Get involved in Plastic Free July and win 01 July 2019 We're supporting the global Plastic Free July movement, which encourages us all to become more aware of just how much plastic we use, and how we can reduce and recycle. The initiative is focused on making the world cleaner and greener for future generations – currently it’s trending in the opposite direction. That means saying no to things that we often use once then throw away such as plastic bags, takeaway containers and coffee cups, straws, drink bottles and unnecessary packaging. "And every little bit helps, which is why we on the Coromandel can contribute in our own way to making a difference," says Thames-Coromandel District Mayor Sandra Goudie. While a lot gets recycled and repurposed through our Council’s Kerbside collection, or initiatives like the Thames Seagull Centre Goldmine in Coromandel Town and Menz Sheds in Paunaui and Whitianga, a large amount still ends up in our landfills and natural environments. Our Council has a responsibility to manage waste through our Joint Waste Management and Minimisation Plan, working with Hauraki and Matamata-Piako district councils. This Plan describes how we currently manage our waste in all three districts, looks at suggestions on how our communities should manage our waste in the future, and what we can all do in our communities to make this happen. The Plan's vision is to minimise waste to landfill and maximise community benefit. Goals include actively promoting waste reduction, working together to optimise opportunities, and managing waste services in the most cost-effective manner. Targets include reducing the average amount of waste each person in the three districts sends to landfill from 499kg to 276kg by 2022. The Plan was adopted in 2012 and reviewed again in 2017 (with public input). tcdc.govt.nz/wmmp. “We also know as a Council we can be doing more," says Mayor Sandra. "We know our blue Kerbside collection bags are plastic, so we're currently exploring other options about how they can be replaced or phased out over time, while still keeping costs at a level ratepayers can afford. In the meantime, we're raising awareness over plastic reduction and initiatives for the month of July and offering prizes for the best submissions.” Simply tell us what you are doing this month to reduce your waste and you can win a jute re-usable tote bag (pictured right) by emailing email@example.com or private message us on Facebook. To find out more about how millions of people are reducing their plastic waste, click the video above or plasticfreejuly.org. Phase out of single-use plastic shopping bags Single-use plastic shopping bags are also banned in New Zealand from today. For retailers who still have shopping bags left today, there are alternatives to sending them to landfill. The Ministry for the Environment (MfE) have created a toolkit for businesses which you can find here. Register now for Clean Up week Video: Don't Upset Mama Nature Our Council is also proud to support Clean Up Week 2019, running from 9-15 September.Registrations are now open, click here for further details. Beautiful Awards Businesses, community groups and individuals are encouraged to showcase the brilliant work you do for the environment by entering the Beautiful Awards, with nominations closing at the end of July. Photo: Dr Kate James (Marine Scientist) and Judy Rooney (Founder of the group) representatives from Plastic-Free Coromandel Town who won the Community Group Award at the 2018 Beautiful Awards. The Awards, run by Keep NZ Beautiful, recognise environmental excellence and positive actions to protect and enhance our local environments. Last year, Plastic-Free Coromandel Town won the Community Group Award, along with our the new Hot Water Beach toilet winning the Plumbing World Best Loo Award. "Coromandel, let's get behind this again,” says Mayor Sandra. “Last year was awesome and reflects what our local communities care about and what is truly special and unique to us - our place - our environment." This annual competition is open to all individuals, environmental groups, schools, businesses and councils. The 17 official awards are across five categories: Individuals, Communities, Businesses, Places, Small and Large Towns and Cities. Entries are valid for projects, campaigns and initiatives which have been completed between 1 August 2018 and 31 July 2019 unless otherwise stipulated in the outlined criteria. Entries close 31 July 2019. If you have any questions or queries, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or if you have a suggestion of a nominee email email@example.com. You can read more about the Beautiful Awards and each of the different award categories here.