The capital has a proud history as a frontrunner in reducing plastic by being instrumental in ending the use of plastic straws on the waterfront, as a driving force to get rid of single-use plastic bags, and more recently with the introduction of a new metal registration dog tag.
The Plastic Free July campaign started in Australia in 2011 and is now a worldwide campaign with over 326 million participants – and Aotearoa New Zealand contributes with hundreds of thousands of people taking part in the challenge, including Mayor Andy Foster.
“This campaign fits our vision of being proactive in developing the capital as an Eco City by addressing the environmental challenges we have, responding in a collaborative way, and aiming for a more sustainable future.
“I will be making an even more concerted effort with my family to further reduce the use of plastic in our household next month and I encourage everyone to do their bit.
“Recent uptakes in recycling can be further supported by limiting single-use items like plastic bags. If we work together we can make a difference.”
Finding alternatives for plastic is something we should be doing all the time but putting a focus on it for one month demonstrates how easy and normal it can become, says Councillor Laurie Foon.
“It’s taken a while, but single-use plastic is now a mainstream concern. Most people recognise using items once and throwing them away is a massive waste of resources and is filling up our landfills. They also see the connection to climate change, greenhouse gas emissions, and the more obvious littering in our environment which causes harm to animal and bird life.
“Collectively we can reduce plastic usage by thinking about what we’re buying, reusing and repurposing what we do have. Together we can influence manufacturers, retailers, businesses, and the Government decision making process.
“Time and budget are the main barriers to not using single-use plastic according to research and feedback from last year’s campaign. So Plastic Free July is the perfect opportunity for Wellingtonians to make small changes like carrying a reusable coffee cup, takeaway container or water bottle which helps the environment – and helps save money too.”
Some initiatives Council is supporting during Plastic Free July include:
- Weekly competitions on Council’s Facebook page with some great prizes including vouchers for local experience-based fun
- On-going support and funding for waste minimisation and environmental groups and initiatives like Reusabowl, IdealCup, Refill NZ, Houghton Valley School reusable cup resource, and Newlands Childcare reusable nappy project.
- Waste Educator and Tip Shop information stalls at the Hopper Open Home
- Rubbish Trip talk at Council’s Central Park apartments
- Simple tips and tricks for reducing plastic will feature on the Council’s social media channels, and check out the Plastic Free July page on the Council website for more information: wellington.govt.nz/plasticfreejuly