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Reducing Waste As A Small Local Business

Here at Little Yellow Bird we strive to cut back on waste as much as possible. 

In fact, looking back over the last year our office has only created about 10kg of waste since last August! This is all possible due to the small changes and initiatives we’ve encouraged at our Wellington site.

We know we’re not perfect in this we're all ears to any suggestions on improvement. Still, here are the main ways we as individuals and a team are doing our bit to keep our footprint small and waste low. 

Recycling 🌱

This is an obvious but important one. We try to reuse or recycle as much as we can. 

Having clearly marked bins is essential for this. Ours were hand made by one of our awesome team members, Alex, and our founder Sam's partner, Tim, from repurposed shelves we no longer needed. We have clearly marked bins for pretty much everything including bottle-caps, soft plastics, and courier labels.

We recycle our bottlecaps with Sustainability Trust

The front of our courier labels are completely compostable while the back is recyclable. We send the back and other soft plastics to Second Life Plastics and The Tiny Plastic Factory so they can be properly recycled.

Below is two years worth of soft plastics we collected recycled with The Tiny Plastic Factory late last year. Extra points as they picked it all up by bike (over several trips).

Stationery 📝

Stationery is something that you might not think about. But when it comes to waste, endlessly throwing away things like plastic pens adds up quickly.

We’ve transitioned to using wooden pencils in the office rather than disposable pens where possible.

We’ve got these wonderful, branded pencils that most of our staff use everyday. They're so cute and they're a great example of a little way to encourage more sustainable solutions in our daily lives.

Reusing & Thrifting 💐

Whenever the office needs supplies or furniture we look first to the second-hand market. We end up getting most of what we need from Facebook Marketplace, TradeMe and op-shops, like this vase below found by the wonderful Emily!

Same goes for when we need to replace our gear. We'd always rather sell or give away our used items rather than sending them to the tip. 

Other little things 🍎

We encourage everyone to use reusable cups and containers for their takeaway lunches and coffee runs. And with the amount of trips we take to our local cafes, this really cuts back on individual waste.

We have an office compost bin that our lovely team member, Phagan takes home a couple times a week to stop food piling up. This means we don’t have to send so much food and uneaten lunches to landfill. Thank you, Phagan! 

We're also leading the way with textile waste recycling. Just like with all our clothing, any offcuts or leftover textiles from us can be recycled too.  You can learn more about our 100% recyclable clothing and take-back initiative here.

Where we can improve ☕🍵

We acknowledge that even with all these little things we still fall short sometimes.

One thing we’ve been really conscious of is our packaging. We use as little as possible when shipping products out to you lovely people by using cardboard and paper based products. But we still receive all our shipments of stock in a large plastic bag. In future, we want to eliminate this entirely.

We also drink quite a bit of tea in this office! And that means a lot of waste from tea bags.

While we use some loose-leaf already, we still have quite a large box of tea bags on the go right now. We'll finish this off first, so as not to waste them, but then we plan to switch exclusively to drinking loose-leaf tea.



It’s funny how all these little things don’t seem like too much on their own but they really add up. 

We have a new goal for 2021. We aim to produce no more than 10kg of waste total over the next year starting now. We'll check back with you in 2022 to see how we did.

What about you guys? What little tips can you give others for how to cut back on everyday waste? What do you do to reduce waste in your life? We'd love to hear from you! 💛


Samantha Jones
Samantha is the CEO and Founder of Little Yellow Bird and is an advocate for sustainable and ethical fashion.

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