How to reduce your plastic waste in one day

At Ecotricity, we want to help ordinary Kiwis be more environmentally conscious in their day-to-day lives. This isn’t just about using renewable energy, but also about finding other ways to make eco-friendly decisions (and save you money, as well!)


Plastic is one of the biggest problems facing us. Plastic takes thousands of years to biodegrade, and in the meantime, eight million tonnes of the stuff ends up in our oceans every year, and that doesn’t even take into account the greenhouse gas released during the manufacturing process. It hardly takes any time at all to reduce your plastic use and do your part to keep our oceans clean.

Get some canvas shopping bags

Many New Zealand supermarkets have declared their dedication to getting rid of single-use plastic shopping bags. It’s clearly an issue many Kiwis feel passionate about. Get on the canvas shopping bag buzz by keeping a stack of canvas bags in every family vehicle for use when shopping.

Get your caffeine buzz

Over 295 million single-use plastic coffee cups end up in landfill every year in New Zealand, and that doesn’t even take into account other single-use plastic takeaway containers and cups from summer festivals. Most coffee shops offer a discount if you bring your own cup, and there are so many fun choices on the market you’ll easily find one that suits you.


Likewise, bring along your own takeaway containers and metal utensils to avoid using plastic ones. At festivals and events, if there’s an option to return cups for a refund or use a reusable cup, take it and help keep plastic out of the ocean.

Wrap your sandwiches in style

Plastic sandwich wrap cannot be recycled, so if you frequently pack sandwiches for lunch, look for other options. You may be able to bring your sandwich ingredients to work separately and assemble it there, or switch to foil (which can be recycled) or reusable beeswax wraps. These can be particularly good for kids because they come in a range of funky patterns that can help inspire fussy eaters.

All that glitters is not gold

Did you know that glitter is terrible for the environment? It’s make up of tiny, shiny plastic circles that end up in the oceans where fish mistake them as krill and ingest them. In this way, glitter ends up as part of our food chain as we eat those same fish and shellfish. If you need glitter for craft projects or other reasons, there are biodegradable versions on the market.

Put a cork in it.

Did you know that while wine bottles can be recycled, the plastic stoppers or metal screw caps (these contain BFA) can’t? When choosing your evening tipple, look for real corks to make the eco-conscious choice.


These are just a few simple ways you can reduce your plastic intake without much change to your life. What other ways can you think of to reduce, reuse and recycle?

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