Plastic Free July Aotearoa returned this year, and called on all New Zealanders to join forces in the fight against plastic pollution. Plastic Free July is encouraging individuals, businesses, schools, and community groups across the country to embrace sustainable alternatives and make a lasting impact on the environment by taking simple steps towards reducing single-use plastics.

Former teacher turned eco-warrior Juliet Dale led this year’s efforts as campaign facilitator and spokesperson. Dale says she was spurred into action five years ago when “a video of plastic pollution in the ocean popped up in my feed that I just couldn’t get out of my head, so we decided to stop turning a blind eye to the amount of waste we were producing. We started making small sustainable changes in our life, which added up to make a huge difference. In fact, as a family of five we now only produce one wheelie bin of rubbish per year.”

Since then, Dale has set up The Great Eco Journey, a sustainability education service and is now leading the charge for a plastic free future.

With the support of ecostore, Plastic Free July Aotearoa emphasises the power of simple changes. “It’s not about achieving complete plastic-free status,” says Dale “It’s about discovering plastic-free alternatives and making mindful choices which is why we’re stoked to have ecostore onboard this year.”

Ecostore’s Romain Mereau, who led the company’s campaign for a B Corp certification, says they are really proud to support this year’s efforts. “Plastic Free July is all about making incremental improvements to the way we do things, and that’s true for us at ecostore,” says Mereau. “Whether that’s a new product, process or packaging material, we are always looking at what we can do better as an organisation to lead change.”

Kathryn Avery, senior brand manager for ecostore sustainability, highlights the impact of those changes saying, “In 2020 we launched hair care bars and so far, we’ve saved 322,600 plastic shampoo bottles from being made, plus our 50ml cleaner concentrates have saved 187,500 plastic spray bottles… if you stacked them up, that’s enough bottles to cross the Cook Straight five times.”