Plastic Free July
It is widely known how plastic is increasingly harming our oceans and ecosystem at large; however, as stated by Wilcox et al. (2015), the global plastic production continues to increase with dramatic consequences for the global wildlife. Plastic ingestion rates within animals will continue to rise, and plastic will be found in the digestive tracks of 99% of all seabird species by 2050. Therefore, it is essential that people from all over the world take action and avoid this disastrous future.
One of the recent initiatives that result in positive behavioral change is the Plastic-free July challenge where people can take part and discover ways to substantially reduce and eventually eliminate the use of plastic.
Here are some basic tips on how you can get started in the challenge.
Naturally, the first step to sustainable living would be to recycle, as recycling strategies can significantly reduce the environmental burden of plastic-based packaging. Plastic-based products require large inputs of energy which is ultimately derived from fossil fuels during primary production, thus recycling plastic reduces a product system’s environmental burden (Ross and Evans, 2003). Therefore, ensure that you recycle and recycle correctly!
#2 Utilize reusable coffee cups and water bottles
It is essential that you use your own reusable coffee cup because, as explained in our ‘THE LIFE CYCLE OF YOUR TO-GO COFFEE CUP’ blog post, it is quite difficult to recycle disposable coffee cups, due to their heat proof and leak proof material, which is a mixture of paper and plastic. Plus, many coffee shops with give you a discount if you BYOC (bring your own cup). Ensure that you use the same strategy for your water bottles too, as there are a million plastic bottles used per minute, 91% of which is not recycled.
#3 Bring your own shopping bag
Plan ahead and take your own canvas bag with you when you are going shopping as this will reduce the use of single-use shopping bags which are very harmful for the environment. But we get it, unplanned shopping happens. If you DO end up doing unplanned shopping and don’t have a reusable bag, you can always reuse the single-use shopping bags as bin liners.
#4 Avoid using pre-packed food
Many foods are sold with plastic packaging, such as fruits, vegetables, bread rolls and baked goods. Most fruit and veggies come in their own packaging provided by Mother Nature. Also, meat and fish are sometimes sold pre-packed utilising plastic. Avoid buying these and find plastic-free alternatives that will still taste the same but will be better for the environment!
#5 Buy paper/metal/bamboo straws instead of plastic ones!
“Straws are consistently on the top 10 lists for marine debris collected every year during the International Coastal Cleanup. It is estimated that Americans use a whopping 500 million straws per day – a number that, end-to-end, could circle the planet 2.5 times” explains Robyn Albritton for Sailors of the Sea (2016), emphasising the damage plastic straws create for our ocean, and they are specifically known to hurt sea turtles. Therefore, it is essential to start buying paper straws or get reusable alternatives instead.
In Your Office
1/3 of people’s life is spent at work which means another opportunity to make an impact. Take the Plastic-free July challenge to the workplace and not only act in a sustainable way, but also be a good example for your colleagues: Inform them of the challenge and get them onboard!
Lavit uses 100% recyclable aluminium EcoCaps thus by installing Lavit still and sparkling water cooler in your office you will substitute plastic water bottles as well as energy drinks and any other single-use plastic drink. The Lavit machine is designed to provide people with great refreshing and healthy drinks which also help the planet.
Special Plastic-Free July events
You can also join a few events in the U.S. which will help you get through the challenge. For more information, head to Plastic-free July website.
Ross, S. and Evans, D., 2003. The environmental effect of reusing and recycling a plastic-based packaging system. Journal of Cleaner Production, 11(5), pp.561-571.
Wilcox, C., Van Sebille, E. and Hardesty, B.D., 2015. Threat of plastic pollution to seabirds is global, pervasive, and increasing. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 112(38), pp.11899-11904.