Living a life without plastic

Otumoetai College students Rachael Carter, Amelia Wards, Imogen Lowe and Amy McAulay with some of the plastic alternatives they promote on their website. Photo: Nikki South.

If you’ve already ditched the plastic bags and want to look for other ways to reduce the plastic in your life, a group of Otumoetai College students have come up with some solutions.

Amelia Wards, Amy McAulay, Imogen Lowe and Rachael Carter have set up a website called ‘Plastic Alternatives’, billed as “everything you need to live a plastic-free life”.

The eco-conscious 14-year-olds designed and set up the website as part of a school social studies assignment.

“It was about making an impact on the world in regards to sustainability, so we decided to make a website,” says Amy.

“We looked at different products in the home, such as water bottles, buying goods in bulk and websites in other countries where people are not making any plastic rubbish at all.”

Over nine weeks, the girls’ travelled around Tauranga looking for local businesses that offered alternatives to plastic products, and those that use little or no plastic packaging.

They found plastic alternatives for the bathroom and kitchen, alternatives for plastic shopping bags, and ways to travel without plastic, such as using plastic-free drink bottles and reusable coffee cups.

They’ve also included links to recipes for plastic alternatives, such as home-made toothpaste and soap, and cleaning products.

Local businesses on the path to being plastic-free are given a mention, and there are links to local events promoting the plastic-free message.

“There are a lot more opportunities to be plastic-free in Tauranga than we realised when we started this,” says Amy.

The girls have taken the plastic-free message on board themselves as a result of their research, moving to beeswax sandwich wraps and cloth lunch bags and doing away with plastic bin liners.

“I think we’ve learned that any little thing we do can make a difference,” says Amy. “Even if you change one habit, you might stop some plastic going into the ocean.”

To see what you can do to reduce the plastic in your life visit: