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.
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.
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:
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!