Source: Whangarei District Council
Updated: 14/08/2019 12:00 a.m.
Young, motivated Eila-Rose Jones reports back on her experience of embracing plastic free July into her everyday life and challenges others to get on board!
The student of Whangarei Girls High School and member of Council’s Youth Advisory Group (YAG) is keen to walk the talk when it comes to all things sustainability.
What did Plastic Free July involve for you?
It’s all about making choices, being prepared and willing to compromise.
For me, plastic free July meant I had to be organised when it came to preparing meals, especially at school time. I already had some resources like a reusable lunchbox, water bottle and beeswax covers, but I quickly learnt that most snacks are covered in plastic coverings.
Plastic Free July meant a lot of compromise. I switched muesli bars for broccoli and instead of buying snacks, mum had to bake them instead.
As well as consciously making no plastic waste, I also learnt a lot and now am very aware of all things plastic around me.
What inspired you to do Plastic Free July?
We all have to do our part. I am advocating through YAG to do more for our environment, but I also can make a difference personally.
Social media inspires me and it feels really good at the end of the day, when I can say I’m taking action too.
What’s something you have learnt over the past month?
Creating waste seems to be a part of most people’s everyday lives and it is so ingrained in everything we do. It is really hard work to go plastic free, but it is also very rewarding, and I can imagine it will get easier with more substitutes coming out and by getting into a routine.
What’s one piece of advice you want to pass on to others?
Support others making a difference, even if it is only small. I see one of the sushi places in town now has cardboard if you want instead of the single use plastic containers. Let them know that’s awesome.
So what now Eila-Rose?
I plan to keep up the changes I have made.
I challenge other people to eliminate one piece of plastic from their daily life and then talk about it with people around you. It feels really good!
YAG involves young locals aged 15-24 and provides a platform for them to have a say in Council matters that affect youth living in Whangārei.
The advisory group supports Council’s vision of Whangārei being a vibrant, attractive and thriving District for all people living here. The Group has 12 team players who provide a youth perspective and support the work Council does.
Together, YAG, Council staff and Councillors hold monthly meetings to go over projects and policies Council is working on. This provides an exciting opportunity for youth to learn about local government and vice versa.
A major focus for the members is climate change and sustainability this year.
The work YAG is advocating for is extremely relevant given Council has just declared a Climate Change Emergency and is in the process of implementing its Corporate Sustainability Strategy and its Climate Change Adaptation Strategy.
Follow the link to below to read more about the Youth Advisory Group