Plastic Free July developed in Australia and unites people worldwide to be accountable for their actions. It’s estimated that 326 million participants in 177 countries take part in Plastic Free July!
Picture this scene. Going for a swim at the beach to discover more plastic waste in the ocean than fish. Well, the prediction is by 2050 there will be more plastic in our oceans than wildlife, scary stuff.
Believe it or not plastic has been around for a long time. The truth is it became increasingly popular in the 1980s. The alternate, paper bags were not as strong enough to carry groceries, and considering plastic was cheaper to produce, it was a win for large retail businesses.
Unfortunately, if only we knew the increasing damage the production of plastic has done and will continue to do in the future, it should ring alarm bells. Still today we sit and ponder on how our future planet will be affected by our actions when there is already proof from the last twenty years.
Be the Voice of Change
Often, we shop without even considering where our waste will end up. This is why it is important to share our knowledge and come together to do something about it. It is the individual consumer that has a voice to drive change. We cannot rely on government bodies or corporations to do the work it is up to us the regular folks to drive demand.
The world’s first fully synthetic plastic was Bakelite, a type of formaldehyde resin, invented in New York in 1907 by Leo Baekeland. Pollution in our oceans became increasingly apparent in the late 1960s, with researchers conducting studies on plastic litter. Scientists noted animals ingesting plastic items and seals becoming entangled in netting.
What Can We Do to Reduce Waste
85% of discarded plastics are sent to landfills, and humans indeed ingest microplastics daily. Sometimes the plastics that we believe are being recycled become part of this statistic.
Some of the best alternates to using plastic bags are changing to:
Jute or Hessian bags
Canvas or Calico or Cotton bags
Reusable Paper bags
Some ways you can reduce your plastic consumption daily include;
- Using reusable products such as kitchen containers, coffee cups, drink bottles, bathroom hygiene goods like changing your toothbrush, the pads you use, razor, switching to soap bars, shampoo, and so on.
- Being mindful of your shopping habits. Growing your food or shopping at the local markets where you can select plastic-free wrapped items and place them in your tote bag.
- Be eco-conscious about the types of materials you buy. Plastic can also be found in our clothing, so shop for sustainable products. These are not only harmful to produce, but when we no longer want them, they go back into landfills.
- Buy biodegradable where you can, invest in better brands and companies that have an environmentally conscious plan.
Reuse, Refuse, Reduce
There are three key things to keep in mind for Plastic Free July. These are things everyone can apply very easily.
Refusing single-use plastic packaging such as coffee cups, water bottles, single wrapped items, etc. These go straight into landfills and we can all help make a difference by saying no to these items and changing some of our habits.
By reducing the items you buy and the amount of plastic packaging you shop each individual can create a chain of events. As I mentioned most of these are not recyclable therefore alternate packaging should be encouraged.
Invest in reusable goods that eliminate single-use plastic items. There are many ways to live an eco-friendly lifestyle in harmony with nature and we couldn’t agree more than to get behind this month’s challenge.
Simple Swaps to Reduce Your Plastic Waste
- Select packaging made from paper instead of soft plastic. For E.g; Barilla pasta uses paper packaging compared to soft plastics, which are not recyclable.
- Shop at bulk food stores and bring your containers or jars and fill them up.
- Use bar soaps and shampoos to reduce plastic bottles.
- When buying things for the home, invest in materials like bamboo, glass, wood, or clay alternates to plastic.
- Use reusable cloth nappies for babies and other menstrual options instead of plastic-made pads. Try Toms brand, which is organic and biodegradable.
- Invest in an electric toothbrush or bamboo one. Ditch plastic razors aim for reusable ones.
- Buy silicone reusable bags and lids for food storage instead of clingwrap.
The Plastic-free July website provides great ideas for people looking to contribute to having a plastic-free household.
Some of the forward-thinking brands you can shop that are making waves in trying to live waste-free and plastic-free include;
This month is plastic-free July, and the aim is for people to acknowledge the amount of plastic they are buying into daily. We challenge you to be more mindful and take additional steps towards doing your part to help our planet. Every bit counts!