Since the shocking images we were confronted with on Blue Planet II in 2017, plastic and especially single use plastic have been a hot – if not the hottest – topic of any debate on the Internet, social media and online and offline community.
Plastic turned from being one of the greatest inventions of humanity into one of the worst polluting agents which threaten our Planet and its biodiversity.
The global initiative Plastic Free July was born in 2011 with the goal of raising awareness on this issue and encourage people around the world to reduce the amount of plastic in their lifestyle.
With the beginning of the month of July, we decided to contribute to the cause of the Plastic Free Foundation and spread the word on the initiative, as well as the negative impact of plastic on the environment.
What is plastic pollution? – All the hard facts and numbers
Plastic pollution seems to be on everybody’s mouth, but do you know what it stands for?
By plastic pollution we mean the presence of plastic where it should not be. When plastic is found in the seas, in the oceans, on the beaches and in any natural environment where it should not actually be found, then we are talking about plastic pollution.
The problem with plastic being released in the environment is not just due to an aesthetic factor (have you ever noticed how bad that abandoned plastic bottle floating on the shore looks?). Plastic causes harm to the environment, too. In fact, animals eat it or suffocate because of it. More recently, the discovery of microplastic has revealed that micro pieces of plastic are everywhere – even in the food we eat.
Here are some facts, hard numbers and statistics on plastic and plastic pollution you should definitely check.
150 – the number of plastic bottles for each mile of UK beaches
450 – the number of the years a single plastic bottle can last in the marine environment
269,000 – the number of tons of plastic in the environment
8 million – the number of pieces of plastic which find their way into the ocean every day
51 trillion – the number of microscopic pieces of plastic in the environment right now
What is Plastic Free July?
Plastic Free July is a global initiative led by the Plastic Free Foundation. The aim of the initiative is to encourage people around the globe to reduce their use of single use plastic for the whole month of July – and, possibly, forever.
The Plastic Free Foundation was founded in Australia by Rebecca Prince-Ruiz. Since their humble beginnings in 2011, the company and their annual initiative to raise awareness on the use of plastic and plastic pollution have come a long way, not only reaching the entire world, but also winning an award in 2017.
Last year, over 120 million people over 177 countries were inspired by the campaign and took part in it. The community that has developed around Plastic Free July is truly inspiring, and the foundation itself promotes it and invites new and old members to support each other in their journey towards a plastic free life.
By becoming a member of this community, you will receive weekly motivational newsletters with tricks and suggestions on how to reduce plastic little by little.
How can you cut single use plastic in your everyday life?
Cutting plastic use in every field of your everyday life is not as easy as one would think. Once you start looking around and try to make a concrete effort to avoid plastic, you will find out that plastic is used for almost everything.
We have listed some of the first, biggest changes you can make in your everyday life. They are easy swaps, and you will be surprised to see how much you are already contributing to solve the plastic issue by applying just a few of them.
- Use a reusable water bottle over plastic bottles – Ditch the habit of buying a plastic water bottle everyday with your meal deal and switch to a reusable water bottle. We are sure your reusable water bottle will become your new best friend. In fact, you will not only help the environment by not buying plastic bottles, but you will also have a solution that keeps your drink cold for hours and, bonus point, save money every day!
- Use a reusable coffee cup over single use cups – Yet another great swap which is not only good for the environment, but also to your wallet.
- Plastic straws? No thank you! – Plastic straws are one of the greatest polluting agents, endangering the life of numerous marine species.
- Less deliveries, more homemade cooked meals – Deliveries often come in plastic containers wrapped in plastic bags. We do not want you to say no to your favourite curry (we love curry); however, cooking homemade meals will help you save the Planet by using less plastic, as well as money in your wallet. Alternatively, do not throw away containers and plastic bags, but rather try to reuse them.
- Purchase fruit and vegetables from your local grocers or swap to a veg box service – Walking through any supermarket, it is impossible not to notice that every aisle is heavily populated by plastic wrapping and packaging – especially the fruit and vegetables one. Buying from your local grocer or using a veg box service will allow you not only to reduce the amount of plastic of your shopping, but also to purchase local and seasonal fruits and vegetables.
- Bring your own bags with you when grocery shopping – Nobody likes getting to the counter with a big shop and realising you have forgotten your bags from home. Not to mention the recently introduced plastic bag charge! Now more then ever, it is the time to invest in a ‘bag for life’ to save yourself some money, save the pile of plastic bags collecting in your kitchen drawer, and most importantly save the Planet.
- Reuse, repair and recycle! – This is the rule of thumb when it comes to reducing the use of plastic in your life. Avoiding plastic can be really hard if not impossible sometimes. However, this does not mean that you should give up. Try to repair and reuse plastic items that you already possess – in this way, you will elongate their life and avoid waste and pollution.
To take part to Plastic Free July, head to the initiative’s official website and simply register. Do not forget to share your daily efforts in reducing the use of single use plastic with your or the global community! Share your pictures and successes on Instagram using the hashtags #plasticfreejuly and #plasticfreejuly2019
Let us know in the comment box below which are the changes you have already implemented in your everyday life, or the ones you have pledged to.