It’s Plastic Free July, a month that challenges us to rethink our reliance on plastic. The impact of plastic on the natural world and humanity is growing:
A cartoon by industrial ecologist Roland Geyer shows what’s happened to the 8.3bn tons of plastic produced since 1950. The production and incineration of plastics also contributes to climate change.
A recent study by the University of Newcastle suggests that in an average week humans consume a credit card worth of micro-plastics, the majority of it through water.
Another study by Macquarie University says that plastics in the ocean could be harming ocean bacteria that produce about 10% of the oxygen on earth.
On the macro scale, the food industry needs to take more responsibility for the plastic it uses. We also need to change the language around plastic, from considering it a waste product to a resource and develop the circular economy around plastics.
The good news is that communities all over the world are taking a stand against plastic.
This Plastic Free July what changes will you make in your daily life and community?
A good place to start if you haven’t already, is to tackle the big four: plastic shopping bags, water bottles, coffee cups and straws. With a bit of planning you’ll soon develop the habit of living without any of these items by using cloth bags, reusable water bottles and coffee cups and metal or bamboo straws.
There are many more actions you can take:
- Avoid pre-packaged fruit and vegies – go to farmers’ markets with your own cloth bags and lightweight produce bags for handfuls of greens, tomatoes etc. Ask your green grocer for unpackaged mixed leaves or herbs from out the back of the shop. Better still learn to grow your own.
- Buy goods in bulk – visit one of the many bulk food stores in the Inner West. Simply take your own containers and pick up flours, rice, nuts, dried fruit, legumes, oil, tamari, spices – the list goes on.
- Avoid plastic cling film – use reusable containers or beeswax wraps to store and protect food.
- Personal care products – look for skin care products in jars, or learn how to make your own skin creams and deodorants.
- Take your own container to a café or restaurant for takeaway – most places will be happy to do this. If you’re a carnivore, you can also try this with your local butcher and avoid all that pre-packaged meat at the supermarket.
- Invest in some light-weight bamboo cutlery and pop it in your bag so you can use it when needed.
- Avoiding plastics around dairy products are a bit harder, but you can learn how to make your own, and so avoid the packaging.
Follow the Green Living Centre on Instagram and Facebook for tips on plastic-free living this Plastic Free July. Let us know what you’re doing to go plastic free and you’ll go in the running to win a set of beeswax wraps.#plasticfreejuly #saynotosingleuseplastic