“This is the first time ever that the games have planned to be totally free of single-use plastics. We’re donating 6,000 Zerobags, so it’s pretty huge for us!”
The bags will be given out to athletes and other attendees from the 22 countries competing.
The partnership has a mutual benefit – the bags had failed the company’s quality control process due to a minor construction flaw in the pocket length, so by accepting the donation, the Pacific Games organisers have helped Zerobag maintain their Zero waste policy in house and the games is a step closer to being the first ever plastic-free event.
Kerry Logistics have also kindly offered to join the cause, freighting the bags free of charge to Samoa for the event. The Environmental Minister in Samoa is arranging for goods to be received for the event free of any taxes or duty, so this can be a full charitable donation at no cost to anyone.
The Pacific Islands have a big goal to be less reliant on single-use plastic. The organisers of the Pacific Games have been bold in their vision to go plastic-free for the first time ever, and they are installing a whole range of initiatives to achieve this.
As Aaron points out, “All of their ideas are really simple, interesting and admirable. Many other events could learn from this what these guys are doing.”
“We’re thrilled to able to provide their plastic single-use bag alternative with Zerobag.”
If you haven’t discovered Zerobags yet, you’re missing out! We reckon they’re a great part of your reusable bag arsenal. The clever little bag folds away into itself and is the size of a mobile phone – perfect for throwing in your pocket. They’re extra strong, so they’re ideal for those heavier loads. In fact, you’re more limited by what you can physically carry than what the bag can handle.
The original Zerobag is made from upcycled parachutes and the Zerobag 2.0 is constructed with certified 100% rPET fabric made from recycled plastic bottles.
We’re about to take a big step forward in the mission to solve plastic pollution in New Zealand. The nationwide ban on plastic bags officially comes in to force on 1 July. As excited as we are about this, we’re also really aware this change will be difficult for some people and some businesses to come to terms with.
For many of us, plastic bags have been in our lives since birth. We were taught to turn up to a store with nothing but our wallets, and leave with our purchases in free plastic carry bags. Sometimes just one item per bag, or even multiple bags for one item!
We didn’t question it. This is what everyone else did. We learnt from watching others in our community and it became part of our culture.
And then finally, someone started to question the intelligence of the uncontrolled handout of shopping bags – to be used for mere minutes – that were made from a material that doesn’t biodegrade and doesn’t return to the circle of life. If it doesn’t break down, what happens to it?
As hard as it is to learn that we have all contributed to this crisis, the good news is we now know how to solve it.
And removing plastic bags out of our economy is a big part of this – with such an easy solution: always take a bag shopping!
The hard part is learning new habits, and unlearning the old ones.
Let’s all remember that none of us made the transition to reusable bags overnight. We’ve all been through the various stages of carrying shopping in our arms and pockets, dropping things on the ground, or having to go back to the car while at the checkout. It takes practice to teach yourself a new behaviour – and to make it a habit.
So for those of you who are already in the habit of taking your own bag shopping (most of the time!) we ask that you help those who are just starting their journey. Remember what it was like for you, show those people a healthy dose of empathy, and share with them with the tips and tricks that helped you remember.
And we also ask you to be understanding and supportive of those businesses who need to transition. The best thing you can do is to always take a bag shopping, but there will be businesses around New Zealand, especially smaller family-run businesses, who will find it really difficult, or who may be completely unaware of the new laws. So support your local stores by taking a bag and if necessary, gently let them know about the ban and inform them they are liable to fines of up to $100,000 for breaking the law. For all the information on the new plastic bag laws follow this link.
Download our free posters
We’re really keen to do our bit to help Kiwi businesses make the transition as smoothly as possible, so we’ve put together these artworks. They’re FREE for anyone to download (A4 and A5), print and display.
We’ve all got used to taking our reusable bags to the shop, but how about that collection of single-use plastic bags we still have stashed in the kitchen drawer? The ban on disposable shopping bags starts on 1 July, so check out our simple alternatives for the other common single-use bags in your life: produce bags, bin liners and dog poo bags.
Produce bags for your fruit and vegetables will still be given away in supermarkets. Here are some tips to rid your life of plastic produce bags forever:
Do you even need a bag? Single items such as broccoli or a banana bunch can go straight in the trolley.
Pop your fruit and veggies straight into one of your reusable shopping bags already in the trolley.
Smaller netting or fabric drawstring bags can be washed and re-used. Just remember to pop them back in the car once the fruit and vege is unpacked.
Avoid the pre-packaged produce and pick your own nude carrots and potatoes from the shelf. This way you take only what you need and avoid creating food waste too. Make sure you give all your fruit and veg a wash when you get home.
Reuse your old rolled oats bag or bread bag. They may still be plastic, but if you already have them you may as well reuse them as many times as possible before throwing them out.
With no more shopping bags to line our rubbish bins, some people are spending money on buying plastic bin liners. Eeek! Decide whether you really need a bin liner at all (the answer is probably no!). The key to living without plastic bin liners is separating your wet food scraps from your other rubbish. The remainder of the rubbish in your kitchen bin will be dry and non-smelly. You can separate your wet food waste by:
putting it in the kerbside food scraps collection if you have one
arranging a private collection if the service is available in your area
using an old chip packet or bread bag to collect food scraps in separately before adding to your wheelie bin outside
collecting food scraps in a container on your bench, wrapping it up on newspaper and adding it to the wheelie bin on rubbish day.
Tip: If you have space, store your food scraps in the freezer or fridge so they don’t smell.
Once you’ve separated out your food waste, you can either:
go bag free completely and just wash out your bin when you empty it, or
make your own bin liner out of old newspapers. You can use the origami method of paper folding or grab a glue stick.
Other useful tips
For your bathroom rubbish bin, empty it out just before a shower, then wash it out while you wait for the water to heat up.
Oil and fat: pour into an empty glass jar and store it for next time, or use the solidified fat to make a bird feeder, or place the hardened fat into the chip bag of your foodscraps to be placed in your wheelie bin on collection day.
Dog poo bags
Under the new plastic bag phase-out, dog poo bags will still be sold. But it is possible to go dog poo bag free!
To deal with dog poo you need something to pick it up with and something to carry it home in.
Collect poo using old tongs, a shovel, pooper-scooper or make your own out of an old bottle.
Cut cardboard cereal boxes in half and use them as compostable single-use scoops.
Use a glass jar or reusable small plastic container (you can use the lid as a scoop) or wrap the dog poo in old newspaper or in a pre-used bag. If using a container make sure to wash it thoroughly in hot soapy water after each use.
If you are up for composting dog poo, great advice on how to compost dog poo can be found here.
So take the Plastic Free July challenge and #choosetorefuse all these bags this July!
We’ve got some bad news folks. The
nationwide soft plastics recycling scheme has been suspended. We suspect in the
past few weeks many of you have already turned up to your local collection bin
with your dutifully cleaned and separated soft plastics, only to find the bin
no longer there!
reason is the same one that plagues all plastic recycling. It just hasn’t been
viable. Our soft plastic was getting transported to Australia where there’s a
company that has the specialised equipment to recycle it and produce plastic
bollards, picnic tables, bench chairs and other similar items. However, there
was so much soft plastic coming in and nowhere near enough of these items being
purchased. Supply massively outweighed demand.
pressure was added with China deciding to no longer be the dumping ground for
the developed world, leaving Australia with much the same challenges as we
It also didn’t help that there were high
levels of “contamination”, meaning that people were putting dirty plastics,
food, and other materials that weren’t soft plastic into the bins.
There is still hope that the scheme can
be revived, but it will almost certainly be provided to a reduced number of
where does this leave us? In a bit of a pickle, to be honest. Our only real option
for now is to put soft plastics in our rubbish bins to be dumped into
Simple. Refuse the plastic in the first place. Turn off the demand. If we don’t have any soft plastics waste, we won’t have to worry about it contaminating our environment, breaking into microplastics and making its way into our food, or staying in a landfill for eternity. If you haven’t already done so, check out our blog post ‘Imagine the headache if there was no soft plastic to recycle?’. And to learn more about the challenges of recycling plastics, check out the Recycle section on our website.
Here are our top tips on how to reduce your use of soft plastics:
won’t believe it… always take a bag shopping.
plastic cling film with reusable beeswax wraps (cheap, and easy to make) to
wrap your sandwiches.
a reusable container to store your leftovers, rather than wrapping in cling
film (or wrap in a beeswax wrap where feasible).
buy produce that comes in plastic.
at stores, butchers, and/or markets where you can refill your own
reusable produce bags for your fruit and veges (look on YouTube for videos
on how to make your own) or simply put your produce straight into your basket,
shopping trolley, or reusable shopping bag.
fruit and veges from a local farmer or delivery service that doesn’t use
your own fruit, vegetables and herbs.
products that come in recyclable materials (cardboard, glass, tin, aluminium),
or compostable packaging if you have access to a compost. (Just check whether
it is home compostable or commercially compostable, as the later won’t compost
in your home compost because it requires high compost heat to biodegrade.)