Plastic Free July 

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.

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 these targets in our most recent Waste Plan 2022 - 2030.

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

Get Involved 


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 a chance for us to all engage with the University's targets and goals for waste reduction.

Learn more by checking out UC's 2022-2030 Waste Plan and most recent waste audit below.