Plastic Free July in Aotearoa: Embracing Sustainability

Plastic Free July is a global movement that challenges individuals, communities, and businesses to reduce their plastic consumption for the month of July. In Aotearoa (New Zealand), this initiative has gained significant traction, aligning with the country’s strong environmental values and commitment to sustainability.


The Origin of Plastic Free July

Plastic Free July started in Australia in 2011, initiated by the Plastic Free Foundation. It has since grown into a worldwide campaign, engaging millions of people in over 170 countries. The goal is simple: to reduce single-use plastics and inspire long-term changes in behaviour.


The Importance of Plastic Free July in Aotearoa

Aotearoa’s unique environment, with its diverse ecosystems and stunning landscapes, faces significant threats from plastic pollution. Beaches, oceans, and even remote areas are increasingly affected by plastic waste. Plastic Free July provides an opportunity for Kiwis to make a positive impact on their environment by reducing plastic use and promoting sustainable alternatives.


Initiatives and Activities

Throughout the month, various initiatives and activities take place across the country to support Plastic Free July:


Community Clean-Ups: Many communities organise beach clean-ups and litter collections to remove plastic waste from natural areas. These events not only help clean up the environment but also raise awareness about the impact of plastic pollution.


Workshops and Education: Workshops on making reusable bags, beeswax wraps, and other sustainable products are held to educate people on reducing plastic use. Schools often participate by integrating plastic-free themes into their curriculum.


Local Businesses: Many local businesses join the movement by offering discounts for customers who bring their reusable bags, containers, or cups. Some even eliminate single-use plastics entirely for the month.


Government Support: The New Zealand government supports the initiative by promoting policies aimed at reducing plastic waste, such as bans on single-use plastic bags and encouraging recycling programs.


How to Participate

Participating in Plastic Free July can be as simple or as involved as you like. Here are a few ways to get started:


Bring Your Own: Use reusable bags, bottles, coffee cups, and containers. This simple switch can significantly reduce your plastic footprint.

Refuse Single-Use Plastics: Say no to plastic straws, cutlery, and packaging. Opt for alternatives made from sustainable materials.


Shop Smart: Choose products with minimal or no plastic packaging. Support brands and retailers that prioritise sustainability such as @TradeAid and @Kathmandu.


Spread the Word: Encourage friends, family, and colleagues to join the movement. Share your progress on social media using hashtags like #PlasticFreeJuly and #PlasticFreeAotearoa.


Long-Term Impact

While Plastic Free July is a month-long challenge, its impact extends far beyond July. The habits and awareness developed during this time can lead to lasting changes in behaviour and contribute to a larger cultural shift towards sustainability.


In Aotearoa, embracing Plastic Free July is a way to honour the country’s natural beauty and protect it for future generations. By participating, Kiwis can demonstrate their commitment to reducing plastic waste and promoting a healthier, more sustainable environment. Plastic Free July in Aotearoa is more than just a challenge; it’s a movement that inspires individuals and communities to make meaningful changes for the planet. By reducing plastic use, supporting sustainable practices, and spreading awareness, New Zealanders can help protect their beautiful land and oceans from plastic pollution. Join the movement this July and make a lasting difference!