Nic Turner

The Cambridge mum who fills only a wheelie bin of rubbish a year and is championing a waste-free lifestyle. 

Words Natalie Cyra

An everyday mum who is doing big things in the waste-free space, Turner has started a greenfulness movement which she hopes will take off all around the country and change our ugly daily habits around waste for the better. 

Nic Turner is a woman on a mission. The founder of Mainstream Green, New Zealand’s first ‘greenfulness’ coaching business, Turner hopes to encourage as many New Zealanders as she can to change their relationship with ‘stuff’, and join the zero-waste movement. 

Based in Cambridge but working nationwide, Turner believes less stuff is better for our personal wellbeing and the planet, and works with individuals, businesses and councils to spread the message of greenfulness and empower others to make simple changes that can make a big impact. Turner does this through speaking events, house tours (she takes people through her home to show them how her family live a zero-waste life), education and advisory services, and active social media accounts.  

Nic Turner and her family only put out one wheelie bin of rubbish a year. 

With a career background in consumer goods, Turner used to research and understand how shoppers behave in the supermarket and orchestrate things to make them consume more. But now, says Turner, “I want to use my power for good, and help people to be more mindful of what they consume. I’ve personally undertaken a huge journey with my relationship to “stuff” – I now grocery shop once every six weeks for my family of four, and put out one wheelie bin of rubbish a year. Going on this journey really made me want to help others to do more with less. I want to show people that more stuff doesn’t make for a happier life – in fact, it really can do
the opposite.” 

Turner says being more proactive about the waste we create needn’t be hard, nor does it have to compromise lifestyles. “I teach others that you can live the life you want, with less stuff and less waste. I’m not expecting everyone to wash their hair with baking soda, make their own bread and stop driving. It’s about doing what you can, when you can and with where you are at.” 

In the next five years Turner plans to influence behaviour change in councils, develop a suite of accessible educational and informational products, become a face of waste minimisation in New Zealand, and mentor other businesses to adapt more sustainable practices. 

“I strongly believe in “ripples of change” – that lots of small changes can gather momentum and eventually create a revolution. I know that the issue I am addressing is massive and consumer behaviour is deeply ingrained, so I’m never going to fix it overnight, but if I can empower more people to think about doing the right thing (and help educate them on what that right thing is), the more ripples of change and impact I can create,” she says. 

“People tell me they’ve started composting, joined a buying co-op, no longer use disposable razors, have ditched toxic cleaning products and more – and I know they will be creating their own ripples of change,” she says. 

Nic Turner will be speaking at the 23 July 2019 Let’s Talk Rubbish event. Learn more and get your tickets now

For more on Nic Turner and Mainstream Green, head to mainstreamgreen.co.nz

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