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Reducing plastic waste in your household

20 July 2020

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It’s Plastic Free July, a time when we’re encouraged to take a hard look at the amount of plastic waste our community creates. We asked sustainability expert, Nicola Turner from Mainstream Green, for a few of her top tips for families – starting with her suggestions for reducing plastic in school lunchboxes. 

Tips for school lunches

School lunchboxes can be plastic guzzlers. While those gorgeous bento-style boxes are a fantastic reusable option, it’s easy to fill them up when you’re in a hurry with tasty treats encased in brightly-coloured plastic. Here are a few easy ways to avoid that excess packaging:

  • Prep ahead – Create instant, packaging-free options straight from your freezer. If you have time to bake, try doubling or tripling the recipe (or, if you want to take inspiration from Nicola, you could even quadruple it!) and pop it in the freezer. Add a frozen muffin or slice in the lunchbox when you’re prepping breakfast and they’ll defrost by morning tea time at school.
  • Go bulk – Buy packaged snacks in those larger pack sizes (instead of the single-serve multipacks) and pop them in your own reusable snack-size bags or containers. You’ll probably find these are far easier for them to open on their own at school too!
  • Make your own – Replace those individual plastic pottles of yoghurt with a bulk tub (which can be recycled more easily) and reusable containers. Or make your own from sachets with a yoghurt maker. A SodaStream is an ideal choice if you have littlies that love sparkling water.

Get the whole family involved

Reducing your plastic waste could be a great family challenge and you’ll find a heap of other wonderful ideas and suggestions on the Plastic Free July Aotearoa Facebook page.

About Nicola Turner


After spending the first 15 years of her career working in the global consumer goods industry, Nicola’s life was set on a different trajectory with a personal quest to live more simply and sustainably. Bringing together her understanding of human behaviour and her sustainability experience, Nic founded Mainstream Green as a Social Enterprise to inspire and create behaviour change. She now travels around New Zealand engaging businesses, councils and individuals about mindful consumption. It’s all about being more conscious of how we consume and the waste we create.ided. Many local councils even offer free courses on how to get started.

The information in this article has been compiled from various sources and is intended to be factual information only. It is not personal advice and any description of an insurance product or service is not a complete description of all the terms and conditions applicable to the particular insurance product or service. You should consult a qualified adviser for advice on whether the information in this article is suitable for your personal situation and needs. While we take reasonable steps to ensure that the information contained in this article is accurate and up-to-date, it is subject to change without notice. Asteron Life Limited and its related companies does/do not accept any responsibility or liability in connection with your use of or reliance on this article.

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