Plastic-Free July: 5 things you can do now to reduce your plastic consumption
Friday 15th July 2022
Plastic-Free July is a global movement dedicated to finding solutions to plastic pollution. It challenges us to refuse single-use plastics while providing resources and ideas on how to make long-term lifestyle changes beyond the end of July.
Why should we reduce our plastic consumption?
Let’s start from the basics.
1. They are eveywhere
Plastic litter ends up everywhere, and we mean it. Parts of Mount Everest are covered in plastics, and more shockingly, microplastics have recently been discovered near the mountain's peak.
Pollution on Mount Everest
This plastic disturbs habitats and kills wildlife, such that plastic trash is found in the guts of more than 90% of the world’s sea birds and the stomachs of more than half of the world’s sea turtles. Our charity partners, the Marine Conservation Society, have some fantastic resources on ocean pollution which you can check out here.
Plastic pollution in our oceans, photo by Brian Yurasits
2. Fracking is bad
Fracking involves drilling into the earth and directing a high-pressure mixture of water, sand, and chemicals into shale rock to release gas and oil, which is necessary for plastic production. This process has a terrible reputation, and for a good reason. Fracking pollutes water, soil, and the air. It causes sinkholes, earthquakes, and many other environmental and political dangers. Read more here.
Fracking protest, photo by Paul-Alain Hunt
3. Most plastic in existence is single-use
Only a small number of plastics in the world are recycled and recyclable. Most are used once and then thrown away to be incinerated or dumped in landfills. This is not an efficient use of material, especially when it is environmentally damaging to produce.
BUT, hear us out. We need to be careful not to just demonise one material. Plastics have helped with so much, including worldwide healthcare and food safety. Also, there is potential for plastics to help with our environmental efforts. For example, as plastics have such a long life, they have the potential to act as sinks for harmful gases (such as methane) that we want to keep out of the environment.
Now onto the good news. What steps can you take this Plastic-Free July to reduce your consumption?
1. Visit a refill shop
Fun, great quality products and often cheaper than supermarkets if done right. Obviously, there are accessibility and time constraints but give it a try on a lazy Sunday. All products are sold loose, so remember to bring your Tupperware and empty jam jars. Some shops will even have spares which you can use. Jarr market is our favourite!
2. Upgrade your cutlery, coffee cup and containers
We’re not sure there are many people these days walking around without a reusable water bottle. Swapping single-use plastic items for reusable versions can be an effective way to reduce your plastic use. Check out our sustainable office supplies website for some great alternatives to single-use plastic products. Including coffee cups and copper water bottles.
Our range of office supplies
If you work in the hospitality industry and can’t avoid a single use solution, Vegware compostables can be an option. Compostables is a complex topic, but one thing that is clear is that having a good composting end of life solution in place is necessary to get the full environmental benefits. This will turn compostable packaging made from plant materials into quality compost within 7 weeks. Enquire about our Vegware service now!
4. Don’t forget about the bathroom
When we think about tackling single-use plastics, we often forget about the role of the bathroom. Plastic-free bathroom products have boomed recently. You can opt for soap and shampoo bars from Lush, sustainable shaving kits, plastic-free period products and bamboo toliet roll that is fit for a king.
Sustainable bathroom products, photo by KINN Living
5. Go back in time and get your milk delivered
Tired of those plastic milk bottles ruining your eco-warrior status? Folks, there is an alternative. Why not sign up for a milk round, where your milk (yes many deliver oat milk now!) is delivered in glass bottles that you return to the milkman for a beautiful closed-loop story. Search for a milk round near you.