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How to Prepare for Plastic Free July

If you’ve decided to take up the challenge this Plastic Free July but are feeling a little overwhelmed and aren’t sure where to start, then we’ve got you covered. With the help of Plastic Free July Aotearoa, we’ve put together a list of our best tips on how to prepare. So, once you’ve signed the pledge, have a read and get started.

Delve into your bin

Do a quick visual audit during June to figure out where most of the plastic waste in your household comes from. That way, you can see what would be most impactful for you to tackle. Lots of chip packets or muesli bar wrappers? Swap them out for homemade popcorn or make your own muesli bars. Empty cleaning product bottles? Make your own or refill the bottles at a bulk bin store.

Pick your battles

Sit down as a family or couple or with a friend and work out what you want to change or focus on. It could be:

  • Saying no to the ‘Top Four’ (coffee cups, single-use water bottles, plastic produce bags, and straws)
  • Identifying and avoiding your biggest plastic waste stream
  • Using the “My challenge choices checklist” for guidance
  • Tackling one area of the house e.g. bathroom or kitchen
(Plastic Free July Foundation, 2018)

Be resourceful

Once you have decided on your strategy work out the resources you will need. For example, do you need jars to store your bulk food? If so, see what you have around the house and ask neighbours and friends for glass jars before going out and buying new ones. Make sure you have plenty of reusable shopping and produce bags on hand.

(Plastic Free July Aotearoa, 2019)

Swot up

Do some research – where is it convenient for you to buy bulk foods, for example, or where can you buy toothpaste tabs as an alternative to toothpaste tubes? Check out these online regional guides to zero waste shopping.

(The Rubbish Trip, 2017)

Get connected

Register for the challenge at Plastic Free July and join the Plastic Free Aotearoa Facebook page or the Zero Waste in NZ! Facebook page where you can ask questions and get advice.

Find a buddy

If you have ever tried to lose weight or train for a half marathon you will know that having someone by your side to spur you on, encourage you and share wins and losses with makes all the difference. If you can’t convince a friend or family member to go on this journey with you a local Facebook page that focuses on reducing waste or being plastic free will be a great source of support.

Celebrate

Provide positive feedback to others who make an effort to help us all reduce plastic in our lives. Like the local farmers market who ask you to bring your own bags, or cafés that uses paper/reusable straws or rewards people for bringing their own cups.

Be Realistic

Going entirely plastic-free for the month of July is a big ask. If it were easy, we’d all be doing it already. So pick a couple of key things to focus on and build momentum as you go.


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