A message from Jill Ford - Why I started RefillNZ
When things happen gradually, we don’t always notice the change until it’s too late. Plastic pollution has crept up on us. It’s in everything. From our toys to our cosmetics, our clothes to our drinks, plastic is everywhere. And if it’s not in what we buy, it’s covering it. Our fruits and veggies are being wrapped up to help them last longer and almost everything we order has packaging attached. Plastic pollution is piling up and people have started noticing just how unnecessary it all is. Things have become so cheap that we’ve become a disposable society. It’s become easier to throw things away and buy new rather than to repair or reuse what we already have. Seeing all this pollution piling up, I wanted to make a change to reduce the amount of plastic in my own and others’ lives. Read more.
Get involved in Plastic Free July
Plastic Free July is a global movement helping millions of people be part of the solution to plastic pollution – so we can have cleaner streets, oceans and beautiful communities. It’s a key initiative of the Plastic Free Foundation. Last year, 120 million people across the globe took part in the challenge from 177 countries, and it’s getting great results.
On average people who participate in Plastic Free July:
- Reduce their household waste by 76kg per household per year (7.6%).
- Cut their use of disposable packaging by 28kg per household per year (5.6%)
- Contribute to a total saving of 490 million kg of plastic waste each year!
Take on our Plastic Shop Challenge
Get involved in the RefillNZ Plastic Shop Challenge for Plastic Free July!
Is it possible to do a plastic-free shop at your local supermarket?
1. Post (public) on Facebook or Instagram a photo of your supermarket shopping.
2. Tag @RefillNZ and add #plasticshopchallenge
3. Challenge/tag at least three friends to do the same.
5 simple things you can do to reduce plastic waste
- Take your own containers to your favourite takeaway spots.
- Use your own cup for your morning takeaway coffee.
- Take a reusable water bottle with you when out and about, refill at a RefillNZ station, café, a water fountain or any tap.
- Spread the word - tell people about what you’re doing!
- Wash plastic 1 and 2 containers and put in your kerbside recycling.
Teaming up with Wai Auckland to grow the ‘refillution’
We’ve teamed up with Wai Auckland to encourage cafes, bars, restaurants, libraries and other businesses to sign up as official ‘RefillNZ Stations’, to help supplement Auckland’s 350 public drinking water fountains. This will make it easy for people to access tap water wherever they are.
The Wai Auckland project aims to make tap water the first and easy choice for people, and to displace sugary drinks. Why? To help support good dental and general health.
New Zealanders consume an estimated 221 cans of sugary soft drink per person each year, and nearly one in ten children consume a sugary drink daily. That’s contributing to rotten teeth and other health issues – two in three adults are overweight or obese, and one in three are obese.
For Wai Auckland, Plastic Free July is about encouraging people to choose tap water and reusable water bottles, a move that’s good for their health, good for the planet and good for their wallets.
Together, we’re asking Auckland businesses to do the same. Ultimately, we want to have 1000 RefillNZ Stations across the region, so we’re hoping Plastic Free July will help give us a kick start towards that goal!
Lifeguard encourages pool goers to refill
A Wellington lifeguard is encouraging people to think twice about using single use plastic bottles by encouraging them to refill their bottles instead. Wellington Regional Aquatic Centre (WRAC) lifeguard, Breanna Ward, has put together an educational campaign teaching pool goers about the harmful effects of plastics on the environment.
The campaign will run during Plastic Free July where people will be able to refill their own bottles using water fountains, and buy reusable drink bottles instead of single-use ones when they go to the aquatic centre.
"We hope that by teaching people about the impact plastic has, they’ll make the choice to refill the bottles they already have and stop buying single use plastics. This will help stop plastic waste reaching our oceans and killing our marine life."
"Every time you make the choice to refill, you’re also making the choice to pick plastic out of a whale’s stomach or a sea bird's mouth."
"Going plastic free for a month is great because it encourages people to stop consuming plastics full-stop. It gets people to focus on making a better choice for the environment right from the start and stop us relying so heavily on recycling."
Breanna also teamed up with RefillNZ to help spread the refill message throughout the North Island in March this year.
With her friend Tess they cycled 1500km from Cape Reinga to Wellington. Spoke to 670 students from 13 schools about the harm plastic is causing. And also signed up 27 businesses to become RefillNZ stations to offer free tap water to people.
Trail runner to run in ultra marathon as a plastic bottle
A local trail runner has teamed up with RefillNZ to spread the refill message during Plastic Free July.
Wellington relief teacher, Mina Holder, will dress as a plastic bottle when she runs the WUU2K - a 62km ultra marathon - on July 13, to raise awareness about cutting single-use plastics out of our lives.
“I hope that running as a plastic bottle will start some positive conversations about always carrying a [reusable] bottle with you, and making refilling a habit, instead of buying a new one each time you want a drink,” Mina says.
Mina became more determined to reduce plastic use after seeing the impact on local marine life. “I have a deep love of marine life and I help monitor nesting boxes of our local little blue penguins. I’ve been deeply saddened by how much plastic I have found both in and around the penguins nests”.
“I read recently that one million plastic bottles are sold every minute around the world. Coca cola alone produce enough bottles each year that could wrap around the world 700 times. We need to voice our concerns and ask companies why they’re using so much plastic while taking no responsibility for where their packaging ends up”.
We hope you are inspired to get involved in Plastic Free July and help reduce plastic waste! Find out how you can get involved here.
Jill, Serena & Julia
Join the #refillution