How hard is it to convert to a plastic-free lifestyle? Reporter Kiri Gillespie attempts three days without plastic - and trips up within moments.
You'd think someone who works with newspapers every day would be able to make a decent rubbish bag out of one. That's mistake number one.
There were a few more to go as I attempted to live plastic-free for three days. The trick was going cold turkey to identify exactly what kind of role plastic had in my day to day life and to learn what eventually might be my undoing.
It didn't take long.
Within 20 minutes of waking up on Wednesday, I faced my first challenge – how do I brush my teeth without using plastic? I could have bought a bamboo toothbrush and plastic-free paste later that day but I had jobs early on. Plastic it was - and it wasn't even sunrise yet.
Things smoothed out: Using eco soap for the shower, check. Using dishwash powder from an environmentally friendly container, check. Breakfast of porridge from a glass jar, check. So far, so good, until I try to pack my lunch.
Leftover chilli con carne could be taken to work in a bowl with foil on top, but I'm biking. I pick up a plastic storage container. I justify its usage because my husband and I use it regularly. I put it in my bag, alongside a homemade muesli bar wrapped in baking paper.
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Plastic pens were my undoing during the day. I tried to use a pencil instead, but covering a long council meeting with lead and wood just wasn't working. I acquiesced to the sturdy plastic biro. Fail number three.
When I got home to cook dinner, the real weight of the challenge hit. All of our meat is frozen – in plastic. The suggestion to my husband of going vegetarian for a night was received with incredulous horror.
We ended up eating in at the local Indian restaurant, as we couldn't accept the takeaway containers our food would have come in otherwise. The next night we had Burger Fuel. They had environmentally friendly packaging and I couldn't find any meat at the local supermarket that wasn't wrapped in plastic.
However, I did find 28 individual plastic bag rollers in the produce section. The bakery section wasn't much better as nearly everything was bagged in plastic. I bought a loaf of sourdough from the cabinet and bagged it in a brown bag, paying for it with my plastic Eftpos card. It's funny the little plastic things that catch you out. Fail number six. (Fails four and five involved mascara and dishwashing brush.)
During this challenge, my husband joked I couldn't bike to work because of the plastic in my helmet. He likes to think he's funny. He's probably got a point.
He uses plastic bags for everything: gym bag, lunch bag, laundry bag, you name it. He thinks the plastic bag ban taking effect today is ridiculous because he uses "single-use" bags countless times.
Unfortunately for him, I've now learned to make newspaper bin liners from YouTube. Sort of. I ripped the first one and the newspaper print gets soggy with used tea bags.
By the end of day three, I'd used plastic eight times. Some, like my toothbrush, could have been avoided with planning. Others, like my Eftpos card, not so much.
Going fully plastic-free is tough. You need to be organised, prepared and resourceful - something not easily done while going cold turkey. But it's an eye-opener into the mega world of plastic, and definitely worth trying.
Doing his bit
Nathan Pettigrew does his bit for the environment by saying no to plastic bags at the supermarket.
The Tauranga kayaker and eager marine conservationist makes sure to use reusable bags instead.
"Sometimes I have unwrapped things and taken the item without the plastic, only using that for them to scan the barcode," he said.
"If I am in a place where I can purchase something and I am by the counter and I can give the plastic back, I will."
Pettigrew also conducts many river and beach clean-ups across the region to help save the marine life from plastic floating in the water.
Mount woman Michelle Meyrick tries to live a plastic-free life as much as she can.
"I have made beeswax wraps to use instead of plastic wrap," Meyrick, 28, said.
Tauranga's Envirohub has launched The Seven Sinners. In it, they identify plastic bottles, plastic straws, cigarettes, plastic toothbrushes, plastic bags, cling wrap and takeaway coffee cups as items people can live without.
Envirohub's Liesel Carnie said the team knew it could be hard for people to try living completely plastic-free "but with these things, we know they can easily be swapped for alternative options".
Tips for plastic-free living
• Buy food staples such as rice, flour and cereals at bulk food outlets such as Bin Inn
• Use shampoo bars instead of bottles.
• Use hemp or cotton produce bags.
• Use a reusable glass coffee cup.
• Use your own containers to take to supermarkets and butchers listed on The Rubbish Trip website.