Maioro behind plastic-free July

Cambridge’s Maioro Barton has taken on the challenge to reduce his use of plastic during July, enjoying his smoothie with a stainless-steel straw.

Well-known Cambridge wheelchair athlete Maioro Barton has thrown his support behind Plastic Free July, signing up to be one of four locals taking the Waipa District Council’s Top 4 challenge this month.

In return for sharing his journey on social media, Maioro received stainless steel drinking straws, a cotton tote bag, a water bottle and a keep cup from council – the top four easy ways to cut out the plastic.

The issue had already been on his mind before Maioro was contacted by council’s waste minimisation officer Sally Fraser. “I didn’t have to think about it, I just said ‘yes’.”

He’s already made some changes over the years, trying to cut down his consumption of plastics. One simple change he’s made is swapping body wash in a plastic bottle for a good old-fashioned block of soap that comes in a cardboard box. Same result, no plastic bottle.

A self-confessed lover of fizzy-drinks, Maioro said he has also switched to buying one large bottle instead of numerous smaller bottles, so there’s only one bottle for the recycling.

“Sometimes I can’t avoid using plastic bags though,” he explained, “for example at the food court a bag is the easiest way to carry my food to the table – a tray with a plate would fall”.

And much of the medical equipment he relies on is also plastic, however Maioro – who was born with spina bifida – said that doesn’t stop him making changes where he can. “I thought I would make the effort because we want to keep the wildlife for our next generation, and our clean green image.

“It’s a mindset shift to ditch the plastic,” he added, saying that overseas he has seen peeled oranges wrapped in plastic in supermarkets, which he described as “crazy”.

Maioro doesn’t drink hot drinks, so keep an eye out on his Facebook page – he will be giving the keep cup away before the end of the month.

Cambridge News also has a Brew Keep Cup and a set of stainless steel straws to give away during July. To enter, just send your favourite plastic-saving tip to and the most innovative idea will win the prize. Editor’s decision is final, and no argy bargy will be entered into with anyone who thinks they should have won but didn’t.

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