15 Simple Things To Do This Plastic Free July
Plastic Free July is a global movement that helps millions of people be part of the solution to plastic pollution – so we can have cleaner streets, oceans, and beautiful communities. We all see the devastation around us with the rise in toxic plastic pollution in our waterways killing our marine life and in landfill where it will take millions of years to degrade, and it can all seem overwhelming. But making small changes has big impacts - every day if we could look at our behaviours in our every day life and see where there are simple alternatives to using and consuming so much single use plastic, we are making big waves of change. These small acts will soon become habit - what is so encouraging is we are seeing due to our voices demanding change, companies changing their ways of doing things by phasing out plastic bags or refusing to serve, sell or even produce plastic straws.
Life with my little girl has seen be become even more aware of what choices we make that have a positive impact on the planet or negative. And it is our children who are looking at us with big bright eyes for hope, to see change, to challenge us to do better and fix the issues we have created. It is because of my little girls eyes I have been known to jump off the pier to take out of the water the discarded plastic bottle and floating straws, I have been seen in public gardens in the middle of fountains picking up plastic bags that have collected around the ducks, I am the one who after a walk with the dog comes home not only with the biodegradable poop bag but all the litter collected along the way. And what I love is that my little one sees this as normal, the way it should be.
She loves that Mummy would climb a tree to pry off the plastic bag from the branches so it doesn't make its way into a birds nest to suffocate them. She has made rules in the house if a plastic bag is used or brought home there is a Fine Jar and $5 goes in (thankfully it is empty!), if the re-usable coffee cup is left at home I go without or we take time out to dine in, there is no room for using plastic cling wrap beeswax wraps is our go to, and straws ... the minute she saw directly the devastating impacts on marine life first had at the Turtle Rehabilitation Sanctuary there was no more discussion. Instead she wrote to her school asking them to ban the plastic straw which they did and she happily tells any restaurant owner politely why she didn't use the straw they served. So these small acts have big ripple effects and impacts on the planet and humankind. Humankind is a word I love and if you stare at the word enough, the message is simple. Human. Kind. We need to be both.
''Plastic Whale'' by 14 year old activist Dafne Murillo
There are so many amazing things you can do and be creative about plastic free alternatives in every aspect in your life in every dimension of your home.
Here is a simple list my daughter and I wrote of 15 things to do this Plastic Free July and extend as habit into our every day life:
- Take your own bags or baskets shopping - whatever shopping you do take your own bag don't bring home more plastic!
- If you forget the bags use a cardboard box
- Take your re-usable cup everywhere you go
- Say no to the straw but if you must use a steel straw - and if you are out and plastic is the only option tell the owners why you don't want the straw
- Say no to plastic drink bottles, take your own reusable bottle with you everywhere you go
- Say no to plastic lunch boxes, use steel ones
- Say no to plastic cling wrap use bees wax wraps
- Say no to produce wrapped in plastic
- Buy from bulk food stores and take your own containers
- Say goodbye to the plastic toothbrush
- Look at what your wear and sleep in and know what amount of it is actually synthetic plastic - it is scary what you will unearth!
- Take the plastic out of your pantry - store your food items in glass jars
- Stop using plastic pens! If you can't find an eco alternative use pencils
- Say no to take away containers - if you are going out and think there will be left overs take your own containers!
- Our goal for the month.. try shampoo bars over the millions of plastic bottle options out there too readily available or refillable bathroom product options
I will end with some facts about plastic that seem unbelievable but are sadly true.
- Between 500 billion and 1 trillion plastic bags are used worldwide annually
- 1 million plastic bottles are bought around the world every minute, and this number is set to increase by another 20% by 2021
- 73% of all beach litter is plastic which includes filters from cigarette butts, bottles, bottle caps, food wrappers, grocery bags, and polystyrene containers
- Ingestion of plastic kills an estimated 1 million marine birds and 100,000 marine animals each year
- 700 species of marine life are facing extinction due to the increase of plastic pollution
- In 1974, global plastic consumption per year was 2 kilograms (4.4 pounds) per capita. Today, this has increased to 43 kilograms (about 95 pounds) - and this number is still set to increase. If plastic consumption increases at its current rate by 2050 there will be 12 billion metric tons of plastic in landfills
- About 97% of plastics ever made still exist
- Around 324 billion litres of water is required annually to make plastic bottles
- Around 108 million litres of oil is required to produce one billion plastic bottles
We only have one beautiful planet we all call home. We need to act now. Join us the Plastic Free July and take it beyond into your every day life.
About the Author: Vinita is the Founder of Bhumi Organic Cotton and passionate about an Earth Life Balance