Plastic Free July started in Australia in 2011 and is now an internationally recognised campaign with over 140 million participants worldwide, including thousands taking part in Wellington each year.
Wellington City Council has been a driving force in plastic use change in many ways, including its funding of initiatives like RefillNZ, container lending schemes Cupcycling, Again Again, and Reusabowl, and Nonstop Solutions helped minimise single use food and drink packaging waste by providing reusable crockery at the recent Matariki festival.
Wellington City Council was also instrumental in the reduction of plastic straws and single-use plastic bags, and The Tip Shop is increasingly diverting reusable treasures from the landfill.
We have a lot to be proud of, and consumers are making smarter purchasing decisions, but we still have a long way to go, says Councillor Laurie Foon.
“Plastic Free July is a good opportunity for us to raise awareness around the unnecessary impact plastic has on the environment, and how just a few changes in our behaviour can make the world of difference.
“Imagine the emissions and waste saved over a year if we embraced our reusables and took a reusable container to the butcher or supermarket deli rather than buying packaged goods.
“Globally 100 billion tonnes of materials are used every year, and only about 10 percent of these are recycled or repurposed.
“To reduce these alarming numbers we need dramatic change at every level, from Councils and Central Government to plastics manufacturers, business and retailers, but consumers can influence them and inspire others with simple acts like using sustainable alternatives to single use plastic in everyday activities.”
- At the Council’s Recycle Centre, in the last financial year we collected 38 tonnes of plastics and cans to be made into new products.
- 40 Tonnes of recycling material from residential kerbside collections from Wellington City is processed at OJI every day, including 34,000 milk bottles daily.
- 27,000 PET meat trays are collected daily around the region and recycled locally at Flight Plastics.
- Since the 1950s, 8.3 billion tonnes of plastic have been produced globally with the majority (79%) ending up in a landfill or being discarded into the environment.That’s the same weight as 800,000 Eiffel Towers or over 1 billion elephants. Just over a third of this has been short-term or single use plastic packaging.
Take the challenge to swap out one, some or all single use plastics this July. Check out the Plastic Free July webpage for resources, inspiration and tips for schools, work and at home. Trying to decide what single use plastic to swap out, play plastic free whare, it’s a fun way to make choices and see your impact.
Simple tips and tricks for reducing plastic and giveaways will also feature on the Council’s social media channels – so keep an eye on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram throughout July.