03.05.19

Action Plan. Keep plastics out of the Gulf.

By Jessica Beau Paul

We've compiled this handy list of ways you can help keep plastics out of the Hauraki gulf and our seas.

For our streets to the sea – so how does litter get there? Check out this great 2 minute video from the Young Ocean Explorers.

Three a day

Don’t you hate seeing litter on the streets, but don’t pick it up because, well – that Council’s job right? Things won’t change unless we do. How about you consider joining the ranks of people who aim to pick up at least three bits of rubbish a day. Make sure you give it a good home (that’s neatly housed deep inside a waste bin). Once you’ve done it a few times, you’ll lose that inhibition. Together we can create the new normal!

An obvious one

If you see rubbish overflowing in public bins, you can almost guarantee it will end up in our oceans and waterways. If you can stomach it, stuff it right down deep into the bin.

Small components are also problematic – things like plastic lids or detachable pieces of plastic – make sure these are disposed of correctly.

Limit single-use items

Limit single-use packaging, your single-use coffee cups, take-away packaging, straws, napkins and plastic bags. Consider taking the time to eat in, sit and enjoy your coffee and food. But if you must take-away, no problem – you can take your own container, bowl or lunch box. If you don’t have a reusable coffee cup, there are cup lending cafes out there too.

When in the supermarket, avoid excess packaging

There so many products out there with unnecessary plastic packaging – see if you can find similar products with less packaging. Choose the toilet  wrapped in paper rather than plastic.

Produce is another one. We don’t need plastic bags or wrap for this. Your produce can go straight into your reusable bag and into the fridge. Also, it’s usually cheaper to buy loose produce.

Love your 1 and 2’s

Choose items with clear PET (type 1 – ideally recycled so ‘RPET’) or uncoloured, ‘natural’ HDPE (type 2) as they are more valuable to recyclers. These classifications can usually be found on the underside of the product.

Small isn’t always beautiful

No one wants discarded bottles in our environment, but the small components can be the real killers for our sea life.  When you do use single use containers and bottles, be extra vigilant with those caps, collars and other small components. Make sure to dispose of them well inside a waste bin.

At home

When you wash your clothes, use a gentle spin cycle. Many of our clothes have very fine plastic fibres in them – and when we use a high spin cycle, these fibres come out of our clothes and end up in our water. Plus your clothes will last a lot longer when you wash them gently.

These are the fibres that escape our clothes – they are thinner than human hair. Most common offenders include polyester, nylon and acrylic. Plastic fibres in your next meal of fish and chips anyone?

Organise or take part in a clean-up

Take part in a beach clean-up with your work or school!

If you fish, dispose of your lines correctly

If you’re out fishing, please be careful about your line! Dispose of your fishing line correctly.