Macedon Ranges mayor takes up Plastic Free July challenge

Macedon Ranges Mayor Jennifer Anderson is pictured at the Woodend Farmers Market.

How can an environmentally conscious resident reduce their single-use plastic uptake even more?

That’s a question facing Macedon Ranges mayor Jennifer Anderson this month as she tackles her own challenge for Plastic Free July.

The Australian-born initiative is a global movement that encourages people to reduce their plastic use to lessen their environmental impact.

This year Cr Anderson aims to reduce her household single-use soft plastic to 200 grams for the month.

“I’m being optimistic but I think it’s important to try something,” she told the Express.

“I find the challenge harder every year because each year I keep contributing to less plastic.”

Cr Anderson has been weighing her soft plastics each month for the past year to monitor her progress.

She has managed to reduce that weight to about 330 grams some months but about 500 grams is her average.

Over the next month, Cr Anderson will pay even closer attention to areas where she can improve.

“Some of last year’s plastics that I have reduced include tofu in plastic bags and purchase it in hard plastic instead so I can reuse the plastic. Also, less pizza bases and roti,” she said.

Shopping locally and sustainably are definitely considerations when it comes to her weekly food shop.

“The local markets are great especially if you manage your bags and reusable containers,” Cr Anderson said.

“At Woodend Farmers Market, now I purchase Rafael’s Coffee via giving him my containers to refill each month.

“I source my honey from a local beekeeper who refills my empty containers to save on packaging.”

Cr Anderson purchases items like fruit, nuts, rice and grains through Richmix Foods, which delivers goods in either paper or cloth bags.

Some areas that could present a challenge include pet food, face masks and convenience foods.

“The important thing is to just really think about the plastics you use and don’t feel guilty about it but think about how you can do it differently. Every effort counts,” Cr Anderson said.

The Express will have regular updates on the mayor’s challenge throughout the month so readers can gain tips along the way.