Plastic Free July - What can you change?
Plastic Free July is a global challenge that encourage millions of people around the world to give up single use plastic during July.
This initiative is a great opportunity to learn why you should be giving up on single use plastic products (disposable coffee cups, plastic straws, single use plastic bags) and replacing them with great reusable alternatives that will last you a lifetime and more importantly help the environment.
“While plastic is an extremely useful material,” says founder of Plastic Free July Foundation, Rebecca Prince-Ruiz, “the fact it’s designed to last forever causes problems for the environment.”
Plastic waste is one problem, where the single use plastic bag, straw or cutlery you use once is dispose off and ends up in landfill until is decompose slowly over time.
Plastic Water Bottles take at least 450 years to completely decompose.
Plastic Supermarket Bags take at least 10-20 years to completely decompose.
Plastic Cutlery take at least 450 years to completely decompose.
Plastic Food Wraps and Containers take at least 20-30 years to completely decompose.
Plastic Straws take at least 200 years to completely decompose.
Plastic Coffee Lined Cups and Lids take at least 30 years to completely decompose.
These products live lifetimes over for a quick and lazy decision on using a man made single use plastic item.
But this is not the only problem, plastic contains a huge combination of chemicals that leach into the soil or waterways affecting the environment and the wildlife as it move it’s way up the food chain.
I have talked about briefly about Microbeads in an earlier blog, the microscopic pieces of plastic designed to exfoliate your skin and are washed straight down your sink. Being so small they are unable to be detected when the water is being treated and is evidently washed straight into the ocean. These microbeads are being consumed by small fish and then these fish eaten by larger fish and marine life and so on before they end up on our plate full of plastic particles.
I have seen plastic bottles and plastic bags floating in the ocean, these are either broken down into micro plastics or consumed whole by larger marine life, sea turtles or sea birds causing extreme pain or death to the animal in question.
“The UN Environment said it’s one of the greatest environmental challenges of our time,’ Prince-Ruiz says.
Australia has made huge progress in the last couple of years with plastic waste.
Woolworths have banned single use plastic bags form all stores nationwide, IGA has done the same in selective stores and Coles is gearing up to remove plastic bags in the next few weeks!
The number of disposable single use plastic coffee cups are on a slow decline as it is becoming a norm to take and use a reusable cup and pretty uncool if you don’t.
People are thinking about what single use throwaway plastic is actually doing to the environment and by eliminating the easy plastic lolly sticks, straws, coffee cups, bottle caps on plastic water bottles and plastic bags and “we are going to try to make a small difference.”
If you have not started yet, try removing the big (but super easy) four from your life and daily routine;
Plastic Straws - either go straw-less or buy a reusable straw and take it with you
Plastic Bags - take a few reusable jute bags in the car or a few cotton bags that fold down small tucked in your handbag.
Plastic Water Bottles - get yourself a large Voss Water Bottle for AU$4 and reuse everyday or buy a reusable flask or water bottle and fill up at home.
Coffee Cup - a no brainer - take a Joco or Keepcup with you for your daily coffee
The hardest thing is to remember these items every day and also remember why you are doing this until you are in a routine.