Plastic Free July

We celebrate Plastic Free July every year, a global initiative that aims to reduce plastic usage and increase recycling, with events, activities and top tips.

Plastic Free July is a global initiative that encourages individuals to become more aware of just how much single use plastic they’re using – and how they can reduce it.

How to get involved

Here are some ways you can get involved:

How to get started

This involves changing your behaviour and making a habit of choosing to refuse single-use plastic. It’s easier than it sounds!

Don’t know where to start?

Join millions of people reducing their plastic waste and take the challenge on the Plastic Free July website as an individual or group.

Here are a few things you could either start or be doing more of to reduce the impact of single-use plastic waste:

  • Ditch the single-use plastic drink bottles – grab a reusable bottle from home. When you’re running on empty, look for the RefillNZ sticker on the window of businesses, these venues welcome people to fill up their reusable bottles with free tap water.
  • Sip that flat white inside a cosy café, sign up to a reusable cup scheme like Again again or Cupcycling, or use a keep cup to takeaway.
  • Take your own reusable cutlery and container to get takeaways. 
  • Take a reusable container to the deli, butcher, or fish monger.
  • Avoid plastic wrapping from store bought snacks and make healthy treats at home. Try these yummy crackers from Love Food Hate Waste and easy muesli bars from The Rubbish Trip.
  • Love your turtles – use reusable bamboo or stainless steel straws or just enjoy your refreshment without one. 

Get involved at work

Why not organise a plastic free shared lunch? Or help make reusable the new norm in your work place.

Build up a communal library of containers and coffee cups for people to grab before heading out to get takeaways. Print out these awesome posters from WasteWINZ and hang them around your office and shared facilities – they are full of easy ways to swap out single-use plastics:

Visit the Plastic Free July website for resources including email footers, logos and posters.

Promote Plastic Free at school

Do you want to get your school involved? Here are some ideas:

  • Organise a litter pick up on your school grounds, in your Community or at your local beach – check out Sustainable Coastlines for more information
  • Print out these beautiful posters by WasteMINZ and run a colouring in competition:
    - Simple swaps for your kitchen (598KB JPG)
    - Simple swaps for your bathroom (588KB JPG)
  • Have a look at those lunch boxes and see if the Tamariki can choose one piece of plastic to refuse this month... it might mean doing a bit of home baking – yum! Or making some wax wraps to replace plastic wrap – always a fun classroom project! Check out these two helpful resources:
    - How to make your own beeswax wraps video (34 seconds Facebook video) – resource created by Live Lightly, or
    - Invite the Sustainability Trust to deliver a workshop at your school

For more tips and tricks for your school, see the Plastic Free July website.

Waste education

Our waste educators can help you to minimise waste. Get in touch if you would like free waste minimisation class room lessons or advice.

Waste education

How businesses can make a positive change

This is a perfect time to have a look at what plastics you are receiving and using in your business, here are a few simple things worth considering:

  • Swapping non-recyclable plastic packaging for reusable or recyclable products.
  • Look at options for more sustainable service ware.
  • Consider changing your corporate gifting policy from plastic clad hampers to online vouchers from places such as The Good Registry, you might be surprised how much time and money this saves you, and how well they are received.
  • Show customers and your team your green values by promoting the Plastic Free July message with posters, logo and email footer
  • For more support on this journey, consider becoming a member of The Sustainable Business Network – check out their brilliant tools and resources which provide step by step guides to running a zero waste office, green procurement, circular economy and much more.

For further information, head to the Plastic Free July website.

What can you do in your community

Here are a few ideas:

Waste minimisation fund

We’ve advocated for a reduction in single-use plastics and supported sustainable organisations through our grants programme.

With the help of the Waste Minimisation Seed fund:

  • Houghton Valley School purchased a reusable cup resource
  • Newlands Childcare set up a trial to use reusable nappies.

Are you inspired by Plastic Free July? Do you have a great idea for reducing single-use plastics and waste in your school, place of work or community? Apply to our fund to help realise your vision.

Waste Minimisation Seed fund