Images like these are alarmingly easy to find on the internet. The most distressing thing about this picture, if you look closely, is the fact the bird is covered in the down of a chick. Plastic, in many areas of the world, has become a significant and deadly part of the food chain.

Humans have a heavy reliance on the plastics industry; it's a cheap product that is incredibly versatile. Plastics manufacture and use has grown exponentially over the last decade, as has our plastic waste. 225 million tonnes of plastic is produced each year (source: NZ Herald) and unfortunately a significant amount of that ends up in our oceans; the "great Pacific rubbish patch" in the North Pacific gyre is so vast that the floating waste stretches from horizon to horizon. There's no more of a convincing testament to the harm caused to this eco-system than Chris Jordan's upcoming film Midway:message from the gyre (trailer), which documents the tragic effect of plastic consumption on a colony of albatross whose home is near the plasticmass.

It can be easy to despair about the impact humans are having on the planet, but the best fix is to find out what 'good' is happening out there. Search the internet and numerous inspiring initiatives, carried out by wonderfully selfless people, line the search page. I discovered Plastic Free July through the Two Hands Project. This Australian-based initiative challenges people to make single-use-plastic-free purchases for all or part of the month of July. I thought it was such a great idea that it needed to be presented to the Raglan community, and the Whaingaroa Environment Centre, in partnership with A Rocha Aotearoa NZ and Xtreme Zero Waste, supported the running of the challenge. Each participant was asked to acquire sponsorship and all money raised will go to help one of Raglan's endangered sea birds, the Oi or Grey Faced Petrel.

However, in my green-fervour I decided to be a little more ambitious. See Rules and Aims for the 'how and why'.


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  3. Hi, we are starting to go plastic free, we live in Taranaki and we were delighted to find your blog and are reading it to get tips, as there definitely are some items which will be hard to eradicated, our dog for instance only eats Eukanuba, however my husband has had a good idea too that we contact manufacturers asking them if they can possibly provide us with their product in non plastic packaging, or, for instance, going to the supermarket and asking if we can fill paper bags from the "Alison Pantry" bins instead of ziplock bags. Each positive response we will publish. We are not sure whether we will start a facebook page or blog. On another note please refer to the The Ocean Cleanup, an initiative by a young Dutch man who is attempting to pick up the plastic in the gyres. Also wondered what you felt about fish oil capsules, we are elderly and used to take them every day until we realised that plastic is permeating everything in the sea, and therefore must be in the fish oil capsules. My husband contacted two manufacturers to ask if they tested for plastic, they do test for lead and mercury... but they don't test for plastic. Thanks Shelagh AIken

  4. I am heartened to see your commitment to going plastic-free. It is a journey I have just begun. It seems daunting! My entire way of life seems to be governed by plastic, in some form or other. I think my busy life - full time job, mother of two, household, friends and family - lent itself to taking shortcuts to make my life easier. So plastic, take away, mass-produced, quick and easy, stuff, became the norm. I have finally awakened - time for some change.