Plastic-free July is a great motivator to minimise your plastic waste and to start focussing on aspects of your life where you can start to eliminate plastics.
Plastic litter is a global issue, affecting every country and especially impacting our oceans. It is estimated that there is now 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic debris in the ocean.
Due to its chemical makeup, plastic will never break down completely; the only form of degradation is photodegradation. This is when UV rays cause the plastic to breakdown from big pieces of plastic into thousands of small pieces. These small pieces are both highly toxic and often mistaken for food by different animals, often causing death.
What can we do?
The plastic issue can seem daunting when we realise how much plastic is in our everyday life. However, if we all begin to cut our plastic usage then hopefully over time there will be no call for plastic at all!
With some persistence, we can all embark on living a plastic-free life.
- Create your own DIY cleaning products using natural ingredients and reusing old bottles – you can create many different cleaners using recipes found online. You might be surprised just how many items in your pantry are also effective natural cleaning products.
- Only buy clothes that are made of natural materials like wool, cotton, bamboo or hemp – polyester and acrylic are big no’s.
- Grow your own fruit, veggies and herbs.
- Use a metal safety razor rather than those made with plastic.
- Create your own lip balm, deodorant, soaps and makeup.
- Make your own drinks and cut out the plastic bottles – juice fresh fruit at home (from your home grown fruit!)
- Cook from scratch – don’t use prepackaged ingredients like sauces or meal bases.
Outside the house
- Say no to straws – straws are commonly identified as a ‘single use plastic’, this is a kind of plastic that has been designed to be used only once and then discarded.
- Don’t have your meal takeaway – eat in and take a second to relax, those takeaway containers are often single use plastic (as is plastic cutlery).
- When shopping take your own bags – if you take both carry bags and produce bags, then you’ll be able to buy nuts, vegetables, fruit, lentils, etc. without using any plastic at all.
- When shopping buy in bulk – it’s often hard to avoid goods that are packaged in plastic, however, buying one large container of oil is much better than buy four small containers.
- When shopping take containers – you won’t need plastic for your meats, cheeses and other deli goods.
- Take your own nude food lunches to work rather than buying out.
- Take your own reusable water bottle to work – avoid buying plastic bottled water.
- Take your own reusable coffee cup – coffee cups are mostly lined with a thin layer of plastic and are tricky to recycle, avoid this problem by bringing your own.
Most importantly, take it at your own pace and keep trying. It can be difficult but don’t be disheartened, being plastic-free is achievable!