Ditch those single-use plastics and join the Plastic Free July Aotearoa Challenge.
Last July, over a quarter of a million New Zealanders took part in this daily act to swap single-use plastics for other solutions.
The challenge can be done at home and in the workplace, and Auckland Council is getting on board and encouraging their staff and all Aucklanders to accept this personal challenge that’s part of a global effort for our oceans, for cleaner streets, and for the planet.
“Plastic is part of every room in the home. This July, we’re encouraging all Aucklanders, including Auckland Council staff to look at some simple swaps for their kitchen, bathroom and laundry to eliminate single-use plastic from their daily lives,” says Councillor Richard Hills, Chairperson of Auckland Council’s Environment and Climate Change Committee.
Aucklanders care about their environment and want to do the right thing. 74 per cent of Aucklanders surveyed say that recycling household waste is worth the effort.
The recent requirement to landfill 4 per cent of our recycling highlights the urgency for Kiwis to reduce their reliance on single-use plastics and to be able to deal with our recycling onshore. To meet our waste objectives, we must move together towards a circular economy with more sustainable choices.
Plastic Free July is a worldwide challenge with 250 million participants in 177 countries. From small beginnings in Perth, Australia back in 2011, it has grown into one of the world’s most popular environmental campaigns attracting millions of participants around the globe.
Parul Sood, General Manager Waste Solutions says, “Plastic Free July is a great opportunity to look at how much plastic we use on a daily basis and challenge ourselves to make a change. With global markets for recyclable plastics under increasing pressure, we need to be looking at reducing our plastic use, instead of relying on recycling alone to make a difference.”
“Plastic Free July is a time to establish a new normal, reassess how much single-use plastic we consume and make some simple swaps. Get your reusable coffee cup and water bottle back out of the cupboard. Find out where your nearest bulk bin store is and start shopping packaging free.
"On your next grocery shop notice if there are any items you buy in plastic that you can swap to buying in glass, cardboard or in a can instead. When you buy drinks in aluminium cans that material can be made back into aluminium cans an infinite number of times.”
Councillor Hills agrees.
“It’s about us all noticing what we’re buying and how its packaged, changing behaviour and choosing better alternatives. One change can go a long way, and most people find that once they make the switch, it becomes part of their daily habits.
"Everything we can do to remove plastic from our lives and stop using single-use plastic items is better for all of us, but especially our environment.”
It is easy to make a simple swap for cleaning product containers. Look for brands that offer refill stations, so you can use the bottle over and over again. Or, buy laundry powder in a cardboard box with no plastic scoop included. Those brands that don’t include a scoop include instructions on tablespoons of laundry powder needed per load. Or, you can go old school and make your own.
Creative uses for glass jars
Glass is the only recyclable material that New Zealand has the capacity to process here. Choose brands sold in glass jars, which are often also NZ brands, to support local and do good for the environment at the same time. When you have scraped the last bit of peanut butter out of the jar work out how to reuse the jar as many times as possible before it goes in the recycling bin. You could:
- Donate them to groups around the country who make jams and marmalades for foodbanks or try your local op shop
- Create your own reusable coffee cup with rubber bands and a jar
- Mix your own beauty or cleaning products and package them in glass jars. These can make great gifts too
- Use the jars to sort and store miscellaneous household item such as drawing pins, small toys, pens.
For more ideas and to join the plastic-free July challenge go to Plastic Free July.