Rachel Rose is never going to buy sushi in a plastic container again.

It's one of the ways she'll stop contributing toward plastic waste. She gave a workshop titled Freeing Food from Plastic on July 11, and gives another one at 3pm on July 21 at the Whanganui Women's Network in 75 St Hill St.

There are three reasons to cut down on non-essential use of plastic, Rose says.

First, it's bad for the planet. Second, it's bad for creatures, especially sea creatures that eat it. Third, it's bad for people.


She's been researching about plastic additives that are endocrine disrupters and leach out over time.

Their health effects make it worth decanting food from plastic containers and putting it into glass, pottery or metal containers.

There are plenty of glass jars to be had at the Whanganui Environment Web, she said.

There's not much plastic in Rachel Rose's pantry. Photo / supplied
There's not much plastic in Rachel Rose's pantry. Photo / supplied

She didn't bother to talk about recycling at the workshop, because there is already too much plastic waiting for recycling.

It's better to start at a more basic level, she said, with refusing plastic items, or reusing them.

Any changes people make will probably cost in either money or time. Most people have one of those, she said.

There are easy changes, such as cleaning rubbish bins instead of lining them with a plastic bag. She doesn't have cling film in the house, and finds other ways to keep food fresh.

"It's like chocolate. If it isn't here, I can't eat it."

She carries filtered water from home in a steel bottle, rather than buying plastic drink bottles. If she wants sushi she'll eat it in the shop instead of taking it away.

If she goes to a supermarket she takes a cardboard box, weighs fruit and vegetables into it, and keeps and scans the stickers. She carries folding shopping bags in her handbag.

There are changes that are harder to make. Margarine and cheese are hard to buy without plastic packaging. So is meat.

"My meat solution is called Merv Roebuck, at the Whanganui East butcher's shop. As far as I can tell he's the last butcher of his type still standing."

Rose takes her own glass container to the butcher shop, and buys milk in glass bottles from the Mooijs' Okoia farm.

A lot of her shopping is done at the Whanganui River Markets, and she's changing her food habits to eat what is in season.

"Reducing plastic is just a nice benefit on the side," she said.

Eating seasonally also means she does less preserving, fermenting and dehydrating - and she's now planning to make her own cheese.

People getting out their cloth bags in the supermarket may worry people will think they are "virtue signalling", she said, but they should ignore that.

"This is how we first learn. We copy the adults around us."

She's is hoping some of those who come to her next workshop will be just venturing into waste reduction.

"We just need to start, start right where we are," she said.