Alanna Smith: Getting creative with waste

Saturday July 18, 2020 Written by Alanna Smith, Te Ipukarea Society Published in Environment
Prime foods making the swap for brown paper bags, reusable plastic bottle ideas, Manuia Makes bars of soap and entrepreneur Genesis Vaetoru selling stainless steel pegs. 20071753 Prime foods making the swap for brown paper bags, reusable plastic bottle ideas, Manuia Makes bars of soap and entrepreneur Genesis Vaetoru selling stainless steel pegs. 20071753

OPINION: Local businesses have joined hands to support Plastic Free July initiative.

We have officially crossed the half way mark for Plastic Free July, which is a challenge aimed at reducing our single use plastic waste.

To keep up with the Plastic Free July theme, the Ministry of Education and Te Ipukarea Society will be running a hands on creative plastic repurposing competition next week!

Students are challenged to either create something new and useful out of single use plastic waste or create a short documentary or TV ad on how families/businesses/schools can reduce their single use plastic waste.

As well as reusing any plastic waste from home, interested students can also come into Te Ipukarea Society between 9am -4pm on Tuesday, July 21 and/or Wednesday, July 22 to collect some plastic materials to use (plastic bottles, packaging). Hot glue guns and scissors will also be made available at the TIS office (not to take away) for students to use.

There are two age categories for the school holiday competition; a primary 5-12 years old and secondary 13 – 18 years olds, with prizes for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place. Meitaki to our sponsors for coming up with some amazing prize packs: Prime Foods, CITC, Bergman and sons. The competition starts today, July 18 and closes on July 28.

On a day to day basis our lives typically involve the use of plastic products, almost to the point where we don’t even realise we are doing it. From using plastic tooth brushes, to plastic shavers and applying moisturisers out of plastic containers.

With the majority of our day to day products consisting of plastic materials, there is no doubt that making change is difficult. But you can support Plastic Free July without even much effort!   Supporting our local businesses who are taking the initiative to either combat or mitigate the growing issue of plastic waste is a great way to engage in Plastic Free July.

In the health and beauty sector, we have locally owned ‘Manuia Makes’ who sell shampoo bars, body butters, plus coconut and argan hair oil in plastic free packaging. Super neat brand I would highly recommend you checking out online.

‘Paradise Supplies’ and ‘Pak Man’ have been our go to places to get refills for all sorts of cleaning products from fabric softeners, Jif, toilet cleaners, multi-purpose cleaners, body wash and hand wash, shampoo and conditioners.

Coffee stores such as ReefSide Rarotonga have been encouraging the use of jam jars as a reusable coffee cup option, especially good if you forget your cup.  ReefSide, together with other coffee shops such as LBV, the Flying Turtle cafe, Waffle Shack, DRJ’s and Love Café have been giving discounted coffee to those who bring in their reusable cups.

LBV also do these great $5 plastic free lunches during the school period, available for pick up at Avarua Constitution Park and from LBV cafe in Muri.

Young entrepreneur Genesis Vaetoru has been selling stainless steel pegs and reusable shopping bags at the Nikao Market, every Thursday.

Brown paper bags as opposed to plastic bags have always been used by Victoria and Reuben Dearlove for their amazing baked goods.  Prime Foods are also supporting Plastic Free July by providing only brown paper shopping bags at no extra charge.

Alternatively, many locals have reverted back to growing their own veggies. This home-grown practice reduces plastic packing waste, therefore also counting as brownie points towards Plastic Free July.

Home gardens can now speed up their growing process with composting solutions from free horse dung which can be picked up from Turangi Valley. Contact Brynn at KiteSUP for details. Scott’s Farms are also selling $5 bags of chicken poop and the Titikaveka Growers Association behind Papaaroa sell rich compost at $15 a bag.

Contact us at Te Ipukarea Society on 21144 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information on the Plastic Free July creativity competition, or on how to contact the businesses mentioned in this article.

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