Sustainable Living

What to Know About Plastic Free July

It’s hard to believe it, but it’s July again! Every year, Plastic Free July inspires millions of people to rethink their plastic consumption and take small but impactful actions to reduce single-use plastics in their daily lives. This month-long challenge, initiated by the Plastic Free Foundation in 2011, raises awareness about the environmental impacts of plastic pollution and encourages sustainable habits.

Alison and I look forward to this month as a chance to dive deep into issues around plastic, share our experiments with changes, and adopt new and better ways of going about daily life.

Next week Alison will be sharing some of our favourite plastic swaps discovered over the years!

This post contains affiliate links. By clicking on these links, we may earn a small commission on applicable purchases. This is done at no extra cost to you. We are a part of the Amazon Associates program as well as other affiliate programs. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy & Disclaimers page.

The Problem with Plastic

Plastic pollution is a pressing environmental issue. Here’s why:

  1. Longevity: Most plastics are not biodegradable and can take hundreds to thousands of years to decompose. Single-use plastics have become so much a part of our daily lives that it seems we often don’t consider how unreasonable it is to use an item for a few moments that will last for hundreds or even thousands of years.
  2. Marine Life Threat: Plastics often end up in oceans, posing severe threats to marine life through ingestion and entanglement. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is estimated to be made up of approximately 100,000 tonnes of plastic which impacts sea life in many ways
  3. Toxic Chemicals: As plastics break down, they release harmful chemicals into the environment, affecting both wildlife and human health. Plastics have inflitrated the food chain and in a 2019 study it was estimated that individuals in America may consume up to 70,000 particles of microplastic each year.
  4. Waste Management Issues: Only a small percentage of plastic is recycled. The rest often ends up in landfills, the natural environment, or sent elsewhere for some of the poorest nations to manage.

Goals of Plastic Free July

Plastic Free July encourages individuals, communities, and businesses to:

  • Refuse Single-Use Plastics: Opt for reusable alternatives instead of disposable items.
  • Reduce Overall Plastic Use: Find ways to minimize plastic usage in everyday life.
  • Recycle Responsibly: Learn about proper recycling practices to ensure that recyclable plastics are correctly processed.
Cork Yoga Mat

Getting Started

Here are some practical steps to participate in Plastic Free July:

  1. Evaluate Your Plastic Use: Take note of all the single-use plastics you encounter in a day. This includes items like plastic bags, bottles, straws, and packaging. Take the Pesky Plastics quiz on the Plastic Free July website to get started.
  2. Find Alternatives: Look for reusable options such as cloth bags, metal or glass water bottles, and beeswax wraps.
  3. Make Small Changes: Start with manageable changes. For example, bring your own coffee cup to your local café or switch to bar soap instead of liquid soap in plastic bottles. I love my home refillery!
  4. Support Plastic-Free Products: Choose products with minimal or no plastic packaging. Support brands that are committed to sustainability. I just shared about my CSA box, which gives me access to plastic-free foods, here!
  5. Educate and Inspire Others: Share your journey on social media or talk to friends and family about the benefits of reducing plastic use.

Challenges and Tips

Going plastic-free can be challenging, especially at first. Here are some tips to help you stay on track:

  • Plan Ahead: Carry reusable items like bags, utensils, and containers when you go out.
  • Be Persistent: Change can be slow. Don’t be discouraged by setbacks.
  • Join a Community: Connect with others participating in Plastic Free July through social media groups or local events. Sharing tips and experiences can provide motivation and support.
  • Educate Yourself: Learn more about the environmental impact of plastics and keep up with new sustainable products and practices.

What next?

By taking part in Plastic Free July, you’re not only helping the environment but also inspiring others. Every small change contributes to a larger impact, and together, we can make a significant difference. Check out the results from Plastic Free July 2023 campaign here!

Are you ready to take the pledge? For more resources and tips, visit the Plastic Free July website and get inspired to join others around the world as we reduce our reliance on plastic!

What’s the most difficult area for you to reduce reliance on plastic?

Let’s keep in touch! Sign up to receive email updates from A Sustainably Simple Life below:

Submitting your email address gives permission for A Sustainably Simple Life to send you email updates.

One Comment

What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments!