Is That Cup Reusable? – The War On Single Use Plastic In New Zealand

Single use plastic

Have you thought about how much plastic you use in your daily life? Maybe not, but now you are. So, how much of that plastic is single use plastic? (i.e. you use it once, then throw it away). Can any of it be recycled?

Why is this a problem?

Do you know how much plastic ends up in the ocean? (A large portion of which is consumed by wildlife) Well, researchers have discovered a plastic patch in the Southern Ocean LARGER than Greenland. Let that sink in. To make matters worse, much of that is thought to have come from New Zealand. Not so clean and green right? This article explains a bit more about it.

Ok, so what can I do?

You may be thinking “I’m just one person. What can I do?”. It all has to start somewhere. There are so many simple things you can do to help. Many of these will even save you money! Now what’s not to love about that? It won’t take long for these to become habit, so check out what you can do today.

Food

  • Reusable grocery bags – These can be purchased at all supermarkets, and are very sturdy.
  • Reusable produce bags – Available online.
  • Bulk buying pantry staples – Oats, nuts, grains, even peanut butter, can be purchased at your local Binn Inn, or even Gilmours (With some packaging, but hey we’re not going for perfection here).
  • Bento style lunch boxes – Using one of these makes it easier to eliminate some packaging as you have lots of small compartments to use.

Everyday

  • Reusable coffee cup – These are available at supermarkets, petrol stations, and online. Sometimes you’ll even get a discount for using one!
  • Cloth pads and menstrual cups – Not as scary as it may sound I promise! You will save a TONNE of money by adopting this practice. Not to mention how much landfill you’ll save! Laura makes fabulous cloth pads, and always sells out. Now that is a great sign.
  • Invest in a decent bottle – This can be plastic. Just ensure it’s BPA free, and a decent size to help you stay hydrated (Somehow I find it easier to drink more water when I’m using and refilling a drink bottle).
  • Bamboo tooth brushes! – These are very affordable, and can even be delivered to your door! Seriously awesome.
  • DIY cleaning products – There are many websites and books with recipes for creating your own cleaning products. You don’t have to buy brands full of chemical nasties. I mean this stuff ends up in our waterways.
  • Baking soda – This stuff is useful for so many things; toothpaste, scrub cleaner, bath salts, bath bombs, an alkalizing drink…the list goes on.
  • Straws – This is a biggie. Ditch the single use plastic straws. Thousands upon thousands of these end up on our beaches. Get some fab stainless steel ones instead!
  • Pick up rubbish! – When you’re out and about, take a bag with you to collect at least 5 pieces of rubbish (If you see that many!). Our little boy stops me when he sees rubbish, picks it up, then we go in search of a bin.

Body

Simplify your beauty routine. You really don’t need fancy stuff! My daily routine is so very simple, and my skin does not suffer for it. Quite the opposite in fact.

  • Exfoliate – Do NOT buy face and body washes with micro beads in them. This is ultimately what the fish end up eating, tiny plastic beads. Why not try a natural exfoliating bar with pumice or poppy seeds?
  • Make your own scrub using a natural exfoliant like sugar or salt. Your pantry may hold the key to some amazing beauty fixes!
  • Ditch the body wash with a million ingredients. Why not go back to basics with luscious soap bars. Very few ingredients, all of which you can pronounce. These can also be used on your face.
  • Moisturise – I simply use argan oil. That’s it. No need for a fancy bottle as it comes in glass.

So there you go. There’s so many things here that may help you work towards minimising your plastic use. You don’t have to aim for perfection; just start small. You also get an amazing feeling of satisfaction knowing you’re doing your part to help preserve this beautiful country of ours.

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