The free online Circular Economy Directory can help your business find solutions to phase out plastic waste. Now's a good time as the government took another step to phase out problem plastics on the first day of Plastic Free July. It has banned the manufacture, sale and distribution of single-use plastic produce bags, plates, bowls and cutlery and restricted the use of plastic straws. Additionally, plastic produce labels must begin the transition to being fully home-compostable by 2025. The ban on produce bags alone will remove 150 million plastic produce bags from circulation each year.
Phasing out problem plastics in Aotearoa New Zealand started in October 2022 and included PVC food trays, polystyrene takeaway packaging, expanded polystyrene food and drink packaging, plastic with pro-degradant additives, plastic drink stirrers and plastic stemmed cotton buds. Starting in mid-2025, we will see all other PVC and polystyrene food and drink packaging phased out.
When it comes to alternatives to single-use plastic products, there are a number of organisations taking the reins and steering us towards a circular economy. Unlike a linear economy approach of take-make-waste, products and materials in a circular economy are kept in circulation and single-use products are a thing of the past.
The packaging section of the Circular Economy Directory is full of innovative circular solutions. Again Again is a reusable container management system, empowering consumers to borrow instead of accepting single-use waste. Green Spider Pallet Wraps and Gaprie both manufacture reusable, alternative solutions to single-use plastic pallet wrap. The Better Packaging Co. has sold more than 60 million plant-based, compostable e-commerce bags, providing a more sustainable alternative to single-use, plastic bags. Ecostore’s refillable format helps businesses reduce both plastic and product waste when purchasing cleaning products.
Alternatives to single-use and hard-to-recycle plastics exist. Plastic Free July is a great opportunity to explore these options, support New Zealand businesses and reduce the amount of plastic in your life. Learn more about the recent ban on single-use and hard-to-recycle plastics.