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:
||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
|Plastic lined single use coffee cups
|Microbeads – so small they get past the filters in the waste water treatment and fish think they are food
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.
Read more to see how Week 1 and Week 2 went.
Plastic free July
Single use plastics have a huge environmental impact. Things like straws, plastic bags and water bottles take hundreds of years to biodegrade and are ending up in our oceans the world over and being found in the stomach of every type of marine animal from fish to birds. More than this there is now known swathes of ocean where cubic metres of micro plastic particles are gathered floating around the ocean, dispersing toxic chemical into the environment. That last bit really shocked me but if you want a real shocking fact how about the estimate that up to 50% of our oceans could contain plastic by 2020? Or that by 2050 there could be more plastic in our oceans than fish.
Plastic free July is an idea that started in Australia in 2011 and has grown to 1 million people taking part worldwide last year. The idea is to dedicate one month to refusing to use single use plastics. There are some really simple things you can do to get started like take a drink of water out with you in a reusable bottle instead of buying bottled water and using reusable shopping bags. There’s absolutely loads of ideas on the Plastic Free July website.
I’m joining in with thousands of others across the globe for 2017 plastic free July. Week one quite frankly I’ve used quite a bit of plastic! Which might normally be considered a bit of an epic fail but it’s not. Here’s why; signing up for the challenge has made me really mindful of every time I’ve used a single use plastic. It’s actually quite surprising how easily it sneaks into your everyday. The main culprit for me at the moment is cling film. I use a lot of it for picnics and wrapping up left over’s for the fridge. I’m will look into getting some glass or stainless steel lidded containers and for now I am using all my lidded Tupperware.
Things I already do
I already do a few things like using reusable nappies (not as much as I used to now), I always take out a bottle of water with us when we go out anywhere in a plastic reusable bottle because that’s what I have. I’m still using oat milk from our allergy days and that is packaged in waxed cardboard not plastic. And I recently switched from single use sanitary products to a Mooncup on the recommendation of a friend and although it took a while to get used to, it. Is. Awesome.
Things to Change
Some things I will be looking to change for week 2 of the challenge are:
- Buy a metal reusable straw and picnic cutlery.
- Look at alternative food storage options.
- Buy a plastic free reusable coffee cup.
Come and join the movement ! It’s so simple and easy to do. You can register on the website for a weekly tips email and join the facebook group.
Every piece of plastic that has ever been made still exists. That’s enough to make anyone want to ditch the straws at least! Let me know if you are doing the challenge too and we can go along together, or if you try not to use single use plastics generally anyway in the comments below. I love reading comments. Thanks! 🙂