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How can you reduce plastics in your home?

Reducing use of plastic in the home is a hot topic right now, with supermarket chains making moves to reduce or eliminate single use plastic shopping bags and the rise of the ’zero-waste movement’. At the same time, we are getting messages that New Zealand is lagging behind other countries in the global fight against plastic pollution.

Below are ten simple things you can reduce your use of plastic in the home.

  • Stop buying bottled water - carry a reusable water bottle and refill at home or out and about.

  • Say no to plastic straws – if you don’t need it, simply say ‘no thanks’.

  • Take a reusable coffee cup to the cafe – you may even be rewarded with a discount!

  • Avoid excessive food packaging – have you thought of taking your own reusable container to the butcher or having your milk delivered?

  • Choose cardboard over plastic bottles and bags – generally they are easier to recycle.

  • Buy a bamboo toothbrush – when it’s past it’s use by date, cut off the bristles and compost the handle.

  • Avoid disposable cutlery and plates when eating out – bring your own whenever possible.

  • Line bins containing food with old newspapers, while bins for non-food waste don’t need to be lined.

  • Shop in bulk – take your own containers to bulk food stores like Bin Inn and Ecostore.

  • Carry a reusable shopping bag – or three.

While it is clear that plastic continues to fill up our landfills and oceans, changes are afloat in New Zealand to help minimise plastic waste.

A ban on plastic microbeads in products such as exfoliants, toothpastes and cleaning products came into effect on 7 June this year, and the Government is considering introducing a container deposit scheme. On the technology front, less harmful packaging solutions are in development.

In the future, there may well be changes to planning documents like the Auckland Unitary Plan, requiring waste reduction or mitigation measures be incorporated into applications for building and resource consent.

You don’t have to go zero waste to make a difference, but if you are interested in seriously incorporating some key practices of reducing waste into your lifestyle, then a search on ‘zero waste’ is a good place to start.

Disclaimer As with all our blogs, the information detailed here is general in nature and meant as a preliminary guide only. This should not be substituted for your own investigations or use of your own professional’s. Planning Plus is not liable for any errors or omissions.

Tracy Roe is a Planner with an M.Sc. in Resource Management.

Tracy has prepared, lodged and assessed resource consent applications. She also provides support in client liaison, contractor engagement and general communications.

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