Plastic is rubbish

24 June 2019

Wellington City Council is supporting numerous events, organisations and initiatives this Plastic Free July to help change plastic habits for good.

Image of the Great Kiwi Bottle Drive in action

The Great Kiwi Bottle Drive

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For Plastic Free July 2019, Council will be trialling going single-use plastic bottle free in its five swimming pools, two gyms, four recreational centres, and the ASB sports centre.

Currently New Zealanders send 828,189,600 single-use plastic bottles to landfill per year, the equivalent of 165 Olympic swimming pools. Wellington City alone uses enough bottles annually to fill seven Olympic sized pools.*

Wellington City Council wants to reduce this number by encouraging pool, gym and recreation centre goers to consider alternatives to single-use plastic bottles through a creative campaign for Plastic Free July.

Meanwhile, from 1 July, Council-managed Harbourside Market will be providing shopping baskets at every stall, and mesh produce bags will be available as single-use handled plastic bags will no longer be allowed to be supplied by vendors.

We’re also proud supporters of the Great Kiwi Bottle Drive event, which will kick-off Plastic Free July early on Saturday 29 June with a chance for everyone to drop-off their empty bottles and cans in return for cash.

In 2017, Wellington Mayor Justin Lester led a campaign calling on the government to impose a levy on single-use plastic bags in an attempt to reduce their use – and is pleased to see this being implemented now.

“We got the ball rolling on getting rid of plastic straws around the waterfront, pushed hard for the abolition of single-use plastic bags, and we support and fund numerous organisations and initiatives committed to waste minimisation and single-use plastic reduction.

“These projects fit our vision of developing the capital as an Eco City by addressing the environmental challenges we have, and reducing the impact they have on our natural assets, to enable a more sustainable and resilient future for Wellington.” 

Councillor Iona Pannett who chairs the Wellington Regional Governance Group says that the Council is trying to reduce waste to landfill by 1/3 over the next 7 years.

“Plastic Free July is a great chance for Wellingtonians to look at alternatives to single-use plastics. Getting a reusable coffee cup or drink bottle for example is an easy way to save money and help the environment,” she says.

Other initiatives Council is supporting throughout Plastic Free July include:

  • Southern Landfill will be running ‘Bags in the Wild’ landfill tours again to show first-hand the effects of discarded plastics on the environment. Tour bookings can be made by calling 04 383 4442 or email waste.education@wcc.govt.nz.
  • There will be weekly competitions on Council’s Facebook page with prize packs for plastic free related challenges
  • On-going support and funding for waste minimisation and environmental groups and initiatives like Boomerang Bags, Again Again, RefillNZ, The Formary, Bubble Busters, Ghost Fishing, and Sustainable Coastlines
  • There is also a Plastic Free July page on the Council website with tips on how to reduce plastic and where to go for more information: wellington.govt.nz/plasticfreejuly

* Estimate based on https://www.bottledwater.org/economics/industry-statistics. On page 20 it lists consumption per capita and though New Zealand is not listed the lowest consumption is 24 gallons per year which is approximately 180 bottles (500 ml each).