Health

Don’t stop at July for going plastic-free!

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New Zealand has a clean, green image so it’s quite fitting that this year July has seen our social media newsfeeds fill up with the ‘Plastic-free July’ challenge to reduce our use of single-use plastic.

A concept that started in Western Australia in 2011, the #plasticfreejuly initiative has rapidly grown to become a global movement. Even if people choose to only reduce their plastic use for one month, participating helps us to become more aware of how much plastic we use on a daily basis and may make us think twice when it comes to using items such as plastic shopping bags, straws, takeaway containers and coffee cups.

July may be wrapping up soon, but here are some of my fave options for going plastic-free beyond this month.

plastic free july

1. Lunchboxes and reusable containers

A great alternative to plastic and polystyrene takeaway containers have a set of decent reusable containers for leftovers – your local takeaway store may even be happy to put your meal into your own ones rather than the single-use plastic containers. Lunchboxes such as a bento box with separate compartments can keep different foods in your lunch fresh and tasty without the need for extra containers or plastic wrap.

(Pictured – Bubbalooz Yumbox Tapas Antibes Blue 5 Compartment bento box)

2. Reusable drink bottles

Avoid buying bottled water and soft drinks by using regular tap water at home or making your own sodas. A decent reusable drink bottle such as a double-walled stainless steel one will typically be able to keep your drinks hot or cold.

(Pictured – Little Giants Kids Store Montii bottle and an NZRH shop stainless steel drink bottle)

3.Beeswax food wraps

Made from fabric soaked in beeswax, food wraps have recently gained popularity as a reusable substitute for cling film. Use to cover bowls of leftovers, wrap foods such as muffins for lunch, or fold into an envelope to create a pocket for holding smaller snack foods.

(Pictured – Little Giants Kids Store Sticky Bee Food Wraps)

4. Compostable plastic bags

Did you know there’s a difference between degradable plastic bags, biodegradable plastic bags and compostable plastic bags? Use compostable plastic bags if you want them to break down in the compost, or biodegradable bags if you want them to break down properly.

(Pictured – Ecopack Compostable Kitchen Tidy Liners)

5. Reusable produce bags

Avoid pre-packed veges and fruit by bringing along your own bags to pack your produce. If you think about all the plastic bags used for each type when you go to the supermarket, they can stack up really quickly especially over the course of year. Keep a set of quality string bags on hand to keep your produce in good condition.

(Pictured – Ecopack Produce Bags)

6. Reusable drinking straws

Way back in the day, straws used to be made of paper. Though if you left them in your drink for too long they would start to split and unravel. Plastic straws are everywhere now, and avoiding them is a super easy way of continuing plastic-free July into the rest of your year. Most reusable straws are metal, but as someone who’s chronically worried about chipping my teeth they scare me so I like to use silicone ones.

(Pictured – Little Giants Kids Store Silicone straws)

7. Reusable flask

Ditch the takeaway coffee cups and tea cups by using your own stylish reusable flask. If you get takeaway coffee just once a week and use your reusable cup each time, that’s 52 cups over the course of a year! Get one with an infuser if you like tea.

(Pictured – NZRH shop Fressko infuser flask)

Image / NZ Real Health

Ange is a personal trainer, yoga teacher, wife, and mother (with second bubba on the way!) based in Auckland, New Zealand.

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