on Jun 30, 23

31 days to create a plastic free habit

By Olivia Fraser - Hi, I’m Olivia, mum of three, writer, musician and educator. I’d describe myself as a responsible global citizen. I correctly sort and recycle our family’s cardboard, glass and plastic each week. I turn the tap off while brushing my teeth, I have managed to integrate a keep cup into my coffee habit; on the whole, I like to think I do my bit in ‘thinking green’ for the planet. 

But I do have a habit…

A plastic habit. 

In fact, it's easy to see that it is a world wide addiction. Since the discovery of plastic and its rise in popularity in the 1950’s, those sneaky polymers have integrated themselves into every aspect of our daily lives. In many ways plastics revolutionised the world! Plastic products and more importantly plastic waste are also changing the world, and not for the best. 

Changing and challenging habits of a lifetime is a difficult thing to accomplish. Anyone who has tried to give up smoking, stick to a diet or start a new year’s gym resolution can attest to that. Oftentimes, changing habits is near impossible until change is uncomfortably forced upon us. 

Who remembers the shock of the NZ Government’s ban on supermarket plastic bags in 2019? (Feels like a lifetime ago doesn’t it?) Overnight, shoppers were forced to develop a new habit of remembering their reusable bags!

But remember we did. Reusable bags are now stashed in car boots, by the front door, by the back door and are tucked in handbags, ready to leap into action whenever needed. We just needed the push to develop the habit. 

Last week I was rushing as usual through my supermarket shopping. Heading into the produce dept to stock up the fruit bowl, I reached automatically for the plastic produce bag on its stand. The stand was empty. ‘Hmph’ I thought to myself and spotted the accompanying sign, 

'Goodbye single use plastic produce bags, hello reusables!’ 

‘Bother’ I thought to myself, an image of my pristine, never-before-been-used freebie string produce bags at home in the bottom of the pantry flashed into my mind. Searching further afield, near the back, almost through the other side of the produce dept was one, full, plastic bag stand. Success! I scuttled off and hurriedly collected my produce. 

I forgot all about this incident until this week. 


‘Bother’ I thought to myself … reading the sign again The government has given us another push… plastic produce bags are to be phased out. Changing our habits once again. 

Plastic Free July is a global movement to encourage people to engage with their plastic habits with the aim of reducing the use of plastics. 

As uncomfortable and difficult changing habits are, this is a habit we can help to break. Whether it's putting out the reusable produce bags ALONG with the shopping bags, choosing to purchase from companies who offer plastic free alternatives or reassessing and reducing our accidental plastic consumerism. There are steps we can take to move closer to a plastic free world. 

Habits…They say it takes 40 days to make a new habit. Plastic Free July has given us 31 to figure it out. 

I’d better go and find those string produce bags. I’ve got a new habit to create. 


What new habits could you create for Plastic Free July? 

How about  … 

  • Saying no to plastic take-out containers and cutlery; and instead carrying your own
  • Saying no to single-use coffee cups (even if they’re compostable, they often have plastic lids). Carry a keep cup or sit down and enjoy!
  • Visiting a refillery to top up your own bottles and jars of household cleaning products and grocery items
  • Replacing your plastic toothbrush with a bamboo one
  • Opting for plastic free gift giving through The Good Registry
  • Buying less! Commit to quality over quantity :)

* The photo shows me with my son Elliot, who will be helping me remember to take reusable produce bags!

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