New Zealand’s Plastic Free July campaign is building on its wins of July 2019 with simple swaps to reduce single-use plastic and hard-to-recycle soft plastic.
In 2019, 257,802 New Zealanders took part in Plastic Free July Aotearoa to refuse single use plastic. We also saw the government ban single use plastic shopping bags, the two main NZ supermarket chains encouraging the use of reusable containers for their meat and deli products in store, and reusable cup swap schemes by Ideal Cup and Again and Again expanding around the country.
So, what’s left to do?
Plastic Free July 2020 campaigners urge Kiwis to reassess how much single use plastic they still consume and make some simple swaps:
- Reusable coffee cups and water bottles can come back out of the cupboard now that we’re in Level 1 of the COVID-19 response (and COVID-19 Level 4 restrictions meant 20 million coffee cups did not get consumed and thrown away).
- Shop packaging-free at your nearest bulk bin store.
- Look for products sold in glass, cardboard or a can instead of plastic. Jam, peanut butter, mayonnaise and simmer sauces are all sold in either plastic or glass jars. Brands sold in glass jars are often also NZ brands, so you are supporting local at the same time.
- Reuse jars as many times as possible before putting in the recycling bin. Use as storage containers, donate to groups who make jam for food banks or use as packaging for home-made beauty products.
- For cleaning products, look for brands that offer refill stations in stores.
- Buy laundry powder in a cardboard box with no plastic scoop included, and instead follow the on-pack instructions on the tablespoons of laundry powder needed per load.
The launch to inspire your month
To get everyone re-inspired to reduce their waste the first ever national Plastic Free July launch party is being held on 24 June 2020, to share more of these ideas and encourage collaboration across communities to maximise the impact of the month’s activities.
“We had such brilliant results with the Plastic Free July campaign last year with so many people taking part that we can’t wait to see what we can achieve this year. The focus is on simple ideas that generate big reductions in single-use plastics. Every Kiwi can do something small that makes a massive impact on the environment, and they could have fun and learn some new skills at the same time.” says Rebecca Prince Ruis founder of Plastic Free July.
The virtual launch party will include live demos of how to make your own crackers and lip balm, virtual house tours, spot prizes and the chance to connect with hundreds of other people around the country who will also be taking part in the challenge.
To join the Plastic Free July challenge go to Plastic Free July.