July is almost over, but we are still celebrating. This month made a real change in our fight against climate collapse. It’s Plastic Free July!
If you’ve not heard of Plastic Free July, or maybe you have but are not sure what it’s all about, we’re here to clear things up. You can visit our Instagram account to see all of the fun things we had been up to this month.
What Exactly Is Plastic Free July?
Simply put, Plastic Free July is a global initiative that encourages people to ditch single-use plastic for an entire month. The hope is that by making people look more closely at the plastics they use, and discard, every day for a month they will be able to make real long-term changes.
Started in 2011, Plastic Free July has grown from its humble beginnings to an estimated 326 million people taking part around the world last year. This number will only grow as more and more of us consciously try to do our part in halting climate change and ridding the planet of single-use plastics.
The Plastic Free July website has a range of phenomenal resources to help you make quick swaps, reducing single-use plastic waste not just at home but at school or work too. There are also stories of how others have made changes to give you lots of practical ideas.
Why Is Going Plastic Free For July Important?
We all know by now how important it is to cut our single-use plastic waste but day-to-day life can make that difficult. With so much of our food and household items coming packaged in plastic we often accept this as part of the convenience of modern life. Plastic Free July asks us to stop and take stock of this, to look at ways we can reduce this plastic consumption.
With around 295 billion bits of plastic being thrown away in the UK alone each year, (much of which isn’t recycled) the planet is in crisis.
Plastic waste is showing up in almost every environment on earth now and if we don’t act to reduce the use and production of it, it will soon outweigh all the fish in the ocean. And with every plastic item we refuse – we’re helping prevent that issue from becoming worse.
Sadly, petroleum-based plastics are not biodegradable, they end up buried in the earth or floating in our seas. Lots of them break down into smaller and smaller pieces, eventually entering the food chain.
Did you know that this has now reached the point where we are unknowingly consuming microplastics in our food and water?
If protecting the environment wasn’t enough reason to rid our world of single-use plastics, we now have to protect our own physical health too. So let’s go plastic free!
What We Did For Plastic Free July
Here at Huskup, we try to limit our consumption of single-use plastics as much as possible every day of the year, but we’re not perfect.
There are still plenty of areas of everyday life where single-use plastic is so normalised that even we end up using it without really thinking. And that is okay! We are humans.
This July is all about realizing how much plastic we use and doing our best to cut it down or fully cut it out.
We started our July by making sure we had all the re-usable essentials to hand, you can find our blog with top tips for remembering your reusables here.
Then it was time to get out there and do our first weekly shop, entirely plastic free! We’re lucky to live near a market selling some great loose fruit and veg but we also found plenty of plastic free options in our local supermarket.
If you’re trying out a plastic free month, or just looking to reduce your plastic consumption it’s worth doing a bit of research to see if you have a refill shop near you. These stores sell whole ingredients by weight meaning you can buy just what you need, they even let you fill your own containers. This reduces single-use plastic waste AND food waste as you don’t have to buy your produce in standard weights.
We’ve also been cooking from scratch so we’re not using pre-packed foods, and of course, making sure we always use our Huskup’s when we get drinks from the coffee shop.
Easy Plastic Free Swaps
Of course, the easiest swaps to make are ditching the takeaway coffee cup for a Huskup and plastic cutlery for our ReUseMe cutlery, both made from rice husk, not plastic. But other easy swaps to make are things like shopping and produce bags made of reclaimed or recycled fabrics instead of plastic carrier bags.
Using items like beeswax wraps or silicone stretch lids instead of cling film and making sure you have a good reusable water bottle so you don’t have to buy plastic ones makes a big difference. As does opting to buy produce in jars, tins, or paper bags instead of plastic wrappings. Even swapping out your tea bags for ones that are biodegradable and totally plastic free can really reduce the number of microplastics entering the environment.
These small swaps are so easy to do, and not just for July! Even changing these few products and habits could make a big difference to the amount of plastic waste you’re throwing away each year.
Going plastic free for July can feel like a real challenge in the beginning. As the month goes on it starts to become second nature. People that participate in Plastic Free July make habits that last a lifetime, with 85% changing their way of life thanks to the initiative. This means they are reducing their household waste by around 21kg per person per year, that’s a total saving of 940 million kilos of plastic waste a year overall!
These figures are a fantastic start, but as a collective, we now need to do more. As it stands we produce around 381 million tonnes of plastic waste globally per year, this is currently set to double by 2034, but there is still time to change this. Setting yourself the challenge of going plastic free (even just for a week or a month) is a great way to kickstart your plastic free journey.
If you would like to get involved and want some tips or to read other people’s experiences, check out the Plastic Free July website.
You can also check out our other blogs for tips, advice, and news updates on living plastic free and sustainably right here.
We hope we’ve given you some ideas for making sustainable swaps and maybe even convinced you to jump on board with Plastic Free July. Don’t forget to drop by our Instagram page to see how we’re getting on with our commitment to living totally plastic free this month!