Join the Plastic Free July Aotearoa Challenge

Last Updated : 28 Jun 2019
A wave of change is hitting single-use plastic this July

Ditch those plastic produce and shopping bags; say no to plastic straws; take a reusable coffee cup, takeaway container or water bottle with you when you’re out and about, and join the Plastic Free July Aotearoa Challenge.

Plastic Free July is a worldwide challenge with millions of participants in more than 170 countries. The environmental initiative began in 2011 when Rebecca Prince-Ruiz and a small team in Perth, Australia decided to refuse single-use plastic for a month. It has since grown into one of the world’s most popular environmental campaigns attracting millions of participants from around the globe.

This year, Kiwis can join up here.

The idea around Plastic Free July is to empower individuals, communities, and businesses to choose to refuse single-use plastics in their lives. It encourages and helps millions of people to take simple, daily actions to create long-lasting habits to minimise single-use plastic waste. It’s a personal challenge that’s part of a global effort for our oceans, for cleaner streets, and for the planet.

This challenge can be done at home and in the workplace – Auckland Council is getting on board and encouraging their staff and all Aucklanders to accept the challenge.

A wave of change is hitting single-use plastic this July (1)

Parul Sood, Programme Director 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, not just recycling.

“We’re encouraging Auckland Council staff to eliminate single-use plastic from their daily lives, including avoiding plastic packaging, refusing disposable takeaway cups and containers, and remembering to ‘BYO’ water bottles and food containers.”

At the workplace, coffee cups, sushi containers and broken pens are just some of the items that fill up the rubbish bins.

“Some of the easiest and most popular choices are taking your own takeaway cup when you go for a coffee or choosing to refuse straws and plastic water bottles. We are also invigorating our office lunchbox library to encourage staff to take a container for their takeaways.

“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 who knows, you may end up committing to plastic reduction far beyond the month of July,” Sood says.

The government’s single-use plastic bag ban comes into effect on 1 July. See the OurAuckland story here for more information.

Sign up at to take the challenge and receive tips and advice.

10 Easy Alternatives for Plastic Free Living

Single Use Plastic

Plastic Free Alternative

Bin Liners    Line your bin with several layers of newspaper 
Doggy Doo Bags  Folded up newspaper
Coffee Cup (takeaway)   Take a reusable cup/ request no lid
Gladwrap/ cling film   Reusable container/ fabric wrap/ wax wrap
Milk   Look for milk in refillable glass bottles
Nappies (disposable)  Cloth Nappies
Pasta  Make your own/ buy in bulk/ look for cardboard-packaged pasta
Plastic Bag  Use your arms/ cardboard box/ reusable bag
Plastic Drink Bottle  Reusable bottle
Plastic Straw   Lips/ metal or paper straw
Shampoo  Solid Bar Shampoo

For the full list of A-Z Alternatives for Plastic Free Living click here.

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