Hands up if its your first Plastic Free July 🙋🏻♀️. Its our first one and we love the concept. What is it? Let me tell you how it works.
Plastic Free July isn’t just about raising awareness about single use plastic, it is a challenge to see if you can reduce your plastic use. It is up to you how you challenge yourself. Plastic takes pretty much your lifetime to degrade and even after that if it breaks down it reduces to micro plastics. Tiny plastic you can’t see but is floating around in the world, its on you now and your probably breathing and eating it today.
For the month of July you can challenge yourself to swap one single use item for a reusable alternative, swap a few items or go fully plastic free. You can challenge yourself for a day, week or the whole month.
You can swap your single use takeaway coffee cups for a reusable coffee cup, swap plastic bags for reusable cotton bags or plastic water bottles for your own reusable one. The challenge is to keep remembering to take your cup or bag with you every time.
If you do it for a whole month, you have reduced single use plastic going to landfill or worse the oceans for a whole month. The hope is after the month is up it just becomes a new habit you now do automatically without having to think about it. You might find by August you now automatically go to your coffee shop and hand over your keep cup without blinking an eyelid.
Are you really making a difference with one coffee cup a day?
The answer is YES ! Just imagine the 4 other people in the coffee line also have their reusable coffee cups with them. They take their coffee cup everyday in July and don’t use a single use cup. Thats close to 31 days that all 5 of you haven’t thrown a cup in the bin. Thats 155 plastic coffee cups and lids that arn’t going to landfill, that arn’t going to degrade into micro plastics in 50 years time. Now just imagine if 1 million people did this or 1 billion people did this.
Just one small change to your own habits is all that is needed to help change the world. I’m sure a lot of you by now (especially in Australia) have started taking your own grocery bags with you. By now its just habit you don’t think about it too much you just take your shopping bags with you every time you get the groceries. Of course sometimes you may forget. I curse myself when i forget, i feel so disappointed 😞. Most times i either work around it or end up not getting what i was going to get (ie. I’ve been forgetting my bread bag a lot at the bakery, so no bread today, woops!).
No one is perfect. Sometimes you just need to get that item in plastic or you need that bag to get groceries home. Sometimes all is not lost. We are constantly learning new things all the time. Ive learnt in Australia at some supermarkets there are Redcycle bins out the front where you can return your soft, scrunchable plastics to be recycled. Its not ideal but although i still always try not to take any single use plastics, there are some desperate times where i have a plastic bag or lolly bag. Its good to know that i can save all these and return and recycle them.
But back to Plastic Free July, see if you can challenge yourself this month to swap a single use plastic item or even something disposable for something reusable. Choose an item, such as cling wrap or produce bags or plastic straws to swap to a reusable alternative such as silicone cling wrap, cotton mesh produce bags or metal straws. See if you can make the swap for life!