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Plastic Free July

This month as we have gathered inspiration for plastic free July, a number of wisdom filled quotes have come across our paths. One in particular captured what we hope to promote through this month... 

“If it can't be reduced, reused, repaired, rebuilt, refurbished,
refinished, resold, recycled, or composted, then it should be restricted, re-designed or removed from production.”
- Pete Seeger, Folk Singer & Social Activist


There are some incredible creative plastic free ideas out there, however we have chosen to encourage and promote simple easy changes as we believe these will be the most sustainable in transforming plastic free habits into a plastic free lifestyle. If you'd like to skip straight to the epic products themselves check out our Plastic Free July Product collection here. 

A note: As excited as we are about gravitating towards plastic free products, the plastics ones need to go somewhere right? We wholeheartedly encourage that they do not end up in landfill so for each suggestion we list here, we will also suggest a creative way to repurpose the plastic product you do have.  

1. Plastic free toothpaste and toothbrush! 

This first one is the easiest. Once your current (plastic) toothbrush has reached the end of its teeth brushing life and it looks a little haggard, why not pick up an eco-friendly one. We recommend a bamboo brush or one made out of non GMO cornstarch - all biodegradable, like this one here. Likewise, we applaud you to swap out your plastic toothpaste tube and use a jar one instead, we love the the Nature Body Toothpaste.

Don't throw your old plastic teeth sweeper out! Why not keep it in the cleaning cupboard and use those bristles for cleaning grout in the kitchen or bathroom, cleaning your computer keyboard or pop it in with your paint brushes and use the bristles to splatter speckles or create texture on your next piece of art. 

2. Glass jars and reusable bags. 

Forgot your jar? Don't let that be a barrier for choosing a plastic free reusable! Did you know we have free recycled jars in store for use at any of our bulk bins and re-filleries? Using alternative food storage like jars, bread bags, and veggie bags goes a long way in eliminating unwanted plastic from our everyday lives. 

We understand that it isn't always convenient to bulk buy or refill your containers so here is a quick reminder of packaging that can be recycled in New Zealand. Plastics 1,2 and 5 are the ones that will be properly recycled and not end up across the globe in a poorer nations’ backyard. 

A great film funded by a group of young ocean loving kiwis that details how plastic pollution is damaging our environment whilst showing the real world solutions on how to fix it, is Project Blue, have a look or keep your eyes peeled on our social media for a special Down to Earth viewing.

3. Furoshiki gift wrapping.

Originating from Japan Furoshiki refers to the art or technique in wrapping gifts in cloth and fabric. We love this idea and not just because it looks beautiful but because it eliminates the use of those glossy plastic ribbons and sellotape. So keep those fabric off-cuts and keep your eye on any lovely patterned fabrics at your local op shops, for this is a plastic free hack that is as beautiful as it is practical. 

Did you know that when you order online at Down to Earth Organics your order is wrapped in 100% reused and recycled packaging? 

4. Stainless steel clothing pegs. 

Another simple, environmentally friendly and cost efficient way to reduce plastic is by using stainless steel pegs on the washing line. The best thing about these pegs is that you won’t end up with broken half intact plastic pegs scattering your lawn like unwanted confetti. We stock Caliwoods Reusable steel pegs and since they last a lifetime, it’s definitely a steal (pun intended). 

Talking about washing, have you stumbled upon our Green Goddess Natural laundry powder brand? Tried and tested, we recommend the Bluing Powder and Patehouli Laundry Powder. Did we mention this is also a plastic free brand? 

5. Replace that cheap razor and be a plastic saver!

Thank goodness this one is becoming commonplace. Congratulations if you have already made the change and a big encouragement if you are yet to do so. Plastic razors and their blades contribute significantly to the plastic in our landfills. 

An epic initiative and product we wholeheartedly recommend is the Caliwood Reusable Razor. What we love about this product and the creators is their Razor Blade Return program, you can read about it here. We don't offer this service in store as you simply pop them in the post at your nearest post office shop.

But what to do with those shaving razors you already have? According to Reuseful most blades used in shaving razors are made from stainless steel making them 100% recyclable, but because they are small, sharp and dangerous they can not be put in your curbside recycling bin, they recommend starting a sharp collections jar, which can be recycled once full. Not only will these blades take years to accumulate but they may also come in handy for household oddities like opening letters. Every region is different but in New Plymouth you can drop off your whole plastic shaver to the good folk at The Junction, where they will recycle them for you.

6. An ode to the plastic free coffee cup. 

This one isn't anything new, but deserves a mention as it is one of the BIGGEST contributors to landfills in New Zealand and centres around something the majority of us have a love affair with 

It is estimated that New Zealanders go through 295 million single-use takeaway coffee cups each year with the vast majority of disposable coffee cups used not being able to be recycled – yes, they’re made of paper, but in order to hold liquid, they’re coated in plastic. That means they go straight to the landfill. 

An easy swap idea is to use a reusable cup to get your daily coffee! There are some beautiful reusables available including these handmade ceramic ones we have in-store from West Coast Stoneware, we spent hours choosing our favourite, pop in store to pick out yours. 


So there you have it, our top six easiest plastic free changes, we would love to know yours. Pop over to our social media, leave us a comment or send us an email. 

A Final Edit 

It is important to acknowledge with transparency that although we try our hardest to source products that are all around good for this land and its people, it is a long process. 

All the products in our store have one or another qualities that make us proud to hand them over the counter. Organic, wholefood, social initiatives, locally made, fairtrade sourced or plastic free. Not all of our products however, tick all these boxes. We are continuously on the lookout for ways to improve and play our part in not only a plastic free month but a plastic free life.