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June 29, 2021
As far as we’re concerned, every month is an opportunity to break more strongly with our culture’s single-use plastic lifestyle! But we love Plastic Free July because it’s all about raising awareness around how plastics are choking the planet and the actions we can take, personally and collectively, to reduce our plastic footprint.
Of course, there is a long list of problems caused by plastics. As marine biologists and ocean lovers, one of our chief concerns is the 8 million tonnes of plastic that ends up in the ocean and kills millions of creatures each year. For us humans, plastics break down into microplastics that plague our air and drinking water. Unfortunately for all living creatures, plastic manufacturing is showing no sign of slowing down — in fact, it has doubled in the last couple of decades.
It’s a dizzying problem, but each of us can make a difference. The Western Australian crew that came up with Plastic Free July (the Plastic Free Foundation) tell us that people who participate in the challenge reduce their personal household waste and recycling by around 21kg each year. They also help reduce global plastic waste by a whopping 940 million kg each year, and 85 per cent of people continue their plastic free habits after the challenge. Those are some pretty encouraging stats!
Plastic Free July is all about becoming more conscious and getting creative. What did people do before cling wrap? Before plastic takeaway containers? Before plastic bags? They had other solutions, of course! It’s a month of sharing ideas and helping each other create a less plasticky world. In the spirit of sharing and caring, we’ve put together a guide to help you on your merry plastic-free way.
Humans eat every day. And many of us are busy. And we like devouring delicious meals. And it shows. Because what are the most common plastic items we see strewn across foreshores and floating around in the sea? Coffee cups, plastic water bottles and straws. Food packaging accounts for around a third of all plastic pollution. That’s a lot.
Packaging manufacturers like to remind us that their products are recyclable, but the truth is that only a small portion of our used containers actually get recycled. There are also issues with “compostable” and “biodegradable” packaging.
Most of us are probably now aware of the issues surrounding plastic bags — yet they still account for a large proportion (over 10 per cent) of plastic pollution. Plastic bags have a devastating effect on the animals that ingest them or become entangled in them.
This one is not just about saying “no” to plastic bags at the supermarket and bringing your own reusable bags (although this is important) — it’s also about reducing the use of items like ziplock bags and garbage bin liners.
Far less bathroom plastics end up being recycled than kitchen plastics, so cleaning up our plastic habits involves looking at our bathroom products, too. Seemingly innocent items like cotton buds make sneaky plastic pollution culprits.
Happy Plastic Free July!
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