> Skip to content

Article  •  7 October 2018


Live smarter. Live sustainably.

Learn how you can reduce, reuse, recycle to live smarter and more sustainably with two new books, Eco Home by Melinda Wililams and Repurposed by Catherine Foster. 

Get your eco-inspiration from two of our recently published titles.

Eco Home, is an entertaining, informative and highly accessible guide to eco-friendly building, renovating and simply living. Repurposed is an aspirational showcase of 20 stunning New Zealand homes that use recycled and upcycled materials, structures, spaces and furnishings.

Repurposed features people who have taken environmental living to the next level, creating a home that is eco-led from the inside out. For Peta and Jo Davy, this meant incorporating disused Australian ironbark telegraph poles into the design of their innovative Mangere home, while Fleur Palmer and Justin Marler transformed an army barracks into a secluded suburban oasis in Point Chevalier.

Whether it’s looking beyond the original purpose of a building to create a new, unique dwelling, reimagining a use for items that would otherwise go to waste, or simply reducing our consumption of non-renewable materials, there are so many ways you and your family can contribute to a cleaner, greener planet.

And now, for some kitchen life hacks that are sure to improve your personal green-star rating, and that you can easily incorporate into everyday life, starting today! 

DESIGNING A WASTE-FREE KITCHEN: tips from Melinda Williams' Eco Home

Audit your eating
Tiny changes to your shopping habits can easily eliminate rubbish that you throw out every week. For example, if you buy chicken breasts every week, taking a reusable container to the supermarket’s butchery section rather than grabbing a pre-wrapped tray from the chiller will eliminate 52 pieces of plastic wrap, 52 plastic trays and 52 of those disgusting chicken-juice soaked pads from your rubbish every year.

Stick to fresh ingredients: There’s a direct correlation between the amount of processed food you eat and the amount of rubbish you generate. Try to shop the periphery of the supermarket — that’s where all the fresh food in the least packaging is kept — and avoid going down the aisles. Or shop at farmers’ markets — fresh foods without the temptations of their convenience-packaged cousins.

Learn to make basics: There is a huge amount of pleasure and accomplishment in making your own staple foods like bread, butter, yoghurt, stock or pasta sauce — and it’s usually a lot easier than you think.

Plan your meals and shop to a list: According to a report prepared for the Ministry for the Environment, every year the average New Zealander sends 61.2 kg of food waste to landfill. Meal planning helps decrease that waste (and the chore of having to regularly expunge those soggy cucumbers and the expired meat that you didn’t get around to coming up with a recipe for from your fridge).

Eliminate disposable bags: You probably already bring your own reusable carrier bags to the supermarket, and the major supermarkets are slowly starting to eliminate plastic carrier bags from checkouts as well. Lightweight reusable produce bags (usually made of string or recycled plastic mesh) will help bring your plastic bag count to zero.

Invest in reusable storage containers: Reuse jars or buy storage containers for baking ingredients, spices and dried foods like pastas and grains that can be refilled at bulk food outlets. Some bulk food stores even have online shops that will send your order straight to your door in paper bags.

Segment your bins: Segmented under-bench bins make it easy to separate your different kinds of waste. Ideally, you’ll have four: one for ‘regular’ recycling, one for soft plastics, one for compost scraps and one for landfill.

Grow your own herbs: Besides being expensive, store-bought herbs almost inevitably come wrapped or boxed in plastic. Save money and waste by growing potted herbs on your counter, windowsill, balcony or deck (close to the kitchen is best).

Compost your scraps: Composting is one of the most beneficial ways to recycle in your home, giving you a first-hand experience of transforming waste into useable nutrients and connecting you directly to the cycles of nature.

Repurposed Catherine Foster

New ways to use old materials, spaces and buildings, by the author of Small House Living.

Buy now
Buy now

Eco Home Melinda Williams

A practical guide to building, renovating and living sustainably in New Zealand today.

Buy now
Buy now

More features

See all
Container House

A sneak peek inside the world-famous Container House located in Wellington's Owhiro Bay.

The book that made John Green want to become a BookTokker

Learn all about John Green’s BookTok recommendation: Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow

DK Eyewitness bookseller guide

Explore DK's revitalised travel list, covering everything local and abroad.

DK Catalogue 2022

Be inspired by DK's vast array of wonderful books in our 2022 catalogue.

Love Dolly Alderton? This is what you should read after Everything I Know About Love

Wondering what to read after Everything I Know About Love? If you’re a fan of Dolly Alderton’s first book, then you’ll love her second book: Ghosts. Learn all about it and discover more similar titles.

Meet the 6 most important characters from The Summer I Turned Pretty

Meet the characters from The Summer I Turned Pretty books. Learn about the main characters and important family members who play a role in the trilogy.

Quiz: Which The Summer I Turned Pretty character am I?

Take this quiz to find out which character you’re most like from The Summer I Turned Pretty.

The easy breathing technique that will help reduce your anxiety

These five easy steps will teach you how to do square breathing for anxiety. Using this simple mindfulness tool can help lower your heart rate and curb anxious thoughts the moment they arise.

Find your perfect winter read!

Temperatures are dropping, the nights are getting darker and it’s the perfect time to find a cozy spot to curl up with a good book . . .

Lynette Noni shares sage advice for developing lifelike characters

Lynette Noni, bestselling author of YA fantasy The Prison Healer trilogy shares how she creates unforgettable characters that feel like real people.

Real readers review: Faraway Girl

What do NZ YA fans really think of Fleur Beale's latest book?

QUIZ: Which Emily Henry book should you read?

If you're a fan of contemporary romance with humour and wit, you've probably heard of Emily Henry - find out which of her novels you should pick up with this handy quiz!

Looking for more articles?

See all articles