My first step in reducing plastic

My first step in reducing plastic

Hello, Plastic Free July – we see you there, looking all shiny and inspiring!

In our consumer-goods-saturated world, giving up the plastic is a journey, best taken in stages. Here at Ethique HQ we’re all at various points along the way, but the important thing is that we’ve all started.

Here are some of the first steps we all took towards going plastic-free, along with some handy tips you might find especially helpful this month.


My first step? Swapping single-use grocery shopping bags for reusables. Once you get into the habit of taking a bag, it’s honestly the easiest change you could make. Bonus: those cute prints – something you don’t get on your average supermarket plastic bag. I’ve had one of my grocery bags for nineish years now and still going strong - something a standard plastic bag also can’t say!


Mine was starting realllly simple. I began just by bringing my own stainless steel bottle everywhere. No more plastic water bottles and handy tip, old sauce jars make for great reusable bottles, especially for chilling water in the fridge! I then swapped out disposable cotton pads for a reusable one that I just wash after use – once I got my head around it, I never looked back.

Brianne (CEO & Founder)

Shampoo bars! Browse our range of shampoo bars here.

Janette (aka Brianne’s mum):

I started when Brianne was quite young. Cling film was fairly new to the New Zealand market and everyone thought it was revolutionary and it quickly became the norm. In the early 90s we became more aware of landfills and the damage and poisons that come with them – we also realised that plastic wasn’t ever going to break down. This is when I started looking at our household waste, which had dramatically increased from when I was a child. This is when I first started making the transition from single use to multi-use containers, just as we used to do in my childhood. As a household we also cook most meals from scratch and purchase very few pre-made packaged food items.

non-plastic alternatives



Changing from snap lock bags to containers for storing food and bits and pieces in the fridge was where it all started for me.

Kimberley (me):

Mine was definitely a reusable drink bottle. 😊


I started by asking ‘why’ I wanted to reduce plastic. Once I’d sorted this out, I found that introducing a new habits was pretty easy. I was motivated to stay on track and make positive changes.


Some top tips for starting – and continuing - your plastic-free journey

  1. Educate yourself on why reducing your plastic use is important. For most of us, it’s about the environment - but which part is the biggest motivator? Are you worried about climate change? The turtles? That plastic is ending in our food? Get clear on the reason that resonates most strongly with you, and get clued up on the detail.


  1. Find people and content that inspire you and will keep you on track and excited to make a change. That could be sustainability documentaries on Youtube and Netflix, listening to podcasts, reading books and following social media accounts that are walking the talk. Some of our favourites are Sustainably Vegan, The Girl Gone Green and Shelbizlee. You’ll also find lots of online communities who offer support and guidance, which can be a great way to meet like-minded people who are on a similar journey.


  1. Forgive yourself when you don’t get it 100% right. It’s better to have a million people doing something imperfectly, than a few people doing something perfectly. Therefore it’s important to see that there will be days when you forget that reusable bag, or don’t ask for “no straw” in your drink, or need an emergency bottle of water. If you’re aiming for perfection or comparing yourself to a Pinterest perfect ideal of zero-waste, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and give up altogether. The most important thing is that you are becoming conscious of your plastic use and reduction. Celebrate your small wins and how far you’ve come, and stay motivated. An added bonus is, you never know who else you will inspire around you by your positive efforts.


  1. Take stock of what you have. And I mean really take stock. One common mistake when transitioning to a low-waste lifestyle, ironically, is to generate a lot of waste by throwing out perfectly usable plastics, and replacing them with their non-plastic alternatives. Don’t rush out and buy fancy new mason jars, reusable containers or on-the-go cutlery. You’re likely to already have stuff you can use at home. Use old pickle jars and pack some actual cutlery.
    1. Buy sustainably. When you really, truly need to buy something new, choose the most sustainable option you can. Second-hand is always a great option, and when buying new, choose items that will last for years, made from sustainable materials by businesses who consider the environment (and aren’t just greenwashing!) Because these products generally last much longer, you can afford to spend a bit more on them.


    1. Look at your habits one by one. Take a look in your bin each week and ask yourself how you could have avoided that waste. Then implement one positive new change or habit at a time. Remember, this is a lifestyle change, not a quick fix. When you look back in a year you’ll be surprised at how far you’ve come, and more inspired than ever to continue making a positive impact.

    We’d love to hear what your first steps were in reducing your own plastic use – let us know here on Insta!