Going Plastic Free? Here’s Where to Start

In 2019, New Zealand decided to put Mother Nature first and moved to ban single-use plastic shopping bags around the country. With many of us quickly adopting to the new way of shopping, we can be the first to admit that we haven’t made the same commitment to plastic-free living in other areas of our lives.

If you’re looking to expand on your eco-journey, below are some areas we’re focusing on this year to help do our part. 

Reusable shopping bags

It’s official, single-use plastic is out and reusable bags are in. Outside of gathering up every tote bag we’ve ever acquired, many supermarkets and retail stores are now stocking their own branded bags – you just have to remember to take them! If you still haven’t mastered grabbing them on your way out the door, get into the habit of popping your reusable bags back into the car boot after you’ve unpacked your purchases so you don’t caught short next time you shop. A small bag that rolls up into a pocket size is ideal for keeping in the handbag for smaller shopping items whilst you’re out and about – try craft or dollar shops.

Our Pick: The Ministry for the Environment has some ideas on how you can make your own reusable shopping bag from old clothes – a win win!

Eco-friendly produce bags

So you’ve got your reusable shopping bag but what do you do when you enter the fruit and veg aisle at the local supermarket and you want to purchase something like tomatoes or grapes? You need to keep them together for weighing purposes (and so they’re not rolling around in the trolley), but you don’t want to use the small plastic bags. Luckily, reusable produce bags are now quite commonplace. Throw a few in with your reusable shopping bags and you’re on your way to being plastic-free.

Our Pick: Purely Natural NZ has organic cotton drawstring bags that are a great size.

Bring your own coffee cup

Billions of disposable coffee cups are used around the world every year. We don’t look like breaking our takeaway coffee habit anytime soon and mixed messages over what is recycleable, compostable or biodegradable is causing confusion. Some cafes have started mug recycling – you use a ceramic mug for your takeaway and return it the next time you visit.

A great option is a reusable coffee cup that still gives you convenience without the waste.

Our Pick: Want a cup that matches your aesthetic? Check out these glass cups available in a variety of colours and sizes from Kiwi company SoL.

Ditch the bottled water

Drinking bottled water may give you a clean and clear taste but at what cost? Plastic water bottles are a huge environmental problem. Opt for a drink bottle that you can refill with tap water and you’ll be helping the environment and your budget. If you don’t like the taste of tap water than try refrigerating it before filling up your drink bottle, use a filter or infuse with fruit.

Our Pick: Double-walled stainless steel drink bottles keep your water cold for up to 8 hours. We love this easy-open sipper design from Eco-friendly Water Bottles & Lunchware.

Reusable drinking straws

Cafes and restaurants are starting to get on board the plastic-free juggernaut by no longer supplying plastic straws with drinks. Some offer the paper version but we prefer the BYO waste-free option of stainless steel drinking straws. You will get some strange looks from the fast food outlets when you tell them they can keep their straw but somehow they even make the drink taste better!

Our Pick: Take your stainless steel straws when you’re on-the-go with these Ambry Straws from Countdown.

How are you reducing your household’s use of single-use plastic?

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her world julieWritten by Julie Scanlon

Julie is a regular Her World contributor and our MVP. Her hobbies include laughing uncontrollably at her own jokes, annoying her family by asking questions about movie plots, and never taking anything too seriously. She speaks a little Spanish and a lot of Yorkshire. 

Favourite motto to live by: “It ain’t nothing but a thing”


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