One of the biggest waste products is single-use plastics. While some can be recycled, many, such as soft plastics, still aren’t recyclable in NZ or here in Whangarei.
Here are some tips on reducing plastics:
Make your own
What products do you buy that you could make at home? Dips and spreads such as hummus can be easily (and cheaply) made at home. Check out our homemade cottage cheese recipe for inspiration .
A yoghurt maker can be a great investment and you can pick them up cheaply second-hand. Ditto a bread-maker.
You can also make your own cakes, pizza bases, muffins, biscuits, muesli bars, muesli, sauces; jams, chutneys and more. You don’t have to do it all, but even one lot of baking a week, or making a bulk load of tomato sauce when tomatoes are in season can make a big difference.
Don’t go single
Don’t by single-serve packets for school lunches. Buy bulk or a larger packet (eg chips or biscuits) and you can decant into smaller containers.
Plastic free lunches
Use reusable beeswax food wraps, instead of plastic food wrap and snack bags. Rather than using plastic wrap for food storage, use a plate or bowl to cover food or pop it into a reusable container and into the fridge.
Buy products such as milk in glass bottles or skin care products in glass jars. Even if it’s not every time, but each glass bottle you buy is one less single-use plastic bottle going to land-fill.
Keep it loose
Put your produce items directly in your shopping trolley and then straight into a reusable shopping bag at the checkout. Or use your own cloth bags for fruit, veggies and some bulk items.
Buy in bulk
Shops such as Bin Inn (who are handily a couple of doors along from us) will let you take your own jars, bags or containers to buy in bulk.
Even the supermarkets are getting on board with this and you can use your own containers in the meat and deli sections.
Shop at markets with loose produce or in paper bags. Bakeries often have paper bags for bread vs plastic.
Fruit & veggie shops generally have loose produce. Even if they have bagged lettuce or spinach, ask if you can use your own container or bag as they may have bulk stock and can let you use your own.
If you are sending parcels, rather than reaching for a pre-paid post bag you can reuse an old one (turn it inside out or put a new label over the top of the old one). Or wrap items in reused bubble wrap (if fragile) and newspaper and add a label.