Single-use plastic permeates our day-to-day lives.

A friend of mine recently announced she was taking up a challenge to use no single-use plastic bags for a week.

At first, the goal seemed a bit weak. Only a week? Surely that would be easy?

I'm one of those people who carry around a reusable bag. It's a lovely handmade bag made of cast off floral fabric, so it packs down small and is super light.


When making a quick dash to the supermarket, I often pull it out, feeling quietly chuffed at myself for saving a plastic bag.

After my friend set this goal for herself, I wondered if cutting out plastic was something I could do. The next visit to the supermarket proved just how hard that would be.

No single-use plastic eliminates the little fruit and veg bags in the produce section, meat packs, bags of chips and bikkies, frozen veggies... The list is seemingly endless.

I came away with a newfound respect for my friend's one-week resolution, and a mountain of guilt for my inability to ditch plastic.

More and more companies are realising the tide is turning, particularly against single-use plastic bags.

It has become very unfashionable to be seen carrying around these bags, despite the bags being only a small portion of the overall amount of single-use plastic lining the supermarket shelves.

New Zealanders use about 1.6 billion plastic bags every year. With an estimated population of 4.8 million, that's around 333 plastic bags we're each using per year.

What's more, the Government says plastic bags make up only 0.2 per cent of waste going to landfills and 10 per cent of plastic waste.

Those numbers can make change seem insurmountable.

But yet, think of those 333 bags. Each one of those bags was unnecessary - we could have used a cardboard box, a reusable bag, a paper bag instead.

Every bag adds up. Every bag saved is a small victory for the environment.

It's a small change we can all endeavour to make.