New Zealanders believe reducing waste is the second most important challenge we face over the next 20 years (recent Ministry research). So why not set some goals to reduce your waste?
To get you started we have come up with a few ideas.
Commit to not using single-use plastic shopping bags in 2019
The mandatory phase out of single-use plastic shopping bags in New Zealand won’t take effect in New Zealand until 1 July 2019, but we can all stop using these bags today.
So why not make a commitment to take reusable bags when you’re off to the supermarket, the mall or anywhere you might be offered a single-use plastic shopping bag? Make it easy to achieve by always returning your reusable bags to your car after unloading shopping, and consider buying a lightweight material bag that folds up into a small parcel for your handbag, backpack or briefcase.
Go a year without a takeaway cup
Do you think you can make it through 2019 without accepting a takeaway coffee cup?
These single-use cups can’t be recycled, which means they’re a big contributor to our growing landfill waste in New Zealand. We think coffee and other hot drinks taste much better out of a reusable cup – as you know you’re making a good choice for nature. Many cafes offer discounts when you bring your own keep cup or mug with you – which means you could save money too!
Halve the amount of waste you are sending to landfill
Can you reduce the amount of waste you’re sending to landfill by half?
While going 100 per cent waste-free isn’t an easy change to make, cutting down on waste can be with a few smart changes to your lifestyle – like choosing groceries with the least possible plastic packaging and recycling everything you can (check your local council website for what can be recycled in your area). See if you can reduce your rubbish from one bin to half a bin each week, or from one bag a fortnight to one bag a month. Here are some ideas to get you started.
Take part in beach clean-ups
Helping with beach clean-ups is a great way to meet people and help the environment. Check out the Sustainable Coastlines website for their upcoming events.
Pick up one piece of litter a day
Walking to work, taking the dog for a run or going for a lunch-time stroll are all great opportunities to pick up some litter – even if it’s just one piece. Every piece that goes in the rubbish or recycling bin is one less piece that is polluting our environment. Stuff.co.nz recently ran a ‘Litter by little’ campaign that challenged readers to pick up just one piece a day. Check out their Litterati photo gallery.
Grow more, waste less
Growing your own fruit, vegetables and herbs is a great way to avoid packaging waste and greenhouse gas emissions from transport. Local farmers markets are another good option – just remember to bring along your own reusable shopping and produce bags.
Building or purchasing a compost bin is a great way to return food waste to nature, and build up the quality of soil in your garden. Zero Waste organisation Para Kore have some helpful composting tips on their website. And if you want to discover other ways to reduce your food waste, check out the Love food hate waste New Zealand website.