Plastic Free July
It's that time of year again. Plastic Free July (and hopefully beyond), but let's just start here. Plastic Free July is a global initiative which encourages the entire world to cut their consumption of single use plastic and improve recycling practices for a whole month. It is a personal challenge, but by making small changes we can collectively make a massive difference to our communities and the wider world.
So why is it so important? Single use plastics such as those found in plastic bags, plastic bottles / containers, straws, sanitary towels and nappies, break down into micro plastics that never completely biodegrade. These small plastics make their way into our oceans and landfill, causing harm to our animal life. Millions of animals are killed by plastics every year, from birds to fish to other marine organisms. Researchers have estimated that up to 12 million tonnes of plastic waste ends up in the oceans each year – that is the equivalent of an entire rubbish truck every single minute. EVERY MINUTE!
So should I do this just for July I hear you cry? NO! The idea is to kick start a long lasting solution and influence others around you to do the same. The more we act, talk and discuss plastic pollution, the more we can achieve.
Throughout July, we are asking you to take the pledge and stay away from unnecessary plastic use. We understand that sometimes it is impossible to purchase a product that isn’t packed, wrapped or housed in some sort of plastic. But sometimes it's about changing our routine and shopping habits to limit the plastic we do use.
Plastics are found in so many of our daily use items - coffee cups, takeaway boxes, disposable cutlery, baby wipes, packaging around fruits and vegetables, the list goes on. For convenience, some major supermarkets package fruit and vegetables in plastic bags or shrink wrap. How can you get around this? Make a conscious switch and purchase from your local farmers market or greengrocer. Buying local and plastic free has got to be a win right?
How can I reduce my plastic use or contribute?
As we well know, plastic is found in all sorts of things. Some changes will be as simple as carrying a reusable water bottle instead of buying a plastic one from the store each day.
Carry reusable shopping bags with you. A small one that can fold up into your bag, a few in the car, a bunch hanging by the front door so you don’t forget them on your way out. In the UK, since the plastic bag levy in the 2015 the number of single use plastic bags sold by large retailers has dropped by 83%. Before the charge, on average, each member of the population used 140 bags per year, during the year 2016 - 2017, this dropped to just 25 per person. This shows how collectively, we can make a BIG change.
If being plastic free isn’t in your current daily habit, initially it may seem like a little more effort in terms of prepping, remembering and organising, but a few days in to your new routine and it will feel like the norm.
It’s not just about the plastic that WE buy and use, it’s about the plastic that others buy and leave. Our streets, parks and beaches are littered with waste up and down the country. Last week, during lock-down, Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council reported that they removed 33 tonnes of waste rubbish from Bournemouth Beach. Litter picks are great but prevention is better than cure, especially in the war against plastic.
So what’s the key to making a difference? We believe that by creating realistic pledges, constantly educating yourself around plastic use and the issues surrounding it and the sharing of that information to your wider community, we can come together and make a change.
There is a wealth of information available online on how you can make a difference and implement small changes into your daily life with little effort. We have rounded up a few of our favourite resources to help you on your way.
Resources to get you started…