Plastic waste has become a challenging issue for our environment. That is why the Plastic Free Foundation created the initiative for the month of July to work towards the dream of seeing a waste-free world. The movement began in 2011 in Western Australia and has become one of the world’s most influential campaigns on behalf of the environment.
It has been in use for over 100 years and easily became the preferred material for nearly everything, from bags to food packaging and everything in between. Sadly, all of the plastic that has been made since 1907 is still on our planet in one way or another. It is not biodegradable, meaning it goes into new plastic or sits in a landfill.
If you want to make small changes for Plastic-Free July that could turn into environmentally-friendly habits, here are a few ways to get started:
The Big Four
The “Big Four” refers to plastic bags, water bottles, straws and coffee cups. These are common areas that can easily be changed to get you on track. Pack reusable tote bags when you go to the grocery store to avoid their standard plastic bags, invest in a few good water bottles that can be washed and refilled as well as coffee cups to make your own at home- you’ll save the environment AND save money! Reusable straws are gaining popularity as well and you can find them in almost any big-box store.
No, not in the typical way you may think of. This isn’t for free shopping purposes, but it may still require a little bit of dirt and a stench. Next time your trash cans are full, try to look through and see how many plastic utensils and food containers you’ve tossed. Sandwich and gallon bags are a big contributor to plastic waste as well, so if you’ve found a multitude of these, look into biodegradable wax wrap or reusable bags next time you’re packing food.
Move Past Single Usage
What do you regularly buy that comes in plastic? Toothpaste, dish soap, condiments, and lotion are a few examples of items that come in single-use plastic that gets thrown away to waste when finished. Look for bulk items that you can refill into a single bottle or container to avoid throwing away the same thing each month.
Spend time in July helping to reduce plastic around your community, not just at home. Let your friends and family know that you’re making an effort to reduce waste and ask if they’d like to join. You can shop together for reusable containers and packaging, or donate a few mugs to your workplace to avoid purchasing single-use cups for the kitchen.
More than 300 million people in over 170 countries have joined the movement for a Plastic-Free July. Do your part in creating new habits that help the environment and add to the impact that can make a massive difference on our planet.