Plastic Free July is an international movement towards refusing single-use plastic.
That means saying no to things that we often use once then throw away like plastic bags, takeaway containers and coffee cups, straws, drink bottles and unnecessary packaging.
While some plastic can be recycled, plastic is made from a non-renewable resource and uses energy to make, distribute and dispose of each item. This results in carbon emissions which contribute to climate change.
Plastic that isn’t recycled can end up in a landfill or in our waterways. The amount of plastic ending up in our oceans and beaches is harming wildlife and our planet.
Avoiding or replacing disposable plastic items with reusable ones is a great way to start Living Lightly by downsizing your rubbish and emissions.
Take on a new challenge this July by bringing a reusable shopping bag, coffee cup, straw, lunch container or drink bottle with you while you’re out. These are some of the easiest single-use plastics you can start to refuse or reuse.
Here’s a whole bunch of groups running challenges and events this month.
Plastic Free July
Start right at the heart of the movement. The Plastic Free July website has a list of actions so you can choose your own personal challenge.
To see what’s happening in around the country check out Plastic Free July Aotearoa 2018.
Alternatively, challenge yourself on the Live Lightly website by pledging to bring a bag, drink bottle or coffee cup with you.
Show us your lunchbox
The Sustainable Business Network’s ‘Show us your Lunchbox’ challenge encourages people to bring their lunch to work in a reusable container – with prizes to be won for those entering!
In My Kitchen
In My Kitchen has a month-long challenge that tackles more sustainable ways to grocery shop, run your kitchen, bathroom and laundry and go out and about. There are spot prizes to be won and you can pick the challenge up at any time in July.
Plastic Free July Waiheke
With Plastic Free Waiheke, you can attend awesome events, beach cleanups and workshops. Meet like-minded people, share ideas and bring a buddy along with you.
Zero Waste Living – An evening with Bea Johnson
Hear from Bea, a world-renowned zero-waste advocate. Her methodology is based on 5 R’s: ‘refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle and rot – only in that order’. Numbers are limited, so book tickets in advance.
Date: Thursday 19 July
Films for the Future: a hopeful film series
Watch. Learn. Take action. Head over to the Ellen Melville Centre in central Auckland for an evening of inspiration and information.
Learn how to compost with the Compost Collective, watch The Clean Bin Project, a poignant and hilarious film exploring the possibility of living waste free and hear about the Kiwi Bottle Drive’s Container Deposit Scheme.
Hosted by For the Love of Bees and Live Lightly
Date: Friday 20 July
Living the Change – hosted by Tāmaki WRAP
Check out this fascinating NZ documentary at the Panmure Community Library telling the many stories of Kiwis practising a sustainable way of living.
Date: Saturday 28 July
Get your business on board
If you work in a café, restaurant or retail you can challenge your workplace to join in Plastic Free July too. Check out the poster below, which local community group Tāmaki WRAP are giving out to business in their area, for tips and suggestions.
Although the focus is on July, we encourage you to continue your new sustainable habits after the month has ended. Don’t forget to tell people about what you’re doing and why to help spread the word!