Plastic Free July is upon us


9 July 2018

People  around the district will be doing their bit for the environment by making subtle changes to their everyday habits during Plastic Free July.

A couple of reusable shopping bags, a keep-cup for coffee and a shake of the head when asked if you need a straw is all it takes to contribute to the Plastic Free July challenge.

You might even find it so simple that it sticks.

Waste minimisation and sustainable waste services have been top priorities identified by Rotorua Lakes Council as part of the Rotorua 2030 vision and the district’s Waste Strategy, which was adopted in 2016.

A key aspect of the Waste Strategy was carrying out steps to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill and increase the amount of recycling. This led to the introduction of a kerbside recycling service in 2016.  

In 2017 an audit of Rotorua’s rubbish showed that recyclables, especially single-use plastics, still make up a large portion of waste going to landfill.

Of the 6.1 tonne collected from 526 bins for the audit at least a tonne was made up of recyclable items.

Of that tonne, 428kgs was plastic with plastic bags making up 306kg. 

Using the figures from the audit as a representation of the entire district (approximately 27,876 properties with wheelie bins, as well as those using a bag system or transfer stations) approximately 25 tonnes of plastic is sent to landfill every week.

This month wheelie bin rubbish and recycling services are being extended to more communities in rural areas south of Rotorua and  Plastic Free July is a timely reminder that waste reduction starts in our homes.

If you don’t use plastic bags there is no difficulty in finding a place to dispose of them in a way that is friendly to the environment.

This is your chance to start making a difference.

How you can be involved:

Take part in a competition:

For kids:
Create your own Plastic Free July poster

Be in to win one of three ‘Pimp your Schoolbag’ Plastic Free July prize packs by creatinga  Plastic Free July poster. Include Plastic Free July messages about reducing the main single-use plastics – plastic bags, takeaway cups, straws, bottles and takeaway containers.

Send your completed poster to or drop it off at the main counter at Rotorua Lakes Council before 31 July to be in to win.

For adults:
Send us your Plastic Free July tips

Be in to win a set of beeswax wraps by sharing your Plastic Free July tips. Send them in via Facebook ( or email to Remember to include a photo.

There are 5 sets of wraps up for grabs and selected tips will be shared on Council’s Facebook page and website.

Look out for local events

Organisations all around the district are doing great work in finding ways to be environmentally friendly and sustainable. Check out your local events pages online and on Facebook to see what’s happening around town.

Introduce some simple steps in your day to day life

  • Get a reusable drink bottle – glass or aluminum are the better options but even plastic reusable water bottles are more sustainable than buying and throwing out new bottles each day.

  • Coffee lover? Get a ‘keep cup’ to have your daily flat white or take some time out to sit and enjoy your coffee. If all else fails just say no. A lot of paper coffee cups look recyclable/compostable but the plastic coating to stop them getting soggy is not easily recycled. Choose to refuse instead.

  • Buy or make reusable shopping bags. Although plastic is recyclable, there are not many places that are able to recycling plastic bags. Click HERE to find out why. To cut down on the need for plastic bags create your own or buy a set.

  • Say no to drinking straws. Lots of places are starting to offer different options such as cardboard or metal drinking straws or just not offering them at all. If it’s up to you choose to refuse and say no to drinking straws.

  • Bin liners – trying to stay away from plastic bags but don’t know how to stop your kitchen bin getting dirty? Try using newspaper as a liner instead or save your bin for cleaner objects and compost food scraps or offer them to a farmer for their pigs.

Support a local store

The following stores are among those locally embracing plastic free options:

  • Okere Falls Store
  • Lux Organics
  • Brown Owl
  • Bin Inn Rotorua (bring your own container)
  • Redwoods Butcher (bring your own container)
  • Rotorua Farmers Market

Let us know if your store or somewhere you shop is going plastic free too.

Join the movement and say no to single-use plastics

Sign up to take part in the Plastic Free July challenge here.

The Plastic Free July website is full of helpful information and resources to help you on your journey and to share it with others.  

Page reviewed: 09 Jul 2018 12:00pm