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 2021 logo and cartoon of people in a canoe paddling with a yacht and seagull in the foreground.

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.

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?

First step – check out the Plastic Free July Aotearoa website to learn more.

Join 326 million participants world wide 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 water 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 use a keep cup to takeaway.
  • Take a reusable container to the deli, butcher, fish monger and to get your favourite takeaway kai in.
  • 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 paper, bamboo or stainless steel straws or just enjoy your refreshment without one.

Having trouble deciding what to swap out this July? Play plastic free whare on the Wasteminz website it's a fun way to make choices and see your impact.

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  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:

  • 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 glad 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

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 plastic packaging for paper based 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, logos 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:

  • Organise a beach clean-up at your local beach.
  • There is power in numbers! Consider joining a local zero waste/sustainability group or find one online via social media.
  • Help to make your school or local fair a zero waste event.
  • Sign the Takeaway Throwaways petition to call on the Government to ban some single-use items.

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:

  • Round the Bays 2020 replaced 14,000 single use plastic bottles with reusable Globelet cups.
  • 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