New Zealanders consume over 670,000 tonnes of packaging every year, but recycle only about half of it.
Product packaging accounts for 12% of what goes into landfills in New Zealand.
Yet over 95% of us have access to facilities to recycle paper, glass, cans and plastics grades 1 and 2, and 77% of New Zealand councils offer households a kerbside recycling service.
So what can we do to make our lives less packaged?
- Practice ‘pre-cycling’. Think about what you’re about to buy, and if the packaging can’t be recycled, don’t buy it.
- Say ‘no’ to plastic bags; bring your own re-usable ones instead.
- Buy as many items as you can without packaging (like healthy fruit and veges).
- Buy products packaged in cardboard, paper, glass, cans or type 1 and 2 plastics – these can usually be recycled.
- Use reusable elasticised plastic wrap when taking a plate or storing food in the fridge.
- Take your own containers to the butcher – the container can be taken home just as it is, labelled and put in the freezer.
- Buy your meat and fish in plastic bags rather than meat trays. Meat is the same price per kilo at the supermarket counter.
- Lunchboxes with partitions eliminate the need to wrap each item in plastic.
- Buy economy-sized products, concentrates and refills – these give you more product for less packaging.
- Avoid ‘multi’ packs. Instead of using individual serving pottles of yoghurt, buy one litre tubs of yoghurt and place servings into re-useable containers.
- Instead of buying freezer bags, use fruit and vege bags from the supermarket.
- Instead of buying bottles of water, re-use a single bottle and keep it in the fridge.
- Use your consumer power. If your favourite product has too much packaging, tell the manufacturer!
- Recycle, recycle, recycle. Check what grades of plastic your council accepts – Aucklanders can now recycle grades 1-7.