Plastic free July is a global movement to encourage you to be part of the solution to the alarming plastic pollution crisis. Beginning 2011 in Australia, today more than 120 million people participate around the world. The challenge is simple reduce the use of plastic in your daily life, especially those single use plastics. Will you join us?
Why do we encourage you to take up the plastic free July challenge?
It makes my hair stand up on end whenever I contemplate the fact that all the plastic that has ever been made is still lingering somewhere on the planet! Plastic takes such a long time to degrade. We’re talking anywhere between 150 and 1,000 years, depending on the type of plastic, the thickness and the environmental conditions – it breaks down faster on land than in the sea for example. That’s why it’s critical to live a more sustainable life and help contribute to the fight against the climate crisis.
Plastic stays around for ever. It is not biodegradable.
Did you know that a plastic bag has on average is only used for 12 minutes but takes 150 years to degrade? Plastic bottles made from PET are even worse taking up to 1,000 years to degrade. And I don’t mean decompose or biodegrade, nor will they be absorbed by nature. The issue with plastic is that over time it degrades into millions of tiny particles known as microplastics. These microplastics stick around forever in places like the infamous floating plastic rubbish patch recently discovered in the South Pacific which is bigger than Mexico.
Plastic harms your health
Toxic chemicals leaching from plastic are now in our bodies. Yes that’s right. It’s frightening to find that plastic is now in our stools and even in our bloodstream. Scientist say that this is related to cancer, immunological diseases, complications in birth and other illnesses.
Plastic is destroying nature
There are already so many rivers, forests and oceans full of plastic waste that there is even a new term for it in Spanish: “Basuraleza” . It means something like the littering of nature.
Plastic threatens fauna and flora
Just like us, animals are drowning in plastic. They eat it or even mistake it for food to feed their young. Plastic can now be found at the most extreme ends of the earth. In our oceans alone, the amount of plastic now outnumbers plankton by a ratio of 36 to 1.
More than 250 species, including invertebrates, turtles, fish, marine birds and mammals, ingest or become entangled in plastic waste, which results in a poor diet, decreased reproductive performance, ulcers or even death.
The fight against plastic waste is costing millions of pounds
The generation of such an immense amount of plastic waste has a direct impact on the economy and society. It causes economic losses of millions of pounds, increases public healthcare costs and lowers productivity.
How to sign up the #plasticfreejuly challenge
Sign up on the organizer’s page. Another option is to create your own personal challenge to reduce your plastic waste even if you don’t want to officially sign up. Every little helps to improve our planet ?.
Our recommendations to successfully rise up to the Plastic Free July challenge
Unsure where to start? The following steps will help you get it together. I recommend taking small steps and then making continuous improvement. This will help you avoid throwing in the towel at the first hurdle.
Don’t be too hard on yourself
The first thing is not to beat yourself up. Often times we demand too much of ourselves to begin with. Start by taking baby steps like cutting out plastic water bottles and celebrate each achievement. Remember, every step is a step in the right direction.
Go through your rubbish bins
Start by taking a look in your trash and identify where the most plastic waste comes from. The main culprits are usually packaged food stuff, and plastic containers from bathroom items. They can easily be substituted by alternatives.
Start by getting rid of single use plastics
Single use plastics like straws and plastic bags can so often be avoided or refused. Substitute plastic wrapping and plastic bags used to buy fruit and veggies with reusable nature fibre bags like jute.
Challenge yourself to buy dry food like cereals, pasta or legumes in shops that sell unpacked food in your own containers or reusable produce bags.
Reuse glass jars or plastic tupperware containers that you already own. This will help you avoid accumulating even more plastic in your home.
Get inspiration from other people who live plastic free lives
To help you with this, I have put together a reading list of my must read sustainable living books. There are also a ton of great blogs and Facebook groups you can join to share tips for living a zero waste life.
From tiny acorns mighty oaks grow!
So will you join me in rising up against plastic? If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the size of the challenge just remember this phrase. I find it so inspiring.
If you do take it up, let us know how you get on. Share your achievements on your social networks and encourage friends to join. We always love it if you give us a shout out on @verdonce_bags as well ?.
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