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July: the month of war on plastic



plastic-612The first day of July marked the official start of a global environmental challenge where consumers worldwide are encouraged to increase their awareness and decrease their usage in regards to the latest scourge of the earth: single use plastics.

Environmental advocate organisation Plastic-Free Mangawhai (PFM) launched the Plastic-free July event locally with a celebration at Mangawhai Tavern on July 1 following the pubs first community Sunday morning street clean-up.

The event was well attended, PFM’s Stephanie Gibson says, the crowd entertained with local band Aloha Corner, and Whangarei’s Delta Keys as well as spot prizes and guest speaker ‘Young Ocean Explorers’ (YOE) creator and underwater cameraman, Steve Hathaway. “It was really great to hear from Steve who talked about the beauty of the ocean in NZ but also how sadly more and more plastic is showing up and affecting sea animals,” Gibson says. “He also mentioned while we are doing more to clean up beaches, we must remember most of the rubbish along the sides of roads often ends up in the ocean from wind or through the drains.

YOE are encouraging every child in NZ to pick up at least one piece of rubbish each day.” Hathaway also stated that people’s efforts in waste control lies on a spectrum, from those who ‘do very little, to the zero waste person’, however everyone is responsible for reducing the plastic in their lives. “We are looking forward to seeing people in the community this month taking up the Plastic free July challenge, maybe it will be replacing a disposable cup for a keep-cup, refusing plastic straws and plastic bags and bringing your own bags.

There will be some spot prizes out there, our team are watching!” PFM now have their own brand of keep-cups sold in cafes locally and the group will also have a stall once again at Mangawhai’s Saturday village market throughout July.

“We are so grateful to Mangawhai Tavern for providing the venue and lovely platters of food for the event. The Tavern team have been doing some amazing transformations with their waste from better recycling, to paper straws to food composting, we are very proud of them!” Gibson says. “Also thank you to the sponsors for the prize giveaways – Te Arai Palm Guy, Aotearoa Surf, Earth Mama and Eco food wraps, and for everyone who attended and who are taking up the challenge of Plastic Free July.”
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