Preaching to “the Converted” #6: Marcella and Jilles Hoedemaker

Preaching to “the Converted” #6: Marcella and Jilles Hoedemaker
We are a Dutch family who immigrated to NZ in 2011 and landed in Dunedin, where we still live, with much pleasure. We are a husband (Herman) and wife (Marcella) with a 19 year old (Thijs) and a 13 year old son (Jilles) and an 8 year old dog called Tui. We have traveled a lot around the globe and thought NZ is the place to live instead of the overcrowded Netherlands. We want to live more sustainably and feel that the effort we put towards something, really makes a difference and that is rewarding and motivating. The picture to the left is of me and my son Jilles after picking up litter. We filled the bag in 10-15 minutes. The rubbish will end up in landfill, however not in the ocean anymore.

My 13 year old son and I went to The Rubbish Trip talk in Dunedin library. I also took part in the Bare Essentials: DIY Bathroom products workshop the following day. We are still under the positive influence of the powerful, practical, non-judgmental, well-researched presentation of Hannah and Liam’s zero waste journey – so much to take in and the will to start with it all.

What made it work for us is the presentation, the everyday examples, do more with less, a very useful website and the call to be aware of nature. My son had to come. He is involved with a project through school called EMR, Experiencing Marine Reserves, and had to make a sustainable plan and action to win a trip to the Poor Knights Islands. My reasoning, he needs ideas, he is the future, it is we and not me who has to make changes in our family rubbish habits. He was impressed too, although did not win the competition.

We made changes in our house. We recycle soft plastic, refuse plastic, bulk buy with our own containers. We bought bamboo toothbrushes and silk floss that I compost. Although my son is reluctant to use home made toothpaste, every time he does it, it helps. We do our own harbour/beach clean ups when taking the dog for a walk. All this has already led to us not having to put out the bin every week (not that it was full anyway). We always have bags with us for shopping. We will make a dog compost bin in our garden because we are not renting anymore.

Everything we own needs a place and a use or else it will be sold or re homed. We shop in stores where we can take our own containers, buy local fruit and veggies when possible, we started to use milk in refillable glass bottles, made my own produce bags, make jam, apple sauce etc. We have a large garden and are planning our fruit and vegetable plots. Our main goal is to have no more bin, very little rubbish, less money spent at supermarkets, more money for fun things. Most important, we want to nurture our respect and love for nature.

In my environment I am already noticing the change. People are shocked by their own rubbish. We all felt we were doing the right thing (the other day on the bus I overheard a conversation between two old ladies about how they used plastics because back in the day they were told that would save the trees). People are talking about waste more. There are more presentations and workshops from other people, posts on social media and the news is overloaded with articles. People are on a roll and hopefully the power of the people can maintain this momentum and lead us to make the much-needed changes and to force companies to take actions that are helpful, rather than diverting from the problem.

We would like to thank The Rubbish Trip for putting in so much time and effort to make people aware of their lifestyle and the consequences for nature and themselves, and for providing helpful solutions and motivation to search for the individual/ family resources.

Our family is so motivated to make the world a better place. This reminds me of what my mother used to tell me as a child, “if you want to change the world, start with yourself”. Here we are on our family mission, with determination we will get there!
This post is part of our blog series “A Waste of Time?: Preaching to ‘the converted’”. You can read about the origin and kaupapa of this series here.

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