Plastic Free July
It's nearly the end of June, which means....it's nearly Plastic Free July. I invite you to join me once again in this initiative to be more aware of our single-use plastic habit. In the spirit of recycling, conservation and preservation, I'm recycling my post from last year 😂. Though I have added new links, new info and new helpful tips. I do hope you'll join me. After all, our health is dependent upon the health of our environment.
I will forever think of The Graduate when I think of the word "Plastics" however, Mr. McGuire, along with everyone else, likely didn't think through the implications of creating a material that would never disappear.
Did you know that EVERY piece of plastic ever made is still on the earth today?
Yup, plastic doesn't break down naturally in the environment. It "degrades" but that simply means that it breaks down into smaller pieces of plastic. These smaller pieces become part of the fabric of our earth; in dirt, sand, water, soil. They never go away. They get ingested by animals, they leach into our soils, they off-gas in our water. Plastic lasts forever.
FOREVER..... as Prince said, is a "mighty long time".
There are roughly 7.4 billion people on the planet. If every person threw out just one single use plastic item per day, that's an astonishing about of plastic tossed into our .... where exactly??
50% of the worlds plastic goes into items only used ONCE!! 50%!!!!!
The average plastic bag is used for only 12 minutes before it's tossed out.
It's mind-bogglingly insane when you really stop and think about it.
STOP. THINK ABOUT IT!!
So, what can we do?? The Australian organization PLASTIC FREE JULY has created a wonderful site filled with facts, challenges, ideas and loads of inspiration to help us all be a little more conscious about our own personal plastic use and choices.
It's virtually impossible to avoid all plastics but lets take it one step at a time and move towards being more conscious. Think reusable, not disposable. I'lltake progress over perfection any day!
Here are a few of my favorite tips to help you get more conscious about your plastic use:
- Bring you own bags. Next time your somewhere cool / fun see if they have a canvas bag. Show off where you've been!!
- Invest in a (non-plastic) reusable water bottle. For stainless steel, I love this one (still cold after sitting in hot car all day!) and for glass, I love this one.
- Invest in a (non-plastic) reusable hot beverage mug. I love my Hydroflask.
- Bring your own 12oz Mason Jar to the coffee shop, that's what I do for my iced beverages!
- Say "no thank you" to straws. Even my 8 year old requests her drinks "in a real glass with no straw, please" Do you really need a straw? If so, invest in a reusable one.
- Skip plastic produce bags whenever possible. I see people put two avocados in a plastic bag. Seriously? Why the f*** do you need a plastic bag for 2 avocados???? If you find that you really need plastic bags at the grocery store - please reuse them as many times as possible or invest in some reusable produce bags.
- Keep a fork/spoon/knife in your car/purse/desk/backpack and say no thanks to the whole take-out packet of which you'll likely toss the spoon and the knife having never even used them. WAKE UP!!!!
- Speaking of take-out - of course it's often unavoidable - but perhaps take 20 minutes and just sit down in the restaurant instead of throwing away an entire plastic bag filled to the brim with single use plastics a few times a week. This is crazy.... where do you think this plastic goes to??
- Buy in bulk - may still be in plastic, but one 5 lb bag is better (and cheaper) than 10 8oz bags!!
- Buy from the bulk bins!! Buy the same muesli every week? Save the bag and refill it again and again. Recycled plastic containers are great here too!
- Choose produce that's not already wrapped or bagged - shop at your local farmers market!!
- For those items that must come wrapped; bread, bagels, etc and even when you use a ziploc bag - try to reuse them wherever you can - dog poo bags, first aid ice packs, produce bags, bulk bin bags.
It's so easy to fall into the mindset of "but it gets recycled, whats the big problem?" Sadly that isn't the whole story. If you want a true education on the matter I encourage everyone to watch "A Plastic Ocean" - we watched it recently as a family and its message had a huge impact on all of us.
This isn't about buying a whole bunch of stuff to live a more conscious existence - hopefully you have bags, jars, forks etc. that you can reuse already. Old ratty t-shirts make for amazing little produce bags. When they're soiled, pop 'em in the wash like you always did! I used to make these out of my daughters too small tank tops but never wrote a blog post about it, so here's MommyPotamus to the rescue! This isn't about suffering or giving anything up. Get creative. Have fun. Make better choices.
This is about being more aware. Being more thoughtful. Thinking about the consequences of our choices. Each choice we make in life effects other people and other living entities. We're exceptionally powerful. Every step we take makes an impact.
+ Own a business? Stop buying plastic cups!! Buy each member of your team a mug or better yet, challenge them to rethink the offices use of single use plastics!
+ Own a bar or restaurant? Stop using straws! At the very least only offer them upon request. Disposable cups and lids for kids? Stop!! We seriously don't need them!!
+ Having a party? Use tree-free paper plates, fsc certified wood cutlery, recycled or tree free napkins and 8oz glass mason jars (perfect for wine, small enough for kids hands, virtually indestructible and they cost less than a $1.50 each. Buy a case or two and never have to buy plastic cups again or better yet save the jam jars you're already buying and skip a recycling step!!!
Encourage and Inspire those around you to think differently!!!
And finally from a purely personal health standpoint - it has been exposed time and time again that water bottles are often housed in hot wharehouses (or worse yet out in direct sunlight) before they hit the store shelves. This is not good for you!! Plastic is loaded with chemicals and toxins (even if it says BPA free!!) and heat allows these toxins to leech into the water, which you then drink. These chemicals are known endocrine disrupters. Your endocrine system is basically your hormone system. When this is disrupted, over time, it can lead to reproductive issues, birth defects, cancerous tumors and neurological developmental disorders. In other words, not something you want to F with.
It's time to ditch single use plastics!!
Will you join me in a Plastic Free July? Sign up at www.plasticfreejuly.org to register your commitment.
What are some of the ways you help make the world less plastic filled?
Let's all share our creative ideas for relying less upon this unsustainable practice and create more consciousness with each and every move, purchase and choice that we make!!