Tag Archives: Plastic Free July

Plastic Free July: what we learned

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Hey guys! George, Juliet and Poppy here! As part of Plastic Free July, we have been working with UC Sustainability to share with you guys how we have been cutting down on our single use plastics, both on and off campus. You might have seen Poppy’s takeover on the UC Sustainability Instagram (@ucsustain, check it out!), but if you missed it, here’s what we have been up to this month.

The top four single use plastics are plastic bags, cups (coffee cups), plastic straws and plastic cutlery. There has been some progress around UC in terms of providing alternatives for single use plastics which we think is rad, but there is also a lot you can do to help! This can be as simple as buying a bamboo toothbrush (super hip and not expensive – literally $5), bringing your own coffee cup and lunch container to uni, dining in at restaurants/cafes or bringing your own reusable bags to the supermarket.

We have taken it to the next step, by heading out around Christchurch on our bikes in search of a few more ways to reduce the use of single use plastics and save some pennies at the same time!

Our favourite locations for bulk food and household items:

Bin Inn – Stanmore Road, also Lincoln Road and Hawke Street (New Brighton).

What we loved:

  • How strongly they encourage you to bring your own container/jar to reduce costs and eliminate packaging (you’ll never throw away another jam jar again!)
  • Every type of bulk food imaginable i.e. oats, nuts, couscous, rice, pasta, muesli, spices, lentils
  • Even liquids such as oils, honey, molasses, vinegar… on tap!
  • General household items i.e. dishwashing liquid, spray and wipe, laundry powder and dish wash powder (just BYO bottles, and/or tip the liquids into old spray bottles when you’re home)
  • Friendly service – the Bin Inn in New Brighton has a ‘Jar Library’ to help you out if you forget to bring enough jars/containers.

Serious money saver!! Bulk items are always so much cheaper than pre-packaged supermarket 

  • alternatives, plus you also get an extra 5% off if you BYO containers.

See Bin Inn’s videos for handy tips on bulk shopping!

Our favourite thing about Bin Inn was making our own peanut butter, it is cheap! The little jar in the picture was about $2 of peanut butter.

Piko Wholefoods – Corner of Barbadoes Street and Kilmore Street

What we loved:

  • The range of certified organic bulk foods available i.e. rice, lentils and oats – a huge range of gluten free options too
  • Also yummy tea, coffee and breads etc.
  • They are big supporters of Fair Trade products – LOTS of fair trade tea, coffee, sugar, nuts, spices, cold drinks, cocoa and chocolate options! YAY!
  • It’s encouraged to bring your own container/jar for your bulk goods (or they often have spare containers there for you to use!)
  • A wide variety of ingredients/items either wrapped in paper or in packaging that looks like plastic BUT can be composted in your home compost bin!
  • A little more pricey, but a great place to visit for your specialty goods, or yummy treats. Although the maple syrup (buy it on tap) was the cheapest we’ve seen anywhere! Yum!
  • Nice vibe and super friendly people. They also run yoga workshops and classes in the upstairs space!

We hope this helps anyone out there who is trying to be a little more plastic free (and for those already doing it! Go you!). All these little changes do make a huge difference, plus they are fun, and give you a sense of satisfaction to know that you are doing something positive for the planet and your pennies.

Huge thanks to Poppy, Juliet and George for their Plastic Free July inspiration! We think the tip about the peanut butter is awesome, what was your favourite? #plasticfreejuly

This message was bought to you by the UC Sustainability Office.
Stay connected, and be in touch with us! Follow us on Facebook or Instagram, or check out our website for more information about what we do, and upcoming events. Got a question or want to know more? Email us at sustainability@canterbury.ac.nz

BYO cups – save the planet (and your wallet)

It’s Plastic Free July, and the UC Sustainability Office wants to remind you of one of the easiest ways you can ditch single-use plastics in your life this month – by simply remembering to BYO cup for your hot drink!

Not only will you save up to 50c off your hot drink, you’ll be saving the planet, one coffee at a time. We like the sound of that! Don’t forget these discounts apply for the entire year, so if you’re not already, this is a great time to start.

All UCSA cafes offer 50c off your hot drink for a BYO cup, Cafe 101 and Reboot offer 20c off, and Ancestral offers 10% off (this includes their cold drinks, and the discount applies if you BYO container for takeaway food at Ancestral too!)

Plastic Free July is a great time to rethink the way we are using plastic in our every day lives – especially the types of plastic that we use once (sometimes for less than 20 minutes) and then throw away. These types of plastics are what we call ‘single-use’ plastics.  The problem? There is no ‘away’. These single-use plastics often aren’t recycleable, and so sit in landfill, without breaking down.

So this Plastic Free July we challenge you and your friends to ditch using them for good!

Try to quit using the ‘Top 4’, and opt for reusables instead:

  • Single use takeaway coffee cups – switch to a resuable one, or just bring any old mug from home!
  • Plastic bags – switch to reuseables, and carry a light mesh one in your bag so you’re always prepared.
  • Plastic single use drink bottles – find a reusable one, and carry it with you so you’re not caught out.
  • Plastic straws – just say no thanks!

If you want to take the challenge, you can sign up at Plastic Free July. You’ll receive resources and tips and tricks to going plastic free for the month of July, or longer!

No step is too small – let’s all work together to be part of the solution.

Keep your eyes out on campus for new posters advertising the BYO cup discounts, and more ways you can get involved during Plastic Free July.

This message was brought to you by the UC Sustainability Office. Connect with us through Facebook or Instagram. Or email us on: sustainability@canterbury.ac.nz

Heads up: Plastic Free July is just around the corner


A group of UC students are so passionate about reducing plastic waste that they are taking on the Plastic Free July challenge!

Plastic Free July is a worldwide charitable foundation that aims to raise awareness of the problems, dangers and amount of single-use disposable plastic in our lives, as well as challenges people to do something about it. Every year for the month of July, they challenge consumers to rethink their plastic consumption habits, and encourage us to use alternatives – think reusable coffee cups instead of single-use takeaway cups, and reusable bags over plastic ones.

If you aren’t already trying to minimise single use plastics in your life, this Plastic Free July is a great place to start! You can do the challenge for a day, a week or the whole month. You can try to refuse all single-use plastic or try ‘just’ the top 4: plastic bags, water bottles, takeaway coffee cups and straws.

So, what are we doing about raising awareness at UC? The Sustainability Office currently has nine wonderful Eco Volunteers who are going to be sharing some of their experiences and challenges during Plastic Free July!

Poppy, Juliet and George are planning to explore Christchurch and let us know their favourite spots for zero waste grocery shopping and other essentials. They also promise there will be lots of coffee involved (in reusable cups of course), so prepare for some café chat too!

Emily and Helena will also be blogging. Their focus is BYO (bring your own) reusable cups and containers. In what looks to be an eating and drinking crawl of Christchurch, Emily and Helena will be checking out where you can take your own containers for takeaway food and drinks, and where you can’t!

Finally: Jess, Jessica, Varvara and Helena are holding a DIY Zero Waste Essentials Workshop on Tuesday 24 July, from 12pm – 2pm in Undercroft 101. They will be showing off their sewing and DIY skills, and teaching you how to make your own produce bags, beeswax wraps (plastic wrap is out!) and even face and body scrubs. And the best part – you get to take what you make home!

Keep your eyes on our Facebook page for the month of July for all the event information, and tips and tricks from our volunteers on going plastic free for the month (or, longer).

Are you keen to take on the Plastic Free July challenge too? You don’t have to go all out! You can choose to do it for a day, week or the whole month. Have a look on the website for ideas on how to get started (and no, you don’t need to sign up)!

If you’re interested in being involved in sharing your experiences during Plastic Free July, please contact the UC Sustainability Office, they would love to hear from you!

This message was brought to you by the UC Sustainability Office. Connect with us through Facebook or Instagram. Or email us: sustainability@canterbury.ac.nz