AVOID LANDFILL. REDUCE YOUR ECO-FOOTPRINT. PROECT THE OCEAN.
An article in support of PLASTIC FREE JULY [.org]
For the next month, are you ready to go 'Plastic Free' for the @PlasticFreeJuly #choosetorefuse challenge? It won't be easy. But take a few minutes to get the basics, the facts, and a few action steps:
Real change is cultivated by the individual - something I truely believe in - and that there's power in these smaller, everyday actions. Getting involved can help put an end to the mindless use of harmful plastics causing irreversible and catastrophic damage to our land, air, and oceans.
The time to end this toxic, and unsustainable consumption cycle is now.
The First Step? Self Awareness.
We have a duty to manage our own actions wisely, taking into consideration our own immediate footprints. Being ready with honest intent, will mean you're taking the current, and future health of our and the planet seriously. It's becoming more crucial than ever, to start taking action towards utilising alternatives to the consumer products we use.
We are all able to do something to reduce our individual footprint. If you're new to 'plastic-free' you can attempt this month to simply REDUCE your use of plastics, opting to focus on certain areas/actions as a great start; e.g. stop using disposable coffee cups for that morning coffee, using your own cutlery when ordering takeaway for the month, or simply putting that extra effort into remembering your green bag this month!
Every item, and contribution helps. Let's begin, and develop some excellent habits this July.
THE ISSUES: [LINK: in reference of Plastic Free.org]
1. Single-Use Convenience:
Every piece of plastic ever produced still remains somewhere in the earth today. In the last half of the 20th century over 1 billion tonnes of plastic was produced. This figure has already doubled in the first ten years of this century.' - Plastic Free.org
The Facts: world wide 10 billion plastic bags are used every week, and 500 million straws are used daily. 2.5 million plastics bottles are used every hour - in the US alone!
Recycling is a great addition to a belt of solutions, however, it can't be the only one. Most of the plastic (and other materials) that are able to be recycled often end up in landfill! So it's not JUST whether the item is recyclable, it's whether or not we are actually recycling the end use product or not.
3. Health Impacts:
Plastic Free July focuses on refusing, reducing and reusing. From the heating, reuse, cooking with and reuse of plastic to BPA and microbeads and microfibres. Not only does it pollute our water, it's beginning to enter the food chain effecting our own health, it's also a contributing factor to the death of vast populations of marine wildlife.
4. Litter and the Marine Environments:
CSIRO national coastal debris survey estimates that there are about 115,513,626 bits of rubbish on Australia's coastline - of which 75% are plastic.
1. You can Register yourself, your organisation, school or workplace [here] with Plastic Free July, to receive helpful tips, recipes, advice over the next month to help you keep on track.
2. Take the Plastic Quiz [here], to help YOU find out where YOUR plastic consumption/use is coming from. Find your footprint.
3. Choose your Plan of Action - whether you're making the decision to start your journey this month, by focusing on the plastics being put in
your recycling bin, or using a reusable coffee cup (like the pioneers at Keep Cup), or if you're going to take the leap and challenge yourself by going totally plastic free.
4. Continue the Conversation: Spread the word. Chat to your workplace, your local coffee shops, retailers or grocers etc. about their eco/green choices.
Ask the questions. Offer assistance or knowledge. Start your own local initiative/host an event.
(It could be as simple as raising an idea for coffee shops to offer bamboo cutlery, the local grocer to start offering linen bags at cost price for produce instead of plastic.) NB: Find your own personal linen produce bags with my friends over at the Clean Coast Collective.
Helpful Starting Points:
[Head Over to Plastic Free July to Take the Quiz, find out your footprint, and let your usage be contribute to research and statistics]
- Using reusable drink bottles - Utilise the power of left over containers! Reduce your use of plastic wrap.
- Discover the power of the reusable glass jar! (e.g. keep the best left over soup for work)
- Avoid pre-packaged fruits, vegetables, meat etc (shop at local grocers/farmers markets)
- Refuse straws for take-away drinks- Buy in bulk where possible (decanter into smaller bottles where necessary)
- Personal care products that don't use micobeads
- Buying liquid/drinks/juice/milk from glass or cardboard wax cartons
- Use reusable shopping bags (green bags/linen)
- Take reusable coffee cups
- Avoid using plastic bin linings
- Pick up that litter you didn't drop
- Hidden plastics? Get savvy and start getting curious about your packaging. Most likely if it feels like plastic, it will be. E.g. Chip packets
.- Do you eat fresh meat? Ask your butcher to put the meat into your own reusable containers.
- Biodegradable Plastics or other environmentally friendly plastics are NOT the solution. There is also no single definition for these terms, with little data to show their effects yet.
- AND, for those of you thinking about beauty, and hygiene products. I will endeavour to create another post soon, about home made vegan beauty/personal care products. Something close to my heart. And some of my favourite formulas/concoctions.
Start taking action, and start inspiring those around you.