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6 ideas to reduce your waste in Plastic Free July and beyond! 

16 July 2019

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This month people around the world are participating in Plastic Free July. Even if you haven’t signed up for the challenge, it’s a great time to think about the waste you create and the steps you can take to reduce it.

Here are six bright ideas for waste-reduced living.

1. Think outside the (single-use) box and bring your own containers

We all adapted quickly to bringing our own bags to the supermarket, now it’s time to bring your own container.

You can bring your own container to:
The supermarket – New World, PAK’nSAVE and Four Square supermarkets across the North Island will let you bring your own container for plastic free deli, butchery, bakery and seafood purchases.

Your local takeaway – many takeaway restaurants are happy for you to bring your own container to put food in when you order.

Your local butcher – chat to your local butcher first to see whether they’re happy for you to bring your own container when you buy meat.

2. Forgetful? Make a re-useables kit

The team at Plastic Free July say the four most-used single-use plastics are straws, takeaway cups, plastic bags and water bottles. Future-proof yourself from getting caught out at the supermarket or café by making a re-useables kit. Include a re-useable bag, coffee cup and a container. You could keep a kit in your bag, at the office or in the car (or in all three places).  

3. Take a litter-free lunch

Homemade lunches usually use less packaging than bought lunches – and if you’re careful about packaging you can ditch the plastic wrap and make your lunch litter-free.

Bento style lunchboxes are a great way to keep food separate or you can buy honey wraps – or make them if you are a DIY enthusiast! Honey wraps are cotton fabric coated in beeswax, which are used as an alternative to plastic for wrapping food in lunchboxes or covering food in the fridge.

If you’re making children’s lunches get rid of things that come in individual packages (like popcorn and crackers in snack size packs – these double up on packaging as the small bags come in larger bags). Replace these with the same items from a larger, all-in-one packet. The good news is that a packed lunch usually saves money too!

4. Your re-useable bag isn’t just for the supermarket

If you’re shopping for items that aren’t groceries, take your bags with you (if you’ve made a re-useable kit then you shouldn’t get caught out). Even though many retailers provide paper or new re-useable bags – the bag you already own is the better low-waste option.

5. Refresh your recycling knowledge

You think you know what can go in your recycling bin, but do you? The first port of call is to look under your bin lid (in some areas comprehensive details are printed on the inside of your recycling bin). It’s a good idea to take a look at your council’s website too. Different areas have different requirements for recycling (some councils ask that you leave lids on bottles, some that you take them off). Make sure you know your council’s requirements – or the things you think you’re recycling could end up in landfill.

6. Get composting (with a few surprising items)

If you have a garden, composting is a great way to turn your fruit and veggie waste into something useful! Here are a few surprising things that can be composted: cardboard and paper, dryer lint and dust bunnies, wine corks, and the contents of your vacuum cleaner bag (don’t try this if you have carpets or rugs made of man-made fiber though). If you live in an apartment and still want to save your scraps you could donate your compostable waste to a community garden for their compost initiatives.

Want to know what we’re doing to reduce waste and behave sustainably?

Asteron Life is part of Suncorp New Zealand, and over the last year, we’ve been thinking about ways to reduce our footprint, especially our waste. We’ve made some changes to help our people understand what to put in our paper, recycling and compostable bins in our offices. Read more about how we’re taking action to reduce the waste we send to landfill.

We’re also focused on sustainability throughout our business.

  • We have a Climate Change Action Plan to address the risks and opportunities of climate change to our operations, customers, suppliers, investments and community.
  • Our Responsible Investment Policy guides how we address environmental, social and governance risks and opportunities in our investment practices.
  • We are members of the Climate Leaders Coalition, to help New Zealand transition to a low emissions economy and create a positive future for New Zealanders, business and the economy.

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