2 July 2020
Plastic Free July is a global movement that encourages people to make more environmentally friendly choices by choosing to not use or buy plastic items or packaging. By making simple changes to our everyday habits, we can have a hugely positive impact on the environment. This July, 250 million people from 177 countries are taking part in Plastic Free July.
Choosing to refuse plastic materials or packaging is just one of the many ways that households can reduce their waste output. This technique is known as ‘avoiding’, where people choose not to buy or use something based on how much waste will be created from it. It is the most effective technique for minimising waste in the ‘waste hierarchy’ (pictured below).
Read more about waste hierarchy in Councils Waste Management and Minimisaton Plan 2016 - 2022, here.
1 July marks one year since the single-use plastic bag ban came into effect in New Zealand. Since then, New Zealand has prevented an estimated 1.1 billion single-use plastic bags from entering our environment.
To take part in Plastic Free July, you don’t have to give up using all plastic items for the month. Instead, you could make a goal to adjust just a few of your habits, aiming to produce less plastic waste. For example, you could:
- Use beeswax wraps or a paper bag to wrap the sandwiches for your lunch, instead of wrapping them in cling wrap.
- Sit down to have your coffee at the café or bring a re-usable keep-cup, instead of using a takeaway cup.
- Bake your own bread instead of buying a loaf wrapped in plastic.
- Buy tomato sauce that comes in a can or a jar, instead of in a plastic squeeze bottle.
- Make your own toothpaste with baking soda and coconut oil instead of buying a new toothpaste tube from the supermarket.
There are many groups and organisations that provide resources, workshops and support for those who want to lessen their amount of plastic waste for Plastic Free July – and the information is available all year round!
Here are a few sites you can visit to arm yourself with plenty of tips and tricks for being plastic free:
Plastic Free July
Plastic Free July is a global initiative set up by the Plastic Free Foundation. On their website you can find a range of resources, as well as suggestions for events or habit changes that reduce reliance on plastic.
Plastic Free July Facebook page
Plastic Free July Aotearoa Facebook Page
The Rubbish Trip
Run by a ‘zero-waste’ couple from Wellington who educate others about the importance of making responsible waste choices in their everyday lives, for the health of the environment. Click the link to find out where you can purchase plastic free and ecofriendly goods in Rotorua, or find free recipes and plastic free motivation.
Love Food Hate Waste
A Ministry for the Environment funded project by WasteMinz, aimed at helping households reduce food waste. They also have recipes and instructions for how to easily reduce your plastic output by swapping meal ingredients for alternatives that aren’t sold in plastic packaging.
For more information on how you can minimise your plastic waste, or to get involved in Plastic Free July, visit their website.