Frequently Asked Questions

Yes! All you need to do is get in touch! Please note that there may be a wait time before we are available, depending on where you are located in NZ in relation to our schedule/location (we’re constantly on the move). However, it’s always worth checking in with us – if the stars align and it’s the right place and right time, sometimes we can book things in with a very quick turnaround.

Our talks for schools and public community talks are FREE. For in-house talks to staff at businesses/workplaces, we charge on either a sliding scale or a direct commitment to exchange through the sharing economy (get in touch to discuss).

  1. A venue and a data projector that we can use for free. We have no budget to hire places. If you know of a venue that would be willing to host us for free, or if you have links with your local Council or a business that might be able to host us in one of their spaces or cover venue costs, let us know. We use a PowerPoint for our presentations and workshops, so we also really need access to a data projector or a screen to plug our laptop into.
  2. Help with accommodation – this is how we are able to keep our talks free. With a really low income, paying for accommodation is not possible for us. Please note that we are not fussy – a couch in someone’s lounge, a spare room, a house-sitting arrangement (see below), all such options are perfect (we don’t expect to be put up in motels etc., though that is fine too 😉 ).
  3. Bikes to borrow – this is not essential, but is super helpful, especially if we are staying somewhere for a while.

NB: From February 2019 we have started house sitting. We intend to continue The Rubbish Trip for the foreseeable future, including the nomadic lifestyle it requires, but by February 2019 we’d clocked 19 months straight of moving between places every few days. We would like to slow the pace of the trip down and stay in a community for several weeks rather than a few days. We’d like to make this financially viable through house sitting. As a reciprocal arrangement, house sitting also enables us to contribute more to the people who let us stay in their home than is otherwise possible. We welcome anyone who would like a house sitter, wherever you are in New Zealand, to get in contact with us as we may be able to help you out 🙂 At this stage we are not looking for WWOOFing opportunities as The Rubbish Trip schedule/workload is simply too demanding.

The Rubbish Trip receives no funding grants from local or central government, businesses or organisations to run our tour and flagship presentations and we do NOT do product placement. At times, an individual or body from any of these groups might cover our venue hire, accommodation costs, reimburse our expenses, or give us food.

Sometimes, councils give us a koha if they’ve hosted our talk, but that is both unsolicited and quite unusual. As of mid-2018, we now also charge for the talks we deliver in workplaces/businesses (see “What do you charge for your presentations and workshops?” above).

We have received a few hundred dollars from Entrust Foundation, which set up and operates The Kiwi Bottle Drive, as a thank you for our promotion of bottle deposits. This was retrospective to our voluntarily promoting bottle deposits and had no influence on our decision/desire to promote and continue to promote bottle deposits, which we 100% support.

In 2019, both of us have taken up side products that we are occasionally remunerated for. Liam is developing his music and waste programme, Resoursonance, which has received funding from Wellington City Council and Creative New Zealand. Hannah is doing freelance legal and policy work for various waste-related advocacy groups and campaigns that align with The Rubbish Trip’s view and approach.

We are committed to providing New Zealanders with impartial information that accurately reflects our informed view about all things zero waste. We believe that the public’s ability to trust some of our key resources – such as our Regional Zero Waste Guides, our presentation content, and our advocacy around waste policy – would be compromised if we were to receive funding from businesses, government and even some philanthropic donors.

Our alternative approach means we maintain full control over what we do and don’t say, the businesses, services and initiatives we do and don’t promote, and total flexibility if we wish to retract/change our position on any matter based on new information. Our criteria is based exclusively on advancing zero waste in New Zealand and making it easier for New Zealanders to access information that will help them reduce their waste.

A secondary matter is we just do not have time/capacity to be filling out funding applications and grant forms and have no desire to do this or prioritise this. We just want to spend our time getting our message out there.

We are committed to our public and school events being free because we are passionate about keeping information about sustainable lifestyle choices as accessible as possible. For many people, schools and community groups, money is a barrier to accessing all kinds of information that isn’t available through conventional channels, and to hosting public speakers.

We fully acknowledge the existence of many amazing people and organisations who absolutely need to make a living and who do charge for their services, which will often be well worth the money. Our approach should not be interpreted as a criticism of them. Rather, we are lucky enough to be in a position where we don’t need to charge,* and so we choose not to.

We are extremely grateful that people are interested enough in what we have to say to attend our events. We see our audiences as our guests and we like to reciprocate with hospitality and warmth. Charging people to attend doesn’t sit with the kaupapa of The Rubbish Trip. Our desire to show hospitality is also why we like to provide at least some free kai at our public talks.

Having said all this, if people/groups/organisations do wish to koha, for whatever reason, we will gratefully accept, but reiterate that this is not expected.

*For example, we do not have kids or dependents to support.

To make it possible to maintain the above commitments, we live frugally and rely on the sharing economy. We run The Rubbish Trip on a daily budget of $20 (which covers The Rubbish Trip’s expenses as well as our own personal living costs). Everything else is arranged through the sharing economy – for example, we deliver our talks for free, in exchange for accommodation support from the community, venue hire, or offerings of fruit and vegetables.

Although we do not live entirely without money, our simple living approach and our willingness to ‘work’ for ‘free’ has been inspired by other trailblazers. For example, Mark Boyle and Heidemarie Schwermer, as well as our previous experience working for international anti-poverty organisation ATD Fourth World, whose approach to remuneration for their core workers/Volunteer Corps is revolutionary and profoundly affected us.

For the first 18 months of The Rubbish Trip our $20 a day budget came from crowdfunding, which we felt was a good, transparent way to raise what are – in the scheme of things – pretty low costs. 

However, in 2019 we decided to pause this method of fundraising because the same people were donating over and over (often substantial amounts) and we felt this was unfair on them.

Instead, we’re now working towards funding our daily budget through occasional talks at businesses and workplaces (which we no longer offer for free, see “What do you charge for your presentations and workshops?” above) and self-funding the rest through waste policy consultancy work carefully selected to align with our values (Hannah) and music gigs and lessons (Liam). We think this will be sufficient to raise our $20 daily budget – it’s a trial for 2019, so let’s see how it goes!!

We get between main centres by hitchhiking or bus (and boats between islands!). We’d like to get the trains more, but they’re #tooexpensive. Within towns or cities we walk, cycle and use public transport. We do not drive ourselves and we do not fly. For the first year of The Rubbish Trip we did have a petrol car (a Honda Fit) to get between main centres (with bikes for getting around towns and cities). Feel free to read about our decision to go car-free (including EV-free).

No. We chose not to travel in a van that we could sleep in and opted for full-time couchsurfing (and now house-sitting) instead. Although a van would have allowed us greater flexibility/independence when it came to accommodation, as a larger vehicle it would have produced more emissions than we were comfortable with.

The Rubbish Trip is a personal project we have taken on as a couple – more of a vocation than a job and hard to entangle from the rest of our personal lives. We also don’t make money. For these two reasons, we aren’t hiring and probably won’t be into the foreseeable future! 

Having said that, we do very much like to collaborate with or support other groups, organisations and individuals who have their own projects going that align with zero waste. Get in touch if you think there’s a way we can collaborate.

We don’t allow filming of our presentations or workshops and we don’t distribute our slides. There are a gazillion videos online already about low-waste living that anyone can watch at home, so we don’t feel like lack of info online is a problem we need to address.

Our focus is on giving people a real reason to come to presentations and workshops in person, dedicate a chunk of time to focus on the content (which can’t be forwarded, skipped through or left half-watched), away from screens, and amongst other waste-conscious people in their community. Our passion for this medium of communication is why we take The Rubbish Trip on the road full time, to as many corners of NZ as possible. We want to reach people the old school way!

However, we do have a very wide variety of free resources and materials on our website, including our recipes for different foods and snacks, toiletries, cleaners, and our Regional Zero Waste Guides.

We have no base as we are on the road full-time and have been since July 2017 (hence the “No-Waste Nomads” subtitle 😉 ). Before this date we had been living (renting) in Wellington for the best part of a decade – so lots of our peeps are there and it’s probably the closest thing we have to a hometown. However, we don’t live there anymore and when we visit we couchsurf just like everywhere else in NZ.

Although we have no home, if everything turned to custard we’d be OK because our immediate family lives in New Zealand and they have homes (in Palmerston North and Waiheke Island) – so we have an emergency base, of sorts!