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T-shirt tote bags, Kata Kapu and Jar Undies in Plastic Free July

Saturday 10 July 2021 | Written by Te Ipukarea Society | Published in Editorials, Opinion

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T-shirt tote bags, Kata Kapu and Jar Undies in Plastic Free July
Staff at Love Cafe displaying the Kata Kapu - Free Keep Cup jars for coffees. 21070904

Already we are a third of the way into Plastic Free July and it is great to see so many activities happening around Rarotonga, writes Te Ipukarea Society.

The overall message of Plastic Free July is that every small effort counts. When you begin to make changes, they start to become a habit. Everywhere we look now we are seeing people carrying their reusable water bottles. The next thing might be remembering to bring your own washable straw, cutlery or takeaway containers.

Every day in the month of July Te Ipukarea Society is sharing ideas on some small changes you can make to reduce plastic in your life, from simple swaps to recipes for zero waste cleaning products. You can check out these ‘Hot Tips’ on Facebook and Instagram if you need some inspiration.

There is a lot happening around Rarotonga for Plastic Free July. Yesterday we were at Apii Takitumu chatting to the middle syndicate students. They are studying Ridge to Reef and their main focus is waste, in particular plastics. The students are trying to find create ways of reducing the need for plastic shopping bags by turning old T-shirts into tote bags.

At the Punanga Nui markets is the new Rent-A-Plate initiative where you can get a reusable plate, cup and cutlery for a small donation and return them to be washed. Even though there are a lot of fantastic biodegradable containers now, there is unfortunately still a lot of plastic and bio-plastic which can’t be backyard composted in Rarotonga, and so it goes to landfill.

You may have seen our ‘Kata Kapu’ jars at some local cafes around Rarotonga. Perfect for all those times that you forget to bring your washable keep cup for your coffee or hot chocolate. Instead you can grab a free jar to use and reuse it as a travel cup.

You can also take a Kata Kapu heat sleeve to protect your hands from the hot jar. The latest sleeves have been made by June Hosking from upcycled wetsuits which have been sanitised and sewn into what June calls ‘Jar Undies’.  Sunshine Mata George has also been helping figure out how to weave the perfect cup holder for the jars from kikau or pandanus.  We can’t wait to see what he comes up with.

Some of the cafés that currently have the Kata Kapu jars include Love Café, Kai & Co, Boba Tea, and The Café.

Change really can come over a cup of coffee, so please visit and support these cafes.

We are always looking for help if you might like to help sterilise jars or sew heat sleeves. We are also grateful to those who drop off jars, especially size 350ml and up. There is quite a demand for large jars like the tall Nescafe instant coffee jars which are especially good for those giant boba teas and big smoothies!

Another great Plastic Free July initiative is the Ministry of Education’s ‘Trash to Fash’ concept.   Concurrent Teacher Trainees (CTT) have been given the assignment of designing a fashion garment by reusing and upcycling rubbish, subject to strict criteria.

CTT lecturer Sandra Starr says the learning is rich and the problem solving is an invaluable process. Sandra and Kimi Napa are team teaching, with the objective of creating a resource that can support schools future planning for 2022. Perhaps from next year we will see a National Schools Trash to Fashion Competition!

The Trash Innovations will be presented to a closed audience culminating in a Runway Competition. The event will be judged by Sabine Janneck our very own Circle Cooks Ambassador, Terena Koteka-Wiki will represent Te Ipukarea, and Kimi Napa, MoE Arts Advisor.

An awesome end to Plastic Free July!