When Julie Morgan accepted a position with Christchurch-based company The Rubbish Whisperer, she had no idea how it would impact her life.
Originally from the United Kingdom, Julie and her husband, Kris, fell in love with the small community town of Diamond Harbour while on holiday in New Zealand. Soon after purchasing their first home in the area, Julie fell pregnant with her first child.
Wanting to be a full time mum, Julie stopped working to raise her children. After the earthquakes in 2011, Julie was less eager to go back to work, especially if it meant commuting 45 minutes by car from Diamond Harbour to the city.
After a friend passed on Julie’s contact details to Helen Townsend-Rupp, founder and owner of The Rubbish Whisperer, Julie found exactly what she was looking for.
She joined The Rubbish Whisperer as a sewer and cutter, working on creating handmade produce bags.
“When I first started sewing, I was doing about 100 reusable produce bags a week. It has since increased to about 300 a week as the zero plastic waste trend has grown,” said Julie.
Julie enjoyed working again with the flexible hours and convenience of being able to work from home, while maintaining her mum duties.
“There are no negatives for me working here. The children understand what I am doing and they are proud of me for being a part of a company that is doing some good in the world.
“It is also a great example for my daughter to see Helen, with an environmentally and ethically conscious business, succeeding and helping other woman in the community to succeed as well.”
The Rubbish Whisperer currently employs 8 local woman and ensures all staff are paid the living wage.
“It’s phenomenal for a local small business to have that stance, it makes you feel really valued as an employee.”
The Rubbish Whisperer was formed in 2013 by Helen Townsend-Rupp to reduce rubbish by eliminating single-use disposable plastic.
“Helen really cares about what we think and how we feel. Part of all purchases go to local environmental charities, and she has let us put our suggestions forward on where some of the donations should go to. It made me feel like I was really part of a team.”
Since working for The Rubbish Whisperer, Julie has cut out single-use plastic from her family’s everyday life, even switching to bars for their soap, shampoo and avoiding plastic in their cosmetics purchase.
“Working here has made me more aware and I now do anything to avoid using plastic. Before I would use reusable bags only when I remembered them, and produce bags and paper straws were never even on my radar.
“For my children, it will be second nature for them to avoid plastic covered food or items. If they are doing it now at a young age and it is their normal, then it will be abnormal for them to switch back to plastic use when they are older.”