Plastic Free July

Every year, 8 million metric tonnes of plastic end up in our oceans. Plastic wreaks havoc on marine habitats, with animals often mistaking it for food, causing blockages and malnutrition. Plastic also breaks up into much smaller particles, called microplastics. Because they are so tiny, microplastics have been found in seafood, air, rivers, soil, rain, drinking water, table salt and even your Friday night beer!

Did you know?

  • Kiwis consume five million packaged drinks every day.
  • Cigarette butts are the most littered plastic item in the entire world!
  • Food wrappers are one of the most commonly found items on our beach clean-ups.
  • Every time you wash your clothes, they shed plastic microfibers.

From Greenpeace:

All you have to do is commit to one month of trying to avoid disposable plastic. You can challenge yourself and commit to different levels.

  • Beginner: You can pick one disposable item to avoid all month, like single-use plastic bottles, coffee cups, or vegetable bags at the supermarket and form a new solid habit of using your own reusables!
  • Intermediate: You can commit to eliminating all those top three (single-use plastic bottles, coffee cups, vegetable bags) or another mixture of single-use plastic items you notice frequently popping up in your lifestyle.
  • Expert: You can go all in and avoid all disposable plastic all month!

Some suggestions from Sustainable Coastlines on simple swaps we can make in everyday life…..

Simple swaps for your laundry

  • Swap plastic clothes pegs for bamboo or stainless steel.
  • Instead of buying a new bottle of laundry detergent, refill it!
  • Swap plastic-packaged powders for cardboard.
  • Swap your fast spin for a slower one to avoid releasing plastic microfibres.

Simple swaps while you’re out and about

  • Wrap your sandwich in reusable food wrap rather than cling film.
  • Swap the takeaway shop’s plastic container for one you’ve brought from home.
  • Feeling snacky? Head to a cafe or bakery — it’s easy to avoid plastic-wrapped snacks.
  • Know where to refill next and skip the single-use water bottle! Visit refillnz.org.nz

Simple swaps for your next road trip

  • Pack your lunch and snacks before you hit the road to avoid single-use food wrappers.
  • Buy from road-side stalls. The fruit is normally package-free, cheaper, and delicious!
  • Swap single-use food containers and cutlery for the ones you packed before leaving home!

Simple swaps for your bathroom

  • Swap shampoo bottles for shampoo bars! Carry them in a little tin box when travelling.
  • Switch your plastic cotton buds for compostable ones.
  • When your nylon dental floss runs out, replace it with the compostable kind.
  • Plastic toothbrush nearly dead? Get a bamboo one next time!

Simple swaps for your kitchen

  • Buy in bulk or products packaged in glass or tin for a plastic-free pantry!
  • Your plastic dish brush is destined for landfill. Replace it with a composable brush.
  • When your plastic kitchen utensils need a refresh, get stainless steel or wood ones instead.
  • Swap cling wrap for compostable cling wrap or wax paper.
  • Start a soft plastics recycling bin in your kitchen if you don’t already have one.
  • Reuse bread bags
  • Don’t put fruit and veg in plastic bags when you shop – take your own or just have them loose in your trolley

Click here for more information about a Plastic Free July.

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Bernadette Robert

Bernadette Robert