Start small to reduce plastic waste

"Every little bit makes a difference…" 

That's the advice from Boya resident Gerry Lavell this Plastic Free July.

The self-described recycling enthusiast is on a mission to be the "perfect recycler" and says reducing and recycling your plastic waste is easier than you think.

Plastic Free July is a global movement that helps millions of people be part of the solution to plastic pollution. Gerry says that by adopting a few simple changes, we can all reduce or reuse plastic in our homes. 

His tips include:

  1. Instead of grabbing a new barrier bag each time you buy fruit and veg, reuse any you have at home or choose not to use them at all.

  2. Take a 'keep cup' with you for your takeaway tea or coffee and enjoy the discount that some cafes offer for bringing your own cup!

  3. Refuse disposable containers at takeaway places. Gerry brings his own plastic plate and asks that his food be placed on that. A quick wash and it is returned to his backpack for next time. He also carries stainless steel drinking straws.

  4. Carry bread bags with you if you are buying fresh bread. They can be used over and over again.

  5. Locate your nearest RED Cycle drop-off point and learn exactly what you can put in it. They are found outside many supermarkets. Gerry says most 'scrunchable' plastic can be added to RED Cycle. Think beyond generic plastic bags to sweet wrappers and the shrink wrap on the outside of many boxed products (like tea bags or tablet boxes). Even the green polypropylene shopping bags can be recycled once they are no longer useable. Gerry estimates that the contents of his rubbish bin reduced by about 80 per cent after he started adding everything he could to RED Cycle. In fact, when he put his general waste bin out for collection earlier this year it was the first time it had been filled in three years!

  6. Finally, never be afraid to ask if a retailer offers plastic-free alternatives. You may be surprised by your options!


Gerry says those keen to learn more should do their research. "Don't be afraid to start small," he adds. "There is a lot of information out there to help get you started."

To learn more about Plastic Free July and find your nearest RED Cycle centre visit or

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