Plastic Free July starts now!

by Kate Hall July 02, 2018

Plastic Free July starts now!

Look around you. Spot the number of things you can see in your space that are plastic. Chances are, wherever you’re sitting, there’ll be too many for you to count on two hands.

Plastic is everywhere, and that’s not a good thing.

Every single plastic item that’s ever been created, still exists today. Nothing has broken down, or even started the process of decomposition. That’s where Plastic Free July comes in. Plastic Free July is an initiative that exists to reduce the amount of plastic we consume. Throughout the month of July, participants refuse, swat, avoid, evade, and escape plastic with all the self-control and will power they can muster. You’ll see individuals smacking straws out of the hands of waiters as they prepare their cocktails, and others juggling their shopping as they walk to their car, having forgotten their reusable bags. The first year of Plastic Free July, 2011, participants were only a handful of individuals in Western Australia. Now, millions participate in over 200 countries worldwide. Plastic Free July is a growing movement, and there’s a reason why.

It’s hard to grasp the concept that plastic doesn’t break down, but it’s vital for us to understand if we are to make educated lifestyle decisions. Plastic is made of petroleum; the result of several millions of years of the natural decay of living organisms. Although plastic is technically made from a natural resource, the manufacturing of plastic involves a stage where the petroleum is heated in the presence of a catalyst. Once this has occurred, organisms that usually break things down, will not register plastic. That’s why our oceans are covered in it, our landfills are bulging, and precious habitats are being destroyed by the overpopulation of plastic.

Plastic free july blog

To make matters worse, petroleum is a finite resource. It will run out. Therefore, Plastic Free July puts emphasis on single-use plastics. These are the items we use for only a few minutes, before disposing of absent-mindedly. That coffee mug you used this morning whilst dashing to your next meeting; it will exist for hundreds or thousands of years, taking up space on the planet amongst all the other coffee mugs. The straw you didn’t need in your cocktail but was served anyway, the plastic bag you used to carry your milk, and the mini drink bottle you bought to quench your thirst; this is single-use plastic. This is where the real issue strikes, and this is why Plastic Free July exists.

Plastic Free July has begun and we simply cannot have another month of learning, failures, successes, and surprises.

Here’s some tips to get you started:

  1. Purchase the tools you need: a reusable coffee mug, tote bag, straw, drink bottle, utensil set, food containers/boxes.
  2. Tell your friends and family: get them to join you, but also use your friends and family as an accountability network to keep you on track with your plastic free goals.
  3. Find the right shops: if you haven’t already sussed them out, find your nearest bulk bin store, farmers market, or other alternative where you can put food straight into your own containers.
  4. Adjust your habits and expectations: your daily habits may have to change. For example, if you usually eat out regularly, this involves more risk of using plastic and slipping up. Start altering your behaviour ASAP!

Plastic Free July is only the beginning. Use this month to take your new-found plastic free habits with you in to everyday life.

It would be unrealistic to start plastic free from August onwards, so try these tips:

  • Choose the three easiest plastic swaps you found in July, and stick to them (e.g. reusable coffee mug, drink bottle, and taking your own containers to your local takeaway shop)
  • Begin with one goal that you will try to incorporate into your everyday life. Once you feel like this is second nature, create another (e.g. make your own muesli. Once you remember the recipe, make it regularly and don’t forget, then move onto your plastic free lunch options)
  • Don’t beat yourself up. There are so many of us out there trying our best to do good by the planet. Beating yourself up will not help anyone. Learn from your mistakes, and find encouragement in zero wasters who are further along their plastic-free journey. Find our favourite zero waste bloggers here.

What are you waiting for? Get swatting, avoiding, escaping, and running from plastic. Our world is too precious not to. Tell us below what your favourite plastic free tip is!




Kate Hall
Kate Hall

Author

Kate is a word smith, kombucha addict, serial smiler, and zero waste enthusiast. She believes life's too short to think of yourself as one tiny person who can't make change. Slow fashion and green living are what gets her up in the morning, and her hand-raised bird will forever be found nuzzling into her shoulder.



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