Simply put, Plastic Free July® is a global movement that helps millions of people be part of the solution to plastic pollution – so we can have cleaner streets, oceans, and beautiful communities. This initiative started in 2011 and was founded by the Plastic Free Foundation who can be found at https://www.plasticfreejuly.org/about-us/
It’s all about saying no to single use plastic.
But for us it’s actually more than that. It’s acknowledging that single use plastic is not the only problem. Our woefully inadequate government recycling systems cannot recycle so many single use plastics when in theory, everything can be recycled into something. If this was not the case then companies like Terracycle wouldn’t be our go to for any non curbside pick up recycling.
Our throw away culture, our need to have new new new instead of reusing, is all part of the problem.
Plastic is an absolutely unique material, it has so many plus points. It’s light and pretty much unbreakable making it a fabulous material for everything from cosmetic products, to food containers to clothing. It can be kept sterile and, as we all know only two well, it can last literally forever making it a necessary material for medical procedures.
It also uses much less carbon to create and ship around the world than zero waste go to material, glass. Glass is a high carbon product due to the heat used to make it and it’s weight, but, it is endlessly recyclable so that’s a huge plus point. You see, it’s not all so simple right?
The issue plastic is when it is single use, it’s throw away nature so to speak. It is literally everywhere when perhaps some other materials would actually be better. One of the reasons why it’s so prevalent in our modern day society is also cost. It is unfortunately incredibly cheap to manufacture thus allowing us all to have super cheap goods. The major downside to cheap materials is that when we haven’t paid much for it and it turns out to be crap, we just throw it away without another look.
That said, not all plastics are created equal either. We are seeing some amazing bio plastics such as cornstarch and sugarcane come onto the market that are carbon neutral. They’ve been here for a while actually but they are still quite exciting. Taking a material that would otherwise be thrown away and making a durable plastic material that can be shipped around the world without breaking, erm, yes please!
It is also recyclable and industrially compostable. We just need our recycling facilities to get up to speed and offer industrial composting in every county.
We need to look at reducing what we buy by perhaps spending more on something than we would usually. Something that is made of more sustainable, ethical materials and making sure that workers that make that product are paid properly and looked after in their workplace. If you’re buying from a brand that’s cheaper (er, hello Amazon…) that isn’t paying their staff properly and operating under good business practices then shop elsewhere. Sometimes paying a little bit more for something that is of better materials makes you cherish it all the more, using it properly and also making sure it is disposed of properly.
We can only do our best with what we’ve got to work with. Plastic Free July is a good place for us all to look at what we are buying, how we are using it and what we expect from the businesses we purchase from.
Something for you all to get on board with is to petition your local MP and council with regard to their recycling facilities. More really does need to be done globally with regard to recycling and without our voices being heard, we are just shouting into a void where no one is listening. Without the government hearing us, we have no chance of something being done so make yourself heard 🙂
As always, any questions on the above of if you need any further advice, please comment below and I’ll come back to you. Until then, happy Plastic Free July! any tips or things you’ve found easy to do, let us know below too 🙂