Plastic Free July, take the challenge

By jay

Plastic Free July is a month long challenge with a simple question at its core: can you say no to single use plastic for one month?

The SBN team has signed up and is saying no to all single use plastic (including the office milk supply!) and we’re encouraging you to do the same. From time to time we’ll be checking in on social media to let you know how we’re doing.

The Plastic Free July challenge aims to raise awareness around how much plastic is used every day and then discarded without a second thought. Everything from Gladwrap to takeaway coffee cups (which are lined with plastic) to bottles and straws will be under the microscope.

For the things you absolutely can’t live without (like the plastic bags cereal comes in or the plastic meat is wrapped in) there’s a “dilemma” bag to help you keep track of the single use plastic you do and don’t need.

It’s not too late to sign up and take on the challenge so if it’s your first Plastic Free July we’ve got some hints and tips at the bottom of the article to help you along the way.

“Plastic is everywhere and is a serious problem for the planet,” says SBN CEO Rachel Brown. “In our oceans, islands of plastic float around in hideously large volumes.

The SBN team are taking on Plastic Free July for the second year in a row. Being a bunch of high performers we knew it would be tough but being plastic free was much harder than we expected. But it didn’t deter us from coming back this year and from making long term changes in our lives.” 

Rachel admits that one of her biggest challenges is going to be single-use food packaging.

 “My major challenges are the bags that my food comes in – particularly organic food as much of it is packaged – even in my local organic market.” She says.

Why go plastic free? Because….

  • In New Zealand 252,000 tonnes of plastic goes to landfill every year
  • Every piece of plastic (that hasn’t been incinerated) still exists somewhere in the world.
  • In the first 10 years of this century more plastic was produced than during the entirety of the last century.

Going plastic free can be a daunting task so we’ve sought advice from Ecodeals, who specialise in non-plastic alternatives for food wrappers and shopping bags and if you need your daily dose of caffeine IdealCup have the perfect solution.

Lisa Madarasz  from EcoDeals put together four easy ways to ditch plastic:

  • Shopping bags: Take your canvas bags to the supermarket; leave them in the car so they’re always there. Ecodeals have plenty of alternatives.
  • Gladwrap: Pop a plate over that bowl of leftovers, use reusable covers (check out our amazing Honeywraps), use reusable sandwich bags – Ya Yah Design have just the thing
  • Grab yourself a reusable coffee cup: Save the planet and yourself some money – many places offer discounts for BYO cups.
  • Fresh Produce bags: I hate these bags with a passion. Check out these reusable options from Pouch Products, they’re a family owned business that makes the bags from durable, stretchy mesh fabric that holds up to 3kgs of apples.

SBN works with businesses solving waste issues. We also run the Circular Economy Model Office project which emphasises reusing and upcycling of office materials during the refurbishment process. The launch of the guide is tonight, register on the SBN website.