Today (1 July) marks the start of Plastic Free July, an international movement highlighting the effects of plastic pollution and challenging us to make a plastic-free pledge.
It’s estimated more than 120 million people worldwide took up the Plastic Free challenge last year, and with growing unease over a ‘make, take and throw away’ culture, it’s expected that number will grow in 2019.
Hamilton City Council has partnered with several local businesses, including waste minimisation experts Mainstream Green and various cafés around the city, to encourage the use of reusable and sustainable products during Plastic Free July.
Trent Fowles, the Council’s Compliance Manager, says participating in the month-long challenge is a way for people to make achievable changes in their everyday lives.
“As a Council, we need to lead by example and we also need to be committed to making a difference in the community, but we can’t do it alone,” says Mr Fowles.
“Single-use plastic has adverse, long-term effects on the environment. It’s important we get the message out there about sustainable and reusable alternatives on offer.
“Taking your keep cup to the café, saying no to plastic straws, refilling a reusable water bottle – these all add up to making a substantial difference to the community and our landfills.”
Mr Fowles says it’s great several local businesses are supporting Plastic Free July alongside Council.
“Together with Mainstream Green, we have partnered with more than 10 local cafés – a fantastic selection right across the city.
“There will be a number of giveaways funded through the Council’s Waste Minimisation Fund at each of the cafés, including limited edition keep cups, reusable drink bottles and lunchboxes illustrated by local artist Ali Selliman from The Underwater Collective.”
Plastic Free July also coincides with the Government-led initiative to ban plastic shopping bags from 1 July when new regulations come into force. The ban applies to all lightweight plastic carry bags commonly used by retail outlets.
Today also marks the 12-month countdown to the Council’s new kerbside waste and recycling service, which will include a 120-litre (L) rubbish wheeled bin, a 240L recycling wheeled bin, a 45L crate for glass recycling and a 20-30L food scrap bin.