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Plastic-free July

25 September 2023

Any time is a great time to join the plastic-free movement! Learn more about plastic-free July at UC, including opportunities to learn new skills, make low-waste products, and give back to the community. 


In PFJ 2023 we offered four practical, free and fun opportunities to participate in the PFJ Challenge, alongside social media challenges. UC Staff had an opportunity to volunteer for a day with a rubbish clean-up at Te Rauakaaka Nature Reserve. We collaborated with Te Rua Makerspace to host two DIY beeswax wrap workshops and a tote bag making workshop for students and staff. Watch the video recap above to see how UC embraced Plastic Free July.

Although July has passed, any time is a great time to join the plastic-free movement! Check our website and socials for other opportunities to learn new skills, make low-waste products and give back to the community.


Get Involved

Take action! Ditch those plastic produce and shopping bags; say no to plastic straws; take a reusable coffee cup, takeaway container or water bottle with you when you’re out and about, and join the Plastic Free July Challenge with us!

Plastic Free July is here to empower individuals, communities, and businesses to choose to refuse single-use plastics in their lives. It encourages and helps millions of people to take simple, daily actions to create long-lasting habits to minimise single-use plastic waste. It’s a personal challenge that’s part of a global effort for our oceans, for cleaner streets, and for the planet.

This challenge can be done at your hall, flat, home and even at work. Check out our news, research highlights, events and activities and see how UC is encouraging our community to take action.


See the latest news and stories from the University's teaching, learning, research and other activities on reducing plastics and micro-plastics.


See events and activities happening on campus designed to inspire you on your plastic-free journey.

Take the Challenge

Join 100+ million people around the world in a movement for cleaner streets, oceans and communities. Sign up today!

Get social

Follow our Sustainability Office social media to take part in giveaways and inspiration during the month of July.


Microplastics research in Aotearoa New Zealand originated at the University of Canterbury. For Plastic Free July 2021, we sat down with UC’s leading microplastics researchers, Professor Sally Gaw and Dr Laura Revell to discuss the impact microplastics can have and are having on our environment, and what could happen if we don’t act now.


Campus waste planning

Plastic Free July is also an opportunity for our community to engage with UC's five waste reduction targets, designed to reduce waste to landfill and improve recycling and organic material diversion. Our most recent waste audit showed:

  • We are only diverting two thirds of recycling by weight.
  • Organics are making up one third of landfill, with a further 15% being ‘compostable packaging’ items that could have easily been diverted.
  • 78% of compostable packaging is being disposed of to landfill rather than to the compostable packaging bins.

We need your help to achieve UC’s waste reduction targets! Learn more about these targets in our most recent Waste Plan 2022 - 2030.

UC Waste Plan 2022-2030

Download (application/pdf, 1 MB)

Waste Audit Results

Download (application/pdf, 1 MB)
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