This Plastic Free July, we look at some myths about plastic and recycling and what we can do to reduce and reuse.
Fact: The Ministry for the Environment (MfE) states that biodegradable plastics will only fully breakdown through commercial processing. If a biodegradable plastic is left to break down in an environment – such as in landfills or the sea – it often only breaks down into micro-plastics. These micro-plastics can create ‘plastic smog’ in parts of the ocean and accumulate in soils. Whereas a compostable plastic, when composted, will break down entirely into its nutrients and natural substances (i.e, return to nature).
What you can do: Choose compostable plastics over biodegradable plastic whenever possible, but the best option is still to use reusable bags, cups and containers as much as you can.
Fact: In Auckland currently, there are several bulk dry food shops selling flours, nuts, seeds, grains, pasta, dried fruit, honey, syrups, teas, coffee, herbs, spices and washing products that are all free of plastic packaging. You can bring your own container or use one of the paper bags in the shops. In Auckland the shops include:
What you can do: Bring your own containers or use the paper bags and get buying bulk. Paper bags are a great addition to the home compost. There are lots of glass jars in charity shops for storing dry food or accumulate your own from food you’ve bought.
Fact: While China effectively banned receiving recyclables (paper, cardboard and plastic) through the National Sword policy in 2018, New Zealand has solutions for recycling here and offshore.
The materials below are recycled in the following locations:
What you can do: Consider where an item will end up once its primary purpose has finished. The best way to reduce waste is to avoid purchasing new items at the outset.