Plastic Free July – simple shop swaps

6 July 2020

It’s time to get creative with eco-friendly alternatives and give plastic the boot for good!

Picture of a pink shampoo bar, a plastic free alternative to bottled shampoo.

Plastic Free July aims to get us thinking about all the single use plastics we use, and how we can ‘choose to refuse' them by making small changes.

We can make a big difference by being mindful about what we put in our trolley or basket while grocery shopping, as a large amount of our household waste comes from what we purchase. Instead of using coffee pods, why not buy plunger coffee in a paper bag, or make your own yogurt rather than buying it in tubs? Check out the sustainable shopping tips on our website.

Going plastic free may not be realistic for everyone, but even making a tiny difference in lifestyle can have beneficial outcomes – like remembering to take reusable shopping bags to the shops, reusing the same drink bottle instead of buying plastic ones, and taking a reusable cup to cafes or sitting in for a coffee to avoid churning through countless disposal cups and lids.

On the WasteMINZ website you‘ll find handy tips and helpful posters with ‘simple swaps’ for the kitchen and bathroom. These can be printed out and displayed as useful reminders around the home, workplace, or school.

Here are three ideas from Plastic Free July to start you on your journey:

  • Select items packaged in glass instead of plastic – and then reuse the glass jars for holding items like pencils or for storing food
  • Buy products in cardboard (like laundry powder) instead of in plastic packaging – and then compost the cardboard
  • Swap plastic for cans – instead of buying sauce in a plastic bottle, buy it in a can and transfer into a glass bottle for easy pouring. Be sure to rinse and recycle the cans. Even better, make your own sauce!

In the bathroom:

  • Use a bar of soap instead of liquid soap
  • Use a facecloth to remove make-up instead of disposable wipes
  • Reuse a spray bottle to clean your shower, simply using a mix of vinegar and water
  • Use a metal razor
  • Use shampoo bars to wash your hair – that way there is no packaging to dispose of
  • And use plastic free cotton buds.

A colourful poster which shows examples of plastic-free items you can use in the kitchen.

In the kitchen instead of cling film:

  • Use a plate to cover leftovers
  • Cover food with a tea towel
  • Use beeswax wraps, which you can make yourself!

The WasteMINZ website has a guide showing how to make your own wet bag, which would be ideal to pack sandwiches in for school lunches, and a produce bag that can be used when buying fruit and veggies.

The Rubbish Trip also has plenty of fantastic resources, including a zero-waste guide to sustainable shopping in Wellington, and a nationwide interactive shopping map.

And be sure to follow our Facebook page to be in to win some great zero-waste giveaways.