Plastic Free July is Just the Beginning!
It's now July and the perfect time to get on board with the growing movement to reduce single use plastics and take a step towards a more sustainable future. The Western Australian born initiative, known as Plastic Free July, has gone global, inspiring over 120 million participants in 177 countries.
Don’t do Plastic Free July Perfectly, do it imperfectly!
Plastic Free July is about raising awareness around single use disposable plastics and encouraging people to eliminate or find reusable and sustainable alternatives. It challenges people to try and go a month without buying or using anything that is plastic and is thrown out after a single use. For many, this zero waste challenge seems impossible and is no doubt a massive challenge and may indeed be near impossible for most to achieve. But this is no reason to throw your hands up in the air and not even try! Consider the following before dismissing your potential success or failure of achieving a zero waste July.
Plastic Free July is encouraging everyone to try and go for, what is effectively zero waste, as it is the ultimate goal to strive for. But even just the thought of trying to do this can stress people out. So, I want you to forget about being perfect and to be imperfect, and to focus on only reducing your plastic waste by a mere 10%. That sounds much easier doesn’t it?
So why should everyone only aim to reduce their waste by 10% and not 100%? The reason behind this low target is because zero waste done imperfectly by more people, has much more impact than a small number of people doing it perfectly.
Take the following example:
If 1% of the Australian population was able to achieve absolute zero waste for July only, they would save 55,000kg from landfill or the environment.
If half of the Australian population reduced their waste by only 25%, they would stop 687,500kg of plastic waste in the month of July.
But best of all, if everyone in Australia, made a single small change and reduced their waste by only 10%, this would save a massive 5,500,000kg of single use plastic for July and every single month!!
So what are the “BIG FOUR” most prolific, single use plastics that contribute the most to our plastic waste, and what are the simple actions you can take:
1) Plastic Bags
Get yourself setup with reusable bags. Have some in all of your vehicles, and get into the habit of emptying your shopping out of them and putting them somewhere you can’t forget them. In the doorway, on top of your car keys, on the car roof in the garage….whatever works for you. Even have some small compact emergency back-up bags kept in the glovebox or back of the seat for those occasions when the system breaks down!! Go a step further and get some reusable produce bags for your fruit and veggies, bulk nuts and grains and what about a reusable bread bag. Buy your bread from a small bakery and support variety and small business at the same time as reducing waste. Win Win!
2) Plastic Water Bottles
Get yourself a reusable water bottle. Chances are you have one or ten sitting in your cupboard. Keep one in your car, get a nice small leak proof one for your bag. Plan ahead and take a drink with you and save money as well as the environment. Also consider getting a set of tumbler cups and cutlery to keep in your car for unexpected treats and surprises. Again, don’t stress if you are out for a Sunday drive and end up miles from nowhere and grab some lunch. But if you are setup, you can say no to plastic cutlery, buy a large bottle of drink and share and still be an Eco Superstar!
3) Single Use Disposable Coffee Cups
Lined with plastic these bad boys are the only thing keeping some people awake every morning. But is it really that hard to take your own reusable cup? There are so many awesome options from a ceramic cup from home, to a fully insulated leak proof contraption that you can chuck upside down in your bag and it will still burn your mouth hours later! Plus, it is the in thing now to refuse and reuse, so join the cool kids and accessorise with your favourite morning essential cup.
4) Plastic Straws
One of the easiest things to give up. But if you MUST have a straw with your weekend G&T, or if your kids insist that they are incapable of drinking fluid without one, you can choose from pasta straws, wheat husk straws, bamboo straws, stainless steel straws, silicone straws and even glass straws in all shapes and sizes to suit water through to bubble tea.
If you start with these, then you are well on your way to being a zero waste warrior inspiring all of those around you. Next, why not consider:
- Reduce soft plastics from products you purchase, and refill your containers rather than purchasing unnecessary packaging every time. Even better, have a go at making your own cleaning products and cosmetics, and you will be surprised at how easy it is!
We’ve collected some cleaning product recipes and methods that you can make at home quickly and easily for a fraction of the price and without the packaging!
Eco Dishwasher Tablets Recipe
Natural Borax for Cleaning
Homemade Surface Cleaner
Try purchasing from bulk or “scoop & pay” style stores, farmers markets or road stalls to reduce packaging. Check out our Raw Food and Weigh & Pay sections on our website for a range of food and DIY cosmetic ingredients.
- Compost or become a worm farmer. Consider what you are doing with your food waste and scraps, as this is the largest component of waste to landfill from domestic households and when it ends up in landfill, it produces methane gas, which is a nasty one for greenhouse warming. Composting and worms on the other hand, breaks the food down differently and doesn’t produce ozone depleting gases. Plus, it creates amazing nutrient rich gold for your garden and veggie patch. We have a range of fully compostable bags which are suitable for home composting right through to compostable doggy bags for those walks with pooch. Make sure you choose products with compostable packaging and get informed about the differences between degradable, biodegradable and compostable materials.
The list could go on and on, but once you get hooked with reducing your waste, it becomes addictive. You start looking for the next thing to change and then the next, and before you know it, 10% reduction is just not enough for you. You will realise that it is so crazy that we produce so much unnecessary waste. This is also why it is important to do zero waste imperfectly. Once you get started with your first step, soon you have made lots of changes, and then zero waste doesn’t seem so crazy.
So, this July, do “Plastic Free July” imperfectly. Don’t stress about using a little bit of plastic here and there, let’s face it, it has taken 60 plus years to get into our current situation, so realistically, it’s going to take some time to reverse the damage. The main thing is that you take action and make small changes. Even just one single change, multiplied by millions, will have a large impact. Encourage others around you to make a small change, and let’s strive for 10% reduction from everyone to give plastic the send-off it deserves.