We’ve all seen the headlines about the huge environmental problems caused by single-use plastics. Governments and corporations have a responsibility to take action – but what can we do to cut down our personal plastic footprints?

Here’s our 9 top tips:

1. Carry a reusable bottle

Carrying a reusable bottle is a great way to cut your plastic use and save money too. Many public places have refill points.

2. Say no to plastic straws

Plastic straws are bad news for our oceans. Next time you order a drink, think about whether you really need a straw – and if you don’t, just refuse it! You can also ask your local cafe to stop adding straws to drinks as standard and offer paper straws to those who want one.

3.Take a reusable coffee cup

Carry a reusable cup with you – some cafes even offer a small discount if you use your own cup (and if they don’t ask them why not!)

4. Avoid excessive food packaging

Whether it’s making different choices in the supermarket or choosing a different place to shop, we can all try and cut down the plastic we buy. Farm shops tend to use less packaging if there’s one nearby.

5. Use refill stations for detergents

There are some products where it’s difficult to avoid a plastic container (for example washing up liquid or laundry liquid) – the good news is that there are an increasing amount of places where you can refill your old bottles. If you’re in Auckland, the ecostore flagship allows you to refill. There’s also GoodFor – that allow you to purchase refillable containers that you can use each time you shop – eliminating single use packaging. They have a store in Auckland but deliver across the country.

6. Say no to disposable cutlery

We’ve all been there – caught out in a cafe or at a train station when we’ve bought a salad or a yogurt but the only cutlery on offer is plastic! Whilst it’s hard to plan for every opportunity, consider carrying a spoon or fork (or spork!) in your bag or keeping cutlery in your desk at work.

7. Get your milk delivered

While it’s not as common as it used to be, some stores still offer home milk delivery – and many in reusable containers. Consider getting your milk delivered to save on waste.

8. Avoid microbeads

Earlier in 2017, it was announced microbeads would be banned in NZ sooner than expected – in 2018. However until the ban comes into force, there will still be products on the shelves containing them, so keep checking those labels before you buy and avoid products containing polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) and nylon.

9. Carry a reusable shopping bag

Single use plastic bags are a huge part of the problem. In New Zealand alone we user millions of plastic bags each year – and usually each one only for a few minutes.

We’re campaigning to Ban The Bag. Please sign the petition to get this message to the decision makers.

Making just a few small changes can have a big impact on the amount of plastic we use on a day-to-day basis.

Share your top plastic-reducing tips in the comments below! And if you haven’t already – sign the petition!