July may almost be over, but it’s not too late to ditch the plastic…not literally of course, but before we use it. What started as a pledge for Rebecca Prince-Ruiz and forty of her friends to use less plastic for the month of July has turned into a global phenomenon. Last year alone, Plastic Free July attracted 250 million participants worldwide and saved 825 million kilograms of waste, or 23kg per person.
“Plastic free July isn’t about drastic lifestyle change; it’s about being more conscious of the single use plastics that we use day to day and taking small but smart steps to reduce them. Single swaps could include switching to bar soap or avoiding plastic when you buy your vegetables. The majority of participants started by choosing to refuse at least one single-use plastic but nine out of ten ended up creating long-term habits that lasted far beyond the challenge itself,” said Rebecca Prince-Ruiz.
By making small changes to your everyday habits, you too can make a huge difference. Here are some things to think about to help reduce single-use plastic:
Try to choose products without plastic packaging. The Top 4 takeaway items are bags, bottles, straws and coffee cups. These four comprise a great starting point.
If you are still able to use reusables where you live, make sure they are ready and accessible. Have your shopping bags in the boot of your car or by the door, keep your coffee cup or drink bottle in your bag.
Sit down and enjoy a coffee in house. If you get a takeaway coffee, ask to leave the lid behind. That’s one less piece of plastic waste. Better still, use a ‘Green Caffeen’ swap-and-go cup. It’s no cost to you and a whole lot less waste.
Buy smaller portions in your own container or paper bags at bulk stores and farmers’ markets to avoid excess packaging!
If reusables and bulk shopping aren’t an option for you, think about how you can reduce plastic in your kitchen: ditch single-use glad wrap, or perhaps try to make some things from scratch to avoid the packaging.
DIY. Grow more food in your garden, plan and prepare your own meals and snacks so you don’t need to buy wrapped goods.
Remember that the focus is on community with the goal of achieving cleaner streets and oceans, creating beautiful communities.
Be counted alongside the millions of people who are making a difference. Find out more information on the Plastic Free July website.
Photo: Morena Espresso owner, Bel Pesantes with a Green Caffeen cup.