Well, we’ve done it. We’ve come into yet another year, and what a year 2022 was! This will be the first summer in a couple of years where, even though Covid is still out there, it just seems freer out in Aotearoa this summer. The sun is shining, the rain is pouring down on our crops and our beautiful Pohutakawa trees, and it’s time for us all to take a big sigh and rest.
Now that the weather is heating up, it’s a great time to reconnect with family, friends, colleagues, and loved ones. However, many of us travel around the country this time of the year or even take a break to the beach or our favourite local park.
We know that our guides are some of the cleanest kids out there and the leaders and volunteers also stand by that ethos, but we’ve come up with some ways that you can keep New Zealand clean over the next few months.
A lot of us will be going camping this year, so here are a few rules to live by:
Leave no trace.
Taking responsibility for your litter wherever you camp is one of the most important things to do. Many camping places in New Zealand are DOC sites; therefore, not all of them have the resources to get rid of your rubbish. Try taking a spare shopping bag or even a rubbish bag from your home and using that to put all your rubbish in with you while you’re staying at these campsites. Yes, the bag may smell in the car on your way home or to your next stop, but you’ll be able to find a bin in any town you pass.
Pack a reusable drink bottle.
By taking your own reusable drink bottle, you will save on buying single-use plastic bottles. It’s estimated that there are 828 million single-use plastic bottles thrown away annually in New Zealand. Plastic bottles are thrown into landfills, recycling or even just in the ocean and we need to do our best to reduce this, not just for humans but for animals alike. Reusable drink bottles can be purchased at any store, even food supermarkets now, and are cheaper than you think.
Bring your own cutlery.
At many campsites, there are kitchens and places for you to make your Kai and a few bins to throw away your excess rubbish in the process. One thing many people do whilst camping is buy plastic cutlery so they can not care too much about bringing them home. However, by carrying your own metal cutlery, you will reduce single-use plastic the same way as bringing your own water bottle. Plus, if you leave this cutlery in your car for future use, they may come in handy if your car breaks down or if you’re at work one day and there are no knives and forks left for you to use. Who knows, a fork could always come in handy!
For those of us lucky enough to live by a beach, Summer will probably be the time that we will be using it. Kiwis love to go to the beach on a nice hot Summers day, and a lot of you love to go for a nice evening swim…myself included! Here are some things to remember this year at the beach to help keep New Zealand clean:
Carry a reusable bag.
A lot of stuff is taken to the beach, and one of those things is snacks brought along the way or from home. These snacks are usually provided in a chilly bin or in a plastic or paper bag that you have purchased from the supermarket. Single-use bags are hard to throw away, and a lot of the time on beaches, they can be blown away. By bringing your own reusable bag, you are helping to make New Zealand greener.
At a lot of our local beaches, there are public bathrooms to use. Though COVID-19 is not being as talked about at the moment as it has been in the past few years, it is still out there. By taking a bottle of hand sanitiser with you, you can ensure that your hands are always clean and, therefore, the surroundings and public facilities that you touch will not be left with any nasty bacteria that you may have. Keeping Aotearoa clean is also about keeping each other and our immune systems clean.
Get rid of your rubbish at home.
Before coming to the beach, many people will bring a picnic or an array of snacks. One thing that can help keep Aotearoa clean is by preparing any snacks you have bought, like a punnet of strawberries or stickers on your apples or the plastic in which carrots are. By putting them in the bin at home and then putting your food in takeaway containers, you’ll be helping the cause. These takeaway containers will last a long time, and you can bring them back home with you whilst also saving potentially any rubbish packers being flown into the ocean or overfilling the beach bins.
Whatever you do this summer, do your best to keep our beautiful country and scenery clean. We know you love this country as we do, and our guides and volunteers will be more than happy to help you if you have any questions.