As we move into the end of July I’ve been looking at my efforts for Plastic Free July and, in reality beyond just plastic. With all the talk of supermarkets giving up plastic bags, and cafes and restaurants ditching the plastic straws, there is clearly more of a swing towards better environmental practice in at least some ways. It’s a real challenge to reduce the amount of single-use plastic in your day-to-day life, with so much of it pushed at you. From plastic bags to plastic wrap and over packaged product, it takes quite some determination to resist it all (and I certainly don’t manage it by a long shot). However I do try to minimise the amount I end up with and am determined year on year to reduce it further.
On a whole other level again there’s the zero waste movement – one which challenges us to consume less, to reject the giveaways (that so often end up in the trash) and to purchase less (how many shoes do I actually need) before you even reach the point of reuse and recycle. So I’m on a personal challenge to better manage my home environment, in particular to reduce the amount of stuff I bring in and to live a less cluttered life. I don’t for one second think I will become an environmental guru – far from it – but I can try and do a lot better than I do right now!
We try and do our bit at the museum as well, with recycling bins in public areas to sort waste and a composting bin in our staff room to manage food waste. In our shop any product we have created we will try and use non-plastic wrapping, such as on our stitchery kits. The glasses we use for theatre events are compostable and we’re always looking for other ways to reduce our waste. The big challenge I can’t seem to find an easy solution to, is the plastic bottled water we sell.
Currently right in the middle of our front foyer is a large crate (made from recycling pallets) for collecting people’s plastic bottles. These are being collected for George Nuku to convert into art for his upcoming exhibition George Nuku: Bottled Ocean 2118. This exhibition looks at our oceans 100 years into the future and imagines a different seascape from what we have today. Using plastic to create his work George also references the proliferation of plastic getting into the ocean – having a devastating effect on our sea creatures and bird life.
So, while we might not be able to personally ‘save the world’ we can certainly help by minimising our part of the problem. Saying no thank you to plastic bags in shops, supermarkets, etc and take your own reusable bags with you. And, if you really want to reduce your impact on the environment, look into the zero waste movement.
Laura Vodanovich – Director, MTG
Published in the Hawke’s Bay Today, 28th July 2018