Plastic free July is an initiative in Australia that challenges people to refuse to buy single use plastics throughout the month of July. Millions of people across the world took part this July. Plastic is a big problem, a lot of it is ending up in the ocean and having a serious effect on marine life and ecosystems. While more definitely needs to be done on an industrial and production level, when you learn that by 2050 there could be more plastic in our seas than fish it really brings home the importance of trying to live more sustainably.
Doing our bit
I kind of felt I was already doing my bit. I recycle fastidiously and look to buy low plastic packaging wherever I can. Instead of buying bottled water I take a drink of water out with me wherever we go. I’ve cut down on buying disposable nappies and sanitary products by choosing reusable nappies and a moon-cup. I was still surprised by how much plastic is hugely a part of my every day.
Plastic free July has really brought home how much single use plastics are being pumped out without a thought for our environment. There’s no doubt that plastic is very useful, however, there are so many products made of single use plastic that just don’t need to be! Single use plastic is a big issue because it is mainly these types of plastics that are washing up on our beaches and poisoning our oceans. Some products that don’t need to be plastic for instance:
|Plastic||Could Easily Be…|
|Plastic bags! One of the ‘top four’ pollutants found everywhere from floating through the ocean to lining the stomachs of sea birds.
|Paper or hemp|
|Plastic wrapped veg||Paper bags|
|Plastic lined single use coffee cups||Cardboard|
|Microbeads – so small they get past the filters in the waste water treatment and fish think they are food||Sugar/Oatmeal scrub|
Hard to avoid
There are so many plastic things I still use:
- Toothpaste tubes & tooth brush heads
- Shampoo/body wash bottles
- Teabags! – What on earth?!
- Bin liner bags
- Food packaging that seems unavoidable (yoghurts, pasta).
For the future
During plastic free July I cut down on my plastic use a lot. The thought of even one less plastic bag floating around a beautifully blue pacific ocean in Hawaii or even the cold North Sea at Tynemouth makes it worth it. The best thing I have gained though is more awareness. And that’s what it’s all about really. If we can spread some awareness and follow that up with a little bit of education our kids can enjoy a beautiful world just as we have.