We’re all guilty of it. The convenience of plastic bags, cups, bottles, and other plastic products is simply too tempting to resist. However, no plastics anymore, ’cause Plastic Free July 2022 is here. And we’ve all thought about shifting to a more sustainable lifestyle a number of times. So, now is the time to put all those plans into action and take on the Plastic Free July 2022 challenge by changing one small habit at a time. So, let’s get started by learning a little more about Plastic Free July.
What is Plastic Free July?
The Plastic Free Foundation started the Plastic Free July initiative in 2011 with a vision to see a plastic-free world. Since then, more and more people have come together to practice a more sustainable lifestyle under this umbrella and to bring about change to minimize the impact of plastic on the environment. A small step taken in Western Australia turned into a global event year after year with almost 140 million participants across 190 countries.
And yes, the initiative has brought about much change made by past Plastic Free July participants.
🌱 They reduced household waste and recycling by 3.5% (that’s 15kgs of less waste per person per year).
🌱 Globally, they reduced 2.1 billion tonnes of waste and recycling, which included 300 million kgs of plastic consumption.
🌱 86% of people made significant changes that have become daily habits as a way of life.
🌱 Over the last 11 years, Plastic Free July reduced the global demand for all bottled water by 2.3%, all fruit and vegetable packaging by 3.1%, and all plastic straws by 4.0%.
The initiative help to reduce the impact of plastic on the environment in a significant manner; and so, it was also addressed in the UN Sustainable Development Goals. How great is that!
Simple ways to take on the plastic-free challenge
We’re all in favor of taking the pressure off, and so we’ve made a list of little things you can do when following a sustainable lifestyle to make a bigger impact. Keep it simple. It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you’re trying to change your age-old habits and cut down on your plastic footprint. That’s why we’ve broken down some of the things you can do.
1. Skip the single-use carry bags
Single-use carry bags are a huge cause of plastic pollution. Although places like California, New York, Vermont, etc., have banned single-use plastic bags, there are still states where amendments need to be made. However, by skipping the single-use plastic bag this July, you can make a significant difference. Instead, carry reusable bags as plastic-free alternatives whenever heading out. Also, remember to wash your bag after use, to keep it clean and germ-free.
2. Avoid plastic packaging
When it comes to plastic packaging, we have all been prey to marketing gimmicks that tricked us into believing that all packaging is good. Be it vegetables, fruits, or other grocery items; it is always better to buy naked products. You can always wash those fruits and vegetables to ensure they are clean, once you get home. For items such as rice and flour, you can opt for plastic-free alternatives such as compostable packaging or take your own reusable containers along while grocery shopping.
3. Reuse all plastic products you already own
Going plastic-free doesn’t mean you need to throw away all the plastics you already own. It will just be wasteful and send that trash straight to landfills. Instead, reuse them till these products are entirely worn out. You can make some beautiful decor items for your home or turn them into storage for your pantry. You can always google ways to reuse plastics, and you will find a list of DIYs to get creative with.
Related Article: 24 Ingenious Ways To Reuse And Recycle Waste At Home
4. Keep recycling as the last resort
There’s a reason why it’s said refuse, reduce, reuse, and recycle in that particular sequence. Your recycling might not actually end up in a recycling facility. Moreover, most countries ship recycling overseas to countries like China, which is again not the most planet-friendly way. And even then, only 9% of plastics produced globally since 1950 have been recycled. Given all this, it is best to learn to say no or consider reusing before tossing anything away (not just plastics) in the recycle bin.
Related Article: 8 Non-Recyclable Items That You’ve Been Recycling All This Time
5. Reduce plastic in your vanity
Did you know many of your skincare products, such as sunscreen, contain plastics in them? Other than the visible plastics like packaging, we unknowingly have a lot of hidden plastics in our vanity. Micro-plastics are generally used in beauty products as emulsifiers or to make them waterproof. These not only harm your health but also wash off down the drains and eventually end up in the oceans. Instead, go for safer, more ocean-friendly, and plastic-free alternatives such as clean beauty and skincare products.
Related Article: 15 Natural And Safe Makeup Brands That Are Worth All The Hype
6. Have plastic-free coffee, tea & drinks
Did you know that disposable coffee cups, tea bags, and soda cans also have plastic in them? Yes, the disposable coffee cups and beer/ soda/ cold-drink cans are lined with resin (a kind of plastic) to make them leakproof. Teabags are also sealed using plastics to keep them from falling apart when you put them in water. It makes these items even more difficult to recycle. It’s better to opt for glass bottles when buying soda. Take your reusable cups to the coffee shop; some stores might even offer you a discount for that. And lastly, make your tea with loose tea leaves and use a strainer instead as a plastic-free alternative to tea bags.
7. Say goodbye to cling wraps
Cling wraps may be super-convenient and multi-purpose; but if you pause and look at them, you might not really need them. So, we use cling wraps to cover leftovers, store food in the freezer, keep fruits and veggies fresh longer, and to pack lunch and other stuff. You can easily do all of it using a reusable container (and also an air-tight one). This way, you can easily skip the plastic and, at the same time, save some money. Moreover, you even have alternatives such as beeswax wraps available that can give you the same functionality while using a completely plastic-free product.
8. Be conscious when shopping online
Shopping is another part where we need to be conscious and responsible. We have all shifted to shopping online for convenience and to save time (and money!) But buying a reusable tumbler that is shipped to you in plastic packaging doesn’t really help. So, always look for plastic-free/ packaging-free brands; you can also opt for shops that send reusable or compostable packaging when shopping online.
Plastic Free July 2022 is not a campaign but rather a chance for people to take on the challenge in their own way. For many, it will be about cutting out single-use plastic from their sustainable lifestyle. While for others, it’s about reducing their plastic use. And for some, it will be about learning more about the impact of plastic on the environment. But for all of us, it will be about changing our mindset and helping the planet.