Within the Blake Whanau, our Environmental Committee of Scott, Sharysse, Krishnan, Vanshika and Harry have been heavily promoting the Reduce, Reuse and Recycle message, however, we believe that inside this well-designed catchphrase, by far, the largest factor is: “Reduce”. Essentially, WE USE TOO MUCH PLASTIC.
We have calculated that the plastic inside your bag is between 5 and 8 times the quantity of the plastic shopping bag itself. We know we need to reduce shopping bags, but we must also attack the main sources of plastic usage. We have tested that it is possible to come out of a supermarket carrying no more plastic than we take in. However, it is inconvenient; you are required to make compromises, and it can be a little more expensive.
We estimate if 1%-2% of consumers purchased plastic-free this will start to affect producer’s bottom line and may well encourage them to use environmentally friendly packaging.
Proven methods to reduce plastic
- Use a reusable shopping bag
- If you don’t have any reusable shopping bags, take your own plastic bags which can also be used specifically to pack and purchase your fruit and vegetables
- Banana, pumpkins, capsicum etc. don’t need a bag at all
- Short or standard cucumbers are not wrapped in plastic
- Take your own Tupperware to the Deli to get fish and meat (be careful they often try to wrap your Tupperware in plastic)
- Two of our local supermarkets use paper bags at their bakeries, so you can ask to get your bread cut and placed into a paper bag (far fewer preservatives in fresh bread)
- Soap and laundry detergent can be purchased in boxes
- Avoid buying plastic plates, cutlery and cups (there are lots of alternatives)
- Avoid buying food that has plastic trays and has each item individually wrapped
- Contact your local supermarket and let them know their bulk section should be cheaper, and not as in the case of muesli up to 4 times the cost of that encased in plastic, so the public would use the bulk bins more
- Avoid purchasing small plastic encased food items e.g. jerky sticks, cheese sticks
- Avoid using plastic rubbish bags
- Take your coat hangers back to the dry cleaners
- Avoid the use of plastic one-use items from discount stores when planning parties, skits, performances etc.
- Sit down and relax with your coffee instead of creating plastic waste for the sake of a few minutes
We are currently sourcing environmentally friendly paper bags which will be slightly larger than A4. Once sourced, we will be asking the help of Blake Whanau students to sell one pack of 250 and in doing so take 87,500 plastic bags out of circulation.