Rethinking Recycling: The Path to Reducing Plastic Consumption

Rethinking Recycling: The Path to Reducing Plastic Consumption

Recycling has long been hailed as the solution to our plastic waste problem. However, in recent years, it has become increasingly clear that recycling alone is not enough to deal with our plastic crisis. New Zealand, like many other countries, must break free from its reliance on recycling and make the move towards reducing plastic consumption.

Globally only a devastating 9% of plastic is recycled. Here In New Zealand Kiwis generate approximately 252 tonnes of plastic waste that heads to our landfill every year. Our plastic waste that is recycled is shipped off to lower Economic Countries where most is too contaminated for them to process. As a result adding pollution to waterways, landfills and our Oceans, not to mention at the detriment of other Communities health.

As Plastic Free July starts its a good time to embrace Reusable Alternatives: One of the most effective ways to reduce plastic consumption is by using reusable alternatives. Ditching single-use plastic items such as water bottles, shopping bags, and coffee cups can significantly decrease our plastic waste footprint pretty quick! Investing in reusable products not only benefits our environment but helps us head in a more sustainably direction and added bonus... you will no doubt personally make savings in the long run.

Plastic Free July is not about striving for perfection rather making small changes in the household. I know what ya thinking... "how can you really make much of a difference your just one person?" well if we all chip in a little then collectively WE CAN MAKE CHANGE.

Here are 5 helpful tips to get you started;

  1. Embrace reusable alternatives: Replace single-use plastic items, such as water bottles, and bags, with reusable options. For instance, carry a reusable water bottle and shopping bags when going out.

  2. Be mindful of packaging: Choose products with minimal or eco-friendly packaging. Look for items packaged in minimal plastic materials or consider buying in bulk to reduce the amount of packaging waste generated. You can also support local markets and shops that offer package-free products. If you have to at the very least look for the numbers 1, 2 or 5 these are currently kerb side recyclable...but remember the aim here is to reduce because recycling is not the answer!

  3. Compost organic waste: Instead of throwing away food scraps, start composting them at home. Composting not only diverts waste from landfills but also creates nutrient-rich soil for your garden.

  4. Reduce food waste: Plan meals in advance and buy only what you need to reduce food waste. Use storage containers to keep leftovers fresh for longer. By reducing food waste, fewer plastic packaging materials are used and plastic bags for food disposal are avoided.

  5. Opt for sustainable alternatives: Look for sustainable alternatives for common household items. For example, switch from plastic toothbrushes to bamboo toothbrushes or start to buy containers with glass or stainless-steel options as apposed to plastic containers. These containers may cost a little more initially but I guarantee you will make savings because you will protect them like no other! because lets face it we are all guilty of leaving our containers at friends houses or work in which we never see again, who else's Tupperware draw has so many lids but no containers? ahh very frustrating yes I think you get my gist here!

Thats it from us! lets use Plastic Free July as a starting point to;

REDUCE, RE-USE, REFILL before the recycle.


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