It's Plastic Free July and a Hawke's Bay woman is proving that zero waste shopping isn't so daunting as it seems.

Napier-based Jenny Keown believes that New Zealand's recycling system is "broken", but reiterated that the smallest change in attitude can make the world of difference when it comes to plastics.

Both Napier and Hastings' councils have adopted similar policies of recycling only grades 1 and 2 plastics.

Hastings District Council accepts only plastic bottles that are grade 1 and 2 (the grade number can be found on the bottom of the bottle), but all other grade 1 and 2 (cartons etc) along with categories 3 to 7 are tossed into landfill.


Napier City Council is accepting all grades of 1 and 2 plastics, not just the plastic bottles.

Keown says adopting zero waste policies goes beyond simply shopping at a supermarket and Hawke's Bay is full of hidden treasures which can help residents to go plastic free.

"We already know that there's too much waste going into our landfill and given the recycling changes that have occurred, there are very few plastics now that can be recycled, which means more waste is going into our landfills which means they're under strain.

"I think consumers can make some really positive changes as well. We just need to step back and have a look at how we shop.

"I get all my bulk products from Binn Inn or Cornucopia."

When it came to cleaning products, she resorted to vinegar and citrus skins rather than purchasing items off the shelf.

"I've gone back to what our great grandparents did, I add citrus skins to vinegar and let it sit for a couple of weeks. It has a lovely smell and I use that as my overall purpose cleaner."

Keown said a majority of waste which went into landfill was food and recommended compost options instead.

"Most Hawke's Bay residents have backyards, which means it's really easy to have your own compost system, there's also options for those who live in apartments."

While Keown used Ethique shampoo bars to wash her hair, her husband isn't so keen. So instead of buying bottles of shampoo, she simply reuses the bottles, topping up at Eco Kiosk in Napier.

"They've got lovely shampoo in there and I'll just use a shampoo bottle over and over again."

When it comes to zero waste, Keown said it doesn't have to be ominous and recommended one step at a time.

"It's just the little things like leaving your supermarket bags by the door, to taking vegetable bags to the supermarket so you don't need to use the plastic ones. Get creative do your own baking, make your own yoghurt - just by doing one of these things you're making a difference."

For more tips on how to go plastic free, head to Instagram's @one_lady_fighting_plastic or contact Jenny Keown at