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Source: Auckland Council

Plastic Free July may have finished but there are always plenty of opportunities to take on the challenge of reducing our use of plastic.

Being aware of how prevalent plastic is in our lives is an important part of taking on that challenge.

“Plastic is part of every room in the home. We’ve been encouraging all Aucklanders, including Auckland Council staff to look at some simple swaps for their kitchen, bathroom and laundry to eliminate single-use plastic from their daily lives,” says Cr. Richard Hills, Chairperson of Auckland Council’s Environment and Climate Change Committee.

It’s good to be reminded of the simple swaps we can all adopt into our daily lives. Here are 10 ways to wave goodbye to plastics in your home.

  • Have a quick look through your bin to see what’s in there. Knowing which plastic packaging the products you buy come in can help you make a choice about where that plastic ends up. To find out if something is recyclable at the kerbside, use our search tool or chat with Binny, the recycling app.

Simple plastic swaps for the bathroom and laundry

  • Reuse spray bottles for cleaning by either filling them up at bulk stores or by making your own cleaning spray.

  • Use laundry powder in a cardboard box or take your liquid laundry container to be refilled.

  • Eliminate plastic containers from your bathroom and replace with a bar – hand, body, and face wash, hair shampoo and conditioner, and shave soaps all come in bar

  • Replace the plastic clothes pegs with pegs made from stainless steel, wood, or bamboo with a stainless-steel spring.

Head to the Make the Most of Waste website for more bathroom and laundry ideas.

Simple plastic swaps for the kitchen

  • Choose glass or stainless steel food storage containers and reuse what plastic containers you already have.

  • Bake your own biscuits, muffins, and breads, or make your own dips to avoid soft-plastic and single-use packaging by baking.

  • Find an alternative to putting food scraps in your rubbish bin so you don’t need to use a plastic bin liner. Forty-five per cent of an average Aucklander’s rubbish bin by weight is food scraps.  Reducing food waste can save you money and your rubbish won’t be as soggy.

There are plenty more small changes you can make in your kitchen to reduce plastic use so try adopting something new every month.

  • If you’ve done everything above and want to take it to the next level, try making your own reusable beeswax wraps. Plastic cling wrap used to be a kitchen staple. But it doesn’t need to be. Making your own beeswax wraps for sandwiches or for food storage is easy and simple to do. Watch this step-by-step guide on how to make your own and then get making.

  • Recycle soft plastics. Soft plastics can be recycled as well, just not in your kerbside bin. These are best recycled in the green and white recycling bins at supermarkets and other stores. Collect your soft plastics in a bag under the sink or in a small bin in the kitchen. Once it is full, throw them in the boot of the car to drop off next time you go to the supermarket. An easy way to do this is to use a bread bag to store the other soft plastics.

As Parul Sood, General Manager of Auckland Council’s Waste Solutions says, “Now is the time to establish a new normal, reassess how much single-use plastic we consume and make some simple swaps. Get your reusable coffee cup and water bottle back out of the cupboard. Find out where your nearest bulk bin store is and start shopping packaging free.

“On your next grocery shop notice if there are any items you buy in plastic that you can swap to buying in glass, cardboard or in a can instead. When you buy drinks in aluminium cans that material can be made back into aluminium cans an infinite number of times.”

Every small change makes a difference.