Plastic Free July is a worldwide event hoping to raise awareness of the damage caused by plastic. Single-use plastic, in particular, is incredibly bad for the planet. The aim of the Plastic Free July movement is to encourage individuals to cut down on their plastic use and be part of the solution to plastic pollution.
How you can get involved with Plastic Free July
The vast majority of us use plastic in one way or another every single day of our lives, and it would be unrealistic to suddenly switch to a plastic-free life. But there are still plenty of things you can do to cut down on your plastic use and help to cut down on plastic pollution for Plastic Free July.
1. Get yourself a reusable coffee cup
One of the biggest culprits of single-use plastic has been the takeaway coffee cups. In 2011 it was estimated that 2.5 billion coffee cups were thrown away each year and that figure is probably much higher by now. You can grab yourself a reusable cup and just take that with you whenever you’re likely to buy coffee. This is such a simple thing to do, yet it will have a huge impact on plastic pollution!
2. Take your own shopping bags
Back in October 2015, the UK started charging for plastic shopping bags. That move has had a huge impact on how we shop, with many of us opting to take our own reusable shopping bags rather than fork out the extra 5p or 10p for a bag each time we shop. As well as the financial hit, the move has forced us to face up to the fact that we’re using far more plastic than we should be!
Most of us have far more carrier bags stuffed in a kitchen cupboard or drawer than we’re ever likely to need. Make sure that you take some bags with you every time you go shopping. If, like me, you’re likely to forget, then put them in the car boot or keep one in your bag so that you’ve always got some handy.
3. Ditch the plastic straws
Plastic straws are really bad news for the environment. Many food retailers have now stopped offering plastic straws with many offering a paper alternative. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a fan of the paper straws, but reusable drinking straws make a great alternative.
You can get some really great reusable drinking straws these days, including this foldable straw that comes with its own handy case!
4. Refuse to buy plastic-wrapped fruit & veg
There is far too much plastic involved in fruit and veg packaging at the moment and something needs to change! If you love your fruit and veg (and let’s face it we all need to eat it), then there are things you can do.
If you shop in a local greengrocer or independent store, then the chances are that you will be able to pick your own and use your own, reusable shopping bags. Farmers markets are also a great place to find really good quality fruit & veg and they tend to use far less plastic.
If you do shop in the supermarket, then you can opt for the loose items. You can either put these loosely into your own bags, or use the paper bags that many shops now have on offer.
Ask yourself whether you actually need a bag at all. If you’re buying bananas, then you’ll peel them anyway before eating, and you’ll generally wash everything else so it can often be packed loose amongst the rest of your shopping.
5. Stop using cling film
Many of us use cling film every day for our packed lunches or to store leftovers in the fridge without even thinking about the consequences. Switching to a more sustainable alternative is actually really easy.
You can buy reusable wax food wraps or store food in reusable containers instead.
If you want to take part in Plastic Free July then don’t feel overwhelmed and think you need to give up ALL your plastic use. In an ideal world, that’s what we’d all do, but in reality, it’s not that simple. If you can do even one of these five things, then you’re having an impact on your environment.
Are you taking part in Plastic Free July? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!