Quick and easy switches for plastic free July

July 2, 2018 at 10:50 AM

Plastic Free July is upon us! And while the idea of not buying anything in plastic for a month might seem daunting, we've made it a little easier by compiling this list of very easy substitutes you can make. We will also have Plastic Free labels in our stores next to our plastic free products.

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First and foremost, we’ve worked really hard to make our produce section as plastic-free as possible. Last year, we began packaging our fruit in paper bags instead of plastic and almost all of our fruit and vegetables are available to buy loose. We sell produce bags for these, supply free paper bags or you’re welcome to use no bag at all! 

Once you’ve navigated our produce section using little (or no) plastic, you can then move on to our grocery section.


1. Tea - Swap for Commonsense Pantry Tea Leaves.

Did you know that most teabags actually contain plastic? Our pantry produces many flavours of tea leaves wrapped in cellulose. Simply remove the sticker and home compost the rest. We also sell tea strainers to get you ready to go totally bag-free. Better for the environment, for your health and cheaper too!


 CSP coffee dark roast 1kg2

2. Coffee - Swap for Commonsense Beans, or beans from the refill section.

All of the coffee we sell at Commonsense is certified Organic and Fairtrade, but the beans we package ourselves comes with an extra bonus – their bag is from Econic and is entirely home compostable! You can reuse the bag for our refill beans, bring a jar from home or use one of our paper bags.

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3. Bread - Swap for fresh bread.

Bread can be tricky as it almost always comes in plastic bags. We stock Leeds st and Shelley bay’s delicious freshly baked breads (and Bread and Butter in Mt Eden) and receive fresh deliveries from Monday – Saturday. Breadman is also switching its bread to paper bag packaging instead of plastic, so is a great option with a longer shelf-life. If you're feeling really keen, why not try baking your own? We’ve got flour and oils in bulk to get you started.

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4. Treats - Swap for She, Pana, Loving Earth, Trade Aid or loose treats at the counter. 

We all deserve a good treat now and again, and plastic free July should be no exception. Trade Aid chocolate comes in home compostable wrappers – enjoy it guilt free! She Universe, Pana Chocolate and Loving Earth bars also come in home compostable packaging (card and cellulose).

We also have a selection of unwrapped treats at the counter including Little Bird Macaroons, Beans from Wellington Chocolate Factory and Decadent dates (that really do live up to their name!). Simply use a paper bag for these or bring your own container. And finally, if you’re erm…too warm in this weather, Dr. Feel Good’s ice pops come in waxed cardboard.

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5. Breakfast - Swap for refill ingredients.

Have you tried making your own breakfast cereals or granola? At Commonsense, we have bulk options for everything you need for a healthy and hearty breakfast - oats, dried fruit, seeds, nuts. It can be fun to experiment and make your own. When you're done, add coconut yoghurt from a glass jar and stewed fruit with no packaging from our produce section.

Raglan Coconut Yoghurt 700ml

6. Yoghurt - Swap for a glass jar.

Similar to many things which come in plastic tubs, there is a glass jar alternative for coconut yoghurt – Raglan Coconut Yoghurt! All of their flavours come in glass and they also have a recycling scheme for their Little Yoghis. And just to add to their good deeds – they have a scheme where you can pick up litter from beaches and waterways and they’ll send you free yoghurt! To top it off, 50 cents from every big jar of Natural Greek-Style yoghurt sold over July 2018 will go to sea cleaners

Grin Whitening toothpaste charcol toothbrush

7. Dental Care - Swap for home compostable toothbrush and floss and recyclable toothpaste tube.

We have a variety of low-waste toothbrush options at Commonsense, making it easier for you to make the right choice when buying one. An easy switch from plastic alternatives are our Go Bamboo, Humble and Grin toothbrushes which can all be home composted when you’re done with them.

Grin also runs a recycle programme  where you can send the toothpaste tubes back to them! – we love to see suppliers taking responsibility for waste - they even send you a $5 voucher when you do this!

Another easy swap from plastic is Eco-floss silk dental floss. It's home compostable and comes in a neat reusable glass jar.

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8. Hair Care - Swap for Shampoo bars or refills.

Ethique began creating shampoo bars as a response to the 80 billion shampoo and conditioner bottles which were being thrown out per year. We stock many of their plastic-free bars and also stock Jaymar shampoo bars which are simply wrapped in a piece of paper. We also have Eco-Store refill shampoo and conditioner, bring your bottles and refill your own!

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9. Sanitary Products - Swap for Organic cotton brands or a menstrual cup. 

Did you know that most brands of sanitary products contain plastic? (Yuck!) All of the tampons and pads we stock are plastic free and made of organic cotton, better for you, and the environment. Or better yet, send nothing to the landfill and buy a menstrual cupread our blog about them here

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10. Cleaning Products - Refill from our bulk section.

We have laundry liquid, dishwash liquid and multi-purpose cleaner in our bulk section and you're welcome to bring your own bottles to refill. And if you’re in the market for new cleaning tools, we are now stocking Safix Scrub – a dish scrubber made of home compostable organic coconut fibers, Wooden Ecostore brushes and Wet It cloths which contain no plastic!

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11. Toilet Roll - Swap for Greencane.

Again, it’s pretty daunting to imagine the chemicals that toilet paper contain (did you know that even recycled toilet roll often contains BPA?), so using Greencane is an easy way to reduce your environmental impact and be kinder to your body. Greencane toilet roll is made from the fibre waste from the sugarcane industry and they are packaged in home compostable paper and cellulose. Switching to Greencane is a perfect first step for a successful Plastic Free July! 

Munch Wraps

12. Sandwich Wrap or Foil - Swap for Beeswax Wraps. 

We currently stock Beeswax wraps from Munch and Nil and we also sell the ingredients for you to make your own! Check out this quick and easy recipe for making your own and find our organic beeswax in store.

 Head in store or find these awesome products and more online at commonsenseorganics.co.nz/shop-online