This month we celebrate Plastic Free July, an initiative that encourages us to examine our plastic usage and the effects this has on the environment, as well as our health.
The challenge helps us to look for plastic free alternatives to everyday items, as well as ways we can reduce the reliance our society has on plastic.
Plastic Free July participants help save 825 million kilos of plastic waste every year, with 9 out of 10 people making these changes a permanent habit.[i]
Many companies are reliant on plastic as it is relatively inexpensive to manufacture as well as being both strong and lightweight, making it a staple in many household and convenience items.
Unfortunately, every year around 8 million tonnes of plastic finds its way into our oceans, killing marine life and wreaking havoc on the environment.
With half of all plastics ever manufactured being created in the last 15 years alone, we need to act now or risk choking ourselves and our planet in rubbish.[ii]
Here are six tips to get you started, and you may even find one or two changes to adopt permanently.
1. Refuse single use plastics
Say no to plastic bags, straws, takeaway coffee cups, disposable cutlery and smoothie cups. It might not seem like much but imagine the impact every person on earth refusing a plastic bag would have on the environment.
No small act is ever insignificant, and many major changes have been made through lots of people making small adjustments.
2. Bring your own bottle
If you think about it, bottled water companies don’t really sell water, they sell plastic. Remembering to bring a reusable water bottle with you when you’re out will lessen the demand for plastic bottles and stop them ending up in landfills and waterways.[iii]
Stainless steel water bottles are relatively inexpensive and will help save you money in the long run.
3. Bring your own coffee cup
Australians use one billion disposable coffee cups a year, with 90% of these ending up in landfill.[iv]
You can help reduce this number by bringing your own reusable cup with you.
As a bonus, many cafes offer a discount for bringing your own cup, which means over time your cup will basically pay for itself.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions many coffee shops are still not serving beverages in reusable cups, but the contactless pour technique is working to combat this.
The contactless pour involves the customer putting their cup on the bench for the barista to then pour the coffee into the cup without them needing to touch it. The customer then puts on their own lid before picking up the cup and walking away.
This ensures the customer and the barista do not come into contact with one another, or touch the same surface.
You can browse our beautiful range of reusable cups on https://causecups.com.au/collections/all, and with $3 from the sale of each cup going to charity you can feel good knowing you’re reducing your plastic consumption while helping those in need.
4. Go solid
80 billion plastic shampoo and conditioner bottles are disposed of annually across the globe[v].
By switching to solid shampoo, conditioner, face wash and face scrub bars, you can 100% eliminate your need for plastic bottles for these products in your bathroom.
Solid bars last much longer than their plastic bottle counterparts, so by making the switch to these highly concentrated products you can have an incredibly positive impact on the environment.
5. Switch your toothbrush
Every toothbrush you have ever used still exists on this planet today.
Think about how many toothbrushes we go through in our lifetime. That’s a lot of plastic!
Try switching your plastic toothbrush to a bamboo alternative, as this will break down over time and is better for the environment.
6. Choose packaging free options
When you’re out doing your shopping, really look at the amount of packaging on the items you plan to purchase.
Some companies put ridiculous, unnecessary plastic packaging on their products (anyone remember those plastic-wrapped single bananas that went viral?).
Consumers can vote with their dollar by choosing to purchase things with recyclable packaging or, even better, no packaging at all.
Some bulk food stores have eliminated plastic packaging altogether by allowing customers to bring in and fill their own containers.
Consider writing to companies with wasteful packaging and express your concerns, as they may take your feedback into consideration and if enough people do this, they might change their act altogether.
Whether you adopt all these tips for Plastic Free July or just a couple, you are already helping to make a big difference to the health of the planet.
If you can only do one of these things then that still means you’re using less plastic and that should be celebrated.
It is important to remember that if you slip up during Plastic Free July, that’s ok!
We all get caught off guard now and then but the message this initiative is trying to send is that we can all do little things in our everyday lives to make this world a better place.
If we all do what we can to reduce the use of plastic, it will ensure our world is a whole lot better today than it was yesterday.
You can read more about Plastic Free July and sign up for the challenge at https://www.plasticfreejuly.org/