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Plastic Free July 2019 – how we went

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Plastic Free July 2019 – how we went
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Now that we’ve landed in Spring we are reflecting on our efforts in winter during Plastic Free July and how we went reducing our reliance on single-use plastics at Powershop.

Each year we try to implement initiatives in the office to help reduce our impact on the planet and our dependency on single-use plastics. Last year we introduced reusable straws, chopsticks and containers to reduce our waste at lunchtime. Sure, these initiatives may seem small, but every little bit counts!

This year we ran a Beeswax wrap workshop, invited our business customers KeepCup to speak to us about refusing and reusing single use plastics and we placed ‘borrow bags’ by the lifts to remind staff to take reusable tote bags to the supermarket. Individually these are small things, but they add up when the whole office is working towards a common goal.

The most important thing we discovered is that these initiatives aren’t only for Plastic Free July, they’re the catalyst for conversations and awareness to implement changes year-round.

Our team did a great job reducing their use of single-use plastics, with some team members embracing it wholeheartedly!

A few of our team members documented their experience, so we asked them to give us the low-down:


Rosie

"I already take containers to bulk stores and avoid plastic products, so I came into Plastic Free July thinking “I've got this”. I thought it would be a super easy transition to remove single-use plastics every day. Oh boy, was I wrong.

The biggest challenge I found wasn’t choosing not to buy products with single-use plastic (I already did that), instead, it was realising how much plastic I was given or is included in every day products that I seemingly couldn’t avoid.

Simply buying a block of cheese posed a significant challenge. To find an entire wheel or block in wax took over a week (much to my partner’s dismay). Additionally, things like buying lunch out started to look impossible.

I found the solution to many of these issues to be preparation! For example, I now bring my own containers to the deli or sushi shop, I bring my own water and snacks on planes and I refill my current shampoo bottles at a bulk store. I developed a mind-set to simply refuse plastics when they are being handed to me.

Snack foods were extremely hard to buy without plastic. I tried making my own chocolate or buying chocolate wrapped in cardboard or foil, as well as refusing to buy snacks in single-use plastics.

One of the most challenging areas for me was the bathroom products. I refilled my shampoo bottles at a bulk store, tried hard soap and gave toothpaste tablets a go.

I still forget things occasionally and find myself walking away from buying products because I forgot to bring a container. Ultimately it was a mind-set change and now I have started I can’t imagine going back #plasticfreelife."


Pete

"At home, we switched to biodegradable bin liners for our rubbish going to landfill. Something I have wanted to do for ages! At work when I get takeaway soup, I have been taking my own container."


Nicole

"Since making my beeswax wrap at work I have used it daily. I was a little sceptical to begin with as I thought it may not do the job of plastic wrap, but I have found it’s even better. The colourful fabric is also appealing for the kids to use. We have absolutely no need for plastic wrap in our home now. I just wish I had switched sooner!"


Andrew

"I did the beeswax wrap workshop because it looked like a fun and crafty time, but it was so much more than that! I now use the wraps to wrap mine and my kid's lunches. Doing the workshop also opened my eyes to be more plastic-free and it has not really required a lot of effort. Demonstrating to my kids that they can and should contribute to saving the planet is also a bonus!"


These initiatives are implemented by our Health, Safety, Wellness and Sustainability Team, who often run workshops to challenge the Powershop team to think differently about everyday sustainability.

We understand that a lot of alternative products are more expensive and therefore, may not be accessible to everyone. However, any small changes you can make to reduce single-use plastics makes a difference and if we all work together we can make a huge difference.

For tips about how to reduce your use of single-use plastics head to our blog on going plastic free. For more information about the challenge or for additional tips to reduce plastic use visit the Plastic Free July website.

Related blogs:

Read the “Bio-plastics” blog
Read “The Great Rubbish Debate”
Read the “Plastic Free” blog


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