Plastic Free July is coming up!! It's a great time to think about how much plastic we use.
Plastic bottles, bags and takeaway containers that we use just for a few minutes use a material that is designed to last forever. They break up rather than break down (becoming permanent pollution), and they are either unrecyclable or down-cycled (made into low-grade products for just one more use). When sent to the landfill they can escape from bins and trucks to end up in our waterways and the ocean.
Alarmingly scientists predict that there will be more tonnes of plastic in the ocean than tonnes of fish by 2050! Imagine the impact on our food chain! Every bit of plastic ever made still exists and in the first 10 years of this century, the world economy produced more plastic than in the entire 1900's!!
What is Plastic Free July?
This month is 'Plastic Free July' It is a simple idea developed in Australia in 2011, which aims to raise awareness of the amount of plastic in our lives by encouraging people to eliminate the use of single-use plastic during July each year. What a fantastic way of reducing plastic! We love it!!
They have created a challenge that you can sign up for. Schools, cafes, government agencies and community groups across the world have joined thousands of individuals saying no to single-use plastic.
Of course, you don't have to sign up, but just take the challenge yourself. The challenge is quite simple - attempt to refuse single-use plastic during July. 'Single-use' includes plastic shopping bags, plastic cups, straws, plastic packaging...basically anything that's intended only to be used once and then discarded. If refusing ALL single-use plastic sounds too daunting this time, try the TOP 4 challenge (straws, plastic bags, plastic bottles & coffee cup lids).
What are We Doing for Plastic Free July?
Sweetree and our household will be taking the challenge again, we've taken this challenge every year for the past few years and it's made a big difference to our waste. We took baby steps at the start, which seemed hard at the time but now we (Sweetree and our household combined) only put out 1 paper rubbish bag about once every 6 weeks or so. We store food in glass jars and containers, use old biscuits tins for baking, stainless steel drink bottles, reusable coffee cups, use reusable bags when shopping, take our own containers to the butcher, we've ditched liners in our rubbish bins and use paper rubbish sacks, use Honeywraps instead of plastic food wrap, use stainless steel straws, shampoo, face and body bars, etc. We have a kit in the car with containers, cutlery, fabric serviettes, etc for when have takeaways (which is very infrequent).
All our honey is stored in glass jars, we don't use plastic frames in our beehives, our propolis is in glass bottles, we offer bee pollen in glass jars, we've always used paper bags instead of plastic at the markets, we're avoiding plastic in our production and product deliveries. Any soft plastic (eg from pallets of jars, etc) get recycled into outdoor furniture.
But we can always do better! Why not join thousands taking the challenge to refuse single-use plastic? Any time is better than none - a day or a week, the whole month or longer! If you want to you can sign up to get recipes, ideas & everything you need to take part. We will be posting more blogs with ideas of how you can reduce plastic throughout the month also.Look out for my weekly blog this month on how to reduce plastic use this 'Plastic Free July'.