Making a difference - the people of Rotorua are being encouraged to consider how they could do this in terms of plastic and the environment as Plastic Free July takes place.
The Plastic Free July challenge is for people to reduce their plastic use for 31 days, and is a global campaign.
However, even those not taking part in the challenge can learn about ways to live a more sustainable life, to save money, and to be a kaitiaki (guardian) for the land we call home.
Rotorua Lakes Council waste services and sustainability manager Prashant Praveen says Plastic Free July is an international campaign that helps to raise awareness about the plastic waste we create in our everyday lives.
It's also about how we can make small changes to our routines to easily reduce plastic waste and lessen our environmental footprint, Prashant says.
"Being a conscious consumer is an important part of actively reducing your waste output.
"You can have the biggest impact on the amount of waste you generate at the time of purchase."
• Avoid – Choose longer-lasting alternatives to plastic that can be used repeatedly (made of metal or glass), or that can break down more efficiently (such as wood, cotton, or paper).
• Reduce – Use items more efficiently, or use fewer of them and choose products that generate less waste.
• Reuse – Use an item repeatedly, or repurpose it to have a different function.
• Recycle – Check that the item is recyclable before you purchase or use it, and buy only recyclable plastics. In Rotorua, clean and dry plastics numbered 1, 2 and 5 are recyclable through the kerbside collection service.
Prashant says some types of clean plastic waste can be diverted from landfill through recycling, but this relies on having the correct recycling infrastructure available, and manufacturers who want to buy the recycled plastic material.
"While recycling can be an effective way to divert waste from landfill, it can't be solely relied upon as not every plastic item is recyclable."
Rotorua Lakes councillor Fisher Wang says when you look at the waste that ends up in the landfill, and see how much of it could have been recycled, reused or composted, it shows we need to work on being plastic free.
"What we really need to do is reduce our use of single-use plastic.
"I would encourage people to go online and read about the damage that it does to our planet and how to do what we can.
"If everyone does their little part in reducing the use of single-use plastic, it can make a big difference in our district, nationally and globally."
He says although it may seem like just a water bottle or a wrapper, if you multiply it by our city, our country, or even worldwide, you can see how much of an impact everyone reducing plastic use could make.
For more resources and to see the impact the Plastic Free July campaign has on plastic use, go to www.plasticfreejuly.org.
Shops that support zero waste in the Rotorua district are listed at therubbishtrip.co.nz.