Plastic-free living a breeze
Living ‘plastic-free’ for six months has come easier to a Ka¯piti Coast family of six than they thought it would.
‘‘The hardest thing about it is convincing other people that it’s not hard to do. Our grandparents and great-grandparents would have done it,’’ Paeka¯ka¯riki mum Rachel Benefield said.
Benefield and her partner, Albert Ubels, together with their children Luka, Mabel, Rosa and Ngahuia, used to be a typical fam- ily who would buy and recycle plastic items. That was until they attended a zero waste event hosted by Ka¯piti Coast District Council, which changed their way of thinking.
Benefield said they went along mainly to support a friend who was presenting. But the Paeka¯ka¯riki family was so convinced, it made a concerted effort to go plastic-free.
‘‘It really resonated with us and it’s changed our lives – for the better.
‘‘Even the kids are on board with it all, which is fantastic.’’
Previously the family, which also included one dog and two cats, would put out one kerbside collection rubbish bag every week. In the past six months, they have put out only two bags – mostly filled with plastic and other rubbish they had picked up from the local beach and other public areas.
Benefield said they simply follow ‘‘the five Rs’’ strategy of ‘‘refuse, reduce, reuse, re-purpose, recycle’’.
‘‘The only thing with plastic we’ve bought in the past six months was a $3 second-hand yoghurt maker. But most often there is always an alternative to plastic.’’
For example, the family use glass jars and other refillable containers at stores with bulk bins.
‘‘Buying in bulk is more cost efficient too, and we have never been to a store that refused to fill one of our re-useable containers,’’ Benefield said.
They discovered bamboo toothbrushes and now even made their own toothpaste, using coco- nut oil, baking soda and mint essence.
Ubels said plastic recycling was not happening as much or was as effective as people assumed.
‘‘Plastic is everywhere and every piece that any of us have ever used in our entire lives will still be on the planet somewhere, even if it has been recycled.’’
Anyone interested in learning more can visit the family’s Facebook page facebook.com/ PlasticFree-Kapiti.
See PLASTIC BAG BAN, P9