Getting behind Plastic-free July

Here at the Nelson Environment Centre we are getting behind Plastic-free July and encourage you to join us. This is a time to reflect on our plastic usage and take positive steps to reduce this.

As a community we have been doing our bit by recycling with our kerb-side collection bins, however recent global changes have shown us that recycling may no longer be a workable solution.

China had been accepting around 50% of the world’s plastic and paper products for recycling but announced that it would stop from 1 January 2019. While other nations have stepped in to accept these products, if you take the time to read about where they are ending up and just how much is actually being recycled, it is quite disturbing.

As a community we can choose where we go from here. The waste hierarchy ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle’ is a great starting point, as a way to prioritise our actions to help reduce our waste.

We are all at different stages of our journey to reduce and reuse plastics and we encourage you to take small steps to do something more.

This doesn’t mean you have to go plastic free – you can set your own challenges. This may be as simple as pledging to refuse takeaway coffee cups from now on. You may look at ways to reduce your plastic usage at home and experiment with making your own cleaning products or snacks.

The good news is that there is a positive movement to support us as consumers to do more. Retailers are more receptive to consumers using their own containers and some are even encouraging it. The Organic Co-Op at 31 Vangaurd Street is one such place and when we asked local shopper Monique Wijnen about what motivates her she said “we can’t recycle our way out of what we are producing, which is why we need to reduce and reuse.”

We are also working with our local Cafes to encourage their customers to dine in or BYO cups as part of our Plastic Free July commitment.

There are many online resources and you can share ideas and recipes with your friends and family. Check the Plastic-Free July website for inspiration and refer to the Rubbish Trip who collate and publish information about where you can go to refill containers and much more.

You may have some failures along the way but give it a go and encourage others to do the same – it feels good to be doing your part for a future free of waste.

Jess Ettridge