced in the Tauranga District Court today following the January 2017 incident which left their worker with life changing injuries.

The incident saw the worker decanting a cleaning product as a piece of tubing flicked him in the eye. The impact caused so much damage that the eye had to be removed, while the damage inflicted was so significant that fitting a prosthetic became impossible.

As a result, North Island Mussels Limited have been sentenced with a fine of $219,375, and ordered to pay $60,000 in reparation.

An investigation found that the cleaning product in question should not have been made available to be handled, instead should have been hardwired and plumbed for use.

"Protective equipment should not be the go to safety solution for using hazardous substances. If there is a smarter and safer way of doing a job, and it is reasonably practicable for it to be implemented then that is the expectation of the Health and Safety at Work Act" said WorkSafe's Deputy General Manager for Operations and Specialist Services Simon Humphries.

Seafood processing plant staff checking weight of mussels in small plastic container before packing
Mussel factory (file picture). Source:

Government to loan $339 million for Auckland housing infrastructure

Auckland Council is getting a $339 million government loan to enable 7000 houses to be built in the north-west of the city.

The interest free 10-year loan will go towards major infrastructure projects in Redhills and Whenuapai.

Auckland mayor Phil Goff said it will deliver new roads, wasterwater infrastructure, bus and cycle lanes.

This will allow developers to quickly build housing on greenfields land.

Housing Minister Phil Twyford said the developments would be near the planned light rail line and be supported by growth at the Westgate commercial centre, providing local services and employment opportunities.

He said the investment promoted one of the city's more affordable areas.

QV estimates properties in west Auckland average $824,000 compared to over $1m city-wide, he said.

Housing Minister Phil Twyford is now weighing up his options.
Source: 1 NEWS