How often do you stop and contemplate the amount of plastic that you use? I mean, really stop and think about it. Plastic Free July provides a great opportunity to increase your self-awareness when it comes to plastic usage – and to do something to cut down how much you use. Below, we’ll look at 12 ways that you can support Plastic Free July.
But first, what is Plastic Free July and why should we care? Let’s find out.
What is Plastic Free July?
Plastic Free July is a month-long initiative that’s held every summer to help reduce plastic consumption and raise awareness of the impact of plastic on our planet. The brainchild of the Plastic Free Foundation in Australia, it has attracted interest from around the globe, with some 326 million people getting involved in 2020. The event has been running for a decade and continues to grow in popularity and raise awareness.
Why should we care about Plastic Free July?
Plastic is polluting our oceans, our forests, our deserts and our cities. Plastic lasts forever. It doesn’t biodegrade and it doesn’t decompose. Every piece of plastic that has ever been made still exists in one form or another. This is a huge problem for our environment and one that will require collective awareness and change to address.
This is why we all need to pay attention to initiatives such as Plastic Free July. Awareness is certainly already growing. All Things Hair readers recently reported that 62.7% of them would be taking part in Plastic Free July this year, while 76.4% already actively recycle their plastic waste. It’s a good start, but it’s not enough. We produce more than 380 million tons of plastic per year. This is not sustainable.
Time for action – ways to cut out plastic use
Let’s start with your kitchen. There are so many ways you can cut out plastic in this part of your home.
- Ditch your cling film. Instead, you can opt for reusable beeswax wraps and elasticated linen bowl covers. They do the job just as well and look much nicer.
- Say goodbye to plastic straws. Metal ones look so much nicer, anyway.
- Change out your single-use water bottles. There are some great reusable bottles out there, so wave farewell to single-use plastic ones.
- Buy an eco-coffee cup. Reusable coffee cups look super stylish and many do their bit of the planet in more ways than one, with some cups being made from products like rice husks that would otherwise have gone to waste.
- Replace your bags. We’re not just talking about plastic carrier bags here, though if you’re still using plastic bags, it’s definitely long past time to invest in some fabric ones. We’re talking about ALL bags, from those for your fruit and veg to bread bags ready for you to head out to the local bakery. And be sure to replace your bin bags with compostable ones while you’re at it!
- On the subject of food, one quick win is to make plastic-free choices when you shop. Next time you’re in your local supermarket, see how many non-plastic switches you can make when it comes to the fruit and vegetables you select. Supermarkets and food manufacturers are (albeit incredibly slowly) beginning to provide consumers with non-plastic options. As such, you can choose apples that aren’t wrapped in plastic, pasta that comes boxed rather than a plastic bag, cans of drink instead of plastic bottles and so forth. In some cities, you may even have the choice to take your own containers for items such as cereal these days, so keep an eye on what your local shop is offering.
The bathroom is another plastic-heavy part of the home, so let’s take a look at some changes you can make there too:
- Use shampoo bars. In fact, don’t just stop at shampoo bars – swap your plastic conditioner bottle for a solid conditioner, your shower gel for soap, your plastic body lotion bottle for a solid moisturising bar and so on. The more plastic you can avoid purchasing, the better.
- If you really can’t give up your liquid shampoo and conditioner, why not try and locate a local beauty outlet that offers a refilling service instead?
- Switch to bamboo. Bamboo is a great alternative to many plastic bathroom products. You can swap your plastic toothbrush for a bamboo one, as well as replacing your cotton buds. You can even get reusable, washable ‘cotton’ pads made of bamboo, cutting out the need for the plastic packaging that usually surrounds single-use pads.
- Tackle your hairy bits differently. Do you use a plastic razor in the bathroom? If so, a metal safety razor is the way forward in terms of grooming in a planet-friendly fashion.
Other forms of support
In addition to these examples of how you can cut down your use of plastic, you can also support Plastic Free July by:
- Organising a beach clean, park clean, street clean… you get the idea! Grab a litter picker and see how much plastic you can find and recycle. Get friends, neighbours and family involved to increase how much plastic you can remove from nature and turn it into a fun, social event while you do.
- Spreading the word. Whether it’s through a plastic free coffee morning or by discussing Plastic Free July with your company, your local business community or your children’s school, getting the message out there helps. There are plenty of ways that larger groups can get involved, so spread the word to see what you can trigger.
Plastic is polluting so much of our planet. Will you stand up to make a difference this year, by making all of these changes and more?
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