Plastic Free July
Hooray for Plastic Free July! I love this epic movement of millions of people around the world who are all making small changes that all add make a MASSIVE difference.
Plastic is not biodegradable — it is either downcycled into new plastic (but only 9 percent of plastic actually gets recycled), it sits in a landfill emitting methane, or the sun breaks it down into microplastics. And considering the impact that plastic pollution and drilling for fossil fuels has on the environment, it's so important to focus on reducing plastic use on Earth as much as possible.
Plastic Free July doesn't have to be intimidating, and if the month helps open your eyes just a bit more to the plastic pollution epidemic, you'll be able to consider it a success. And single-use plastic is a pretty significant problem at the moment, meaning there's no better time to get involved. We sadly rely on plastics way too much they are in almost everything we use on a daily basis. The whole concept of single-use products needs urgent elimination. So what can you do?
1. Tackle the Big Four
According to blogger Kathryn Kellogg from Going Zero Waste, a great place to start is with the Big Four: plastic bags, water bottles, straws, and coffee cups. These changes are all much easier than you think — it's just a matter of replacing your existing habits with new habits. Make it part of your daily routine to pack a tote bag, a reusable water bottle, a reusable straw, and a reusable coffee cup on any day where there's a chance you'll buy something or need a coffee. Instead of looking at this step and saying "I'm no longer going to use those items," think, "I'm going to pack these reusable alternatives every day."
2. Look at Your Trash
See a ton of takeout containers and utensils? Start bringing your own containers to restaurants to pack your leftovers or to pack a takeout order, and carrying around a set of reusable utensils. Ask for no plasticware when ordering take-out, you have these at home already. Notice a ton of baby diapers and wipes? Consider investing in cloth diapers and reusable wipes. And ladies, those tampons, yep they have plastic in them too, game changer has been the menstrual cup - I thought eww at first but I love them now! Notice a lot of food packaging? shop in your grocery store's bulk section, or start centering meals around produce and other foods that are typically sold plastic-free. See a lot of plastic shrink wrap or plastic baggies? Use a reusable alternative like wax wrap, reusable plastic bags, or good old Tupperware containers.
3. Go Beyond Single Use
One of the best ways to reduce your plastic use in the upstream (aka the plastic you don't see) is by eating less fish. According to a study published in Scientific Reports, fishing nets account for at least 46 percent of ocean plastic in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, with most of the remainder consisting of other fishing paraphernalia, such as eel trap cones and oyster spacers. So by eating plant foods instead of fish, you are lowering your environmental impact and your contribution to ocean plastic.
4. Go Beyond Yourself
Plastic Free July's website encourages participants to spend some time in July on reducing plastic in their communities — whether that's at your place of work, your school, your neighborhood, your gym, your apartment building, or anywhere else you frequent. Because while committing to drinking your morning coffee from a reusable mug every morning is great, getting your office's kitchen filled with mugs so that all of your coworkers can drink from reusable coffee cups is even better.
5. Spread the Word
Step outside your comfort zone this month by talking about Plastic Free July with your friends, family, coworkers, barista, and that stranger in the grocery store who's staring at your reusable produce bags with a confused face. Keep a positive attitude, and tell people in your life how excited you are to be reducing your contribution to plastic pollution this month. You can also spread the word on social media using the hashtag #PlasticFreeJuly.
In the spirit of Plastic Free July and our monthly mission to contribute to a new organization each month it only made sense to choose, The Plastic Free Foundation, the creators of the #PlasticFreeJuly campaign. You can learn more about ways to eliminate plastic from your life as well an aspiring stories from others in their journey of going plastic free. We also invite you to learn more about our mission to Give Back to organizations we support. As always, even if you are not buying through our shop we hope you will consider learning more about them, getting involved and possibly donating yourself.