At the end of July, it is time to reflect on Plastic Free July and ask, what more can be done?
Plastic Free July is a pledge to stop or reduce the number of single-use plastics that we are using. This global movement, which started in 2011, aims to educate and encourage people to look at the amount of plastic we are all using and change to plastic-free alternatives. Initially, this is a one month challenge with the hope that it leads to longer-term changes to a more environmentally sensitive way of living.
Last year Plastic Free July inspired over 120 million people in 122 countries, so if you are feeling alone in this, or feeling swamped with the pressure of reducing your plastic usage then be reassured, that you are one of the many people making positive changes for the good of our planet’s health.
Making the first steps towards going plastic-free, can feel overwhelming, but by making just one change at a time we will all have a positive impact on our plastic pollution problem. So even if you missed this year's Plastic Free July, don’t wait for next year, make changes from today. And for everyone who has started, keep looking for more changes that you can make, even after July.
Maybe you are one of the many households who have switched back to ordering your milk from your local milkman? Fresh milk delivered to your door in a reusable glass bottle is certainly more appealing than milk in a plastic bottle from your supermarket. Or maybe you have switched from a shower gel in a plastic bottle to a soap bar? These seemingly small changes mount up to a large positive impact.
Seemingly simple changes can make a huge difference. An average family gets through one bottle of shower gel per week, resulting in 52 bottles a year, per family, going straight into our environment. By simply switching to a soap bar you have reduced your plastic pollution by 52 bottles per year, just from your household alone. It’s estimated that there are 23 million homes in the UK, so if each household simply switched from shower gel to a soap bar, wrapped in plastic free packaging, this would reduce our plastic usage by 1196,000,000 bottles per year. That is simply from one change, per household, in the UK alone. So by each of us making more and more changes we really are making a difference, so keep the changes going, long past July.
Companies need to hear our opinions on the packaging too. If you are struggling to find a plastic-free version of your favourite product then contact the company directly and ask how they are addressing this. Plastic Free July is the perfect opener for this kind of conversation. We are in this together so don’t be afraid to give companies a nudge too.
Looking online is a valuable resource for finding plastic-free alternatives that haven’t made it to the shops, yet. If we aim to support companies who use better packaging options then over time they will become mainstream and more widely available. If you find a company who is environmentally aware then tell your friends and family about them. Switching to environmentally sympathetic products needs to be part of our everyday conversation. If we share our findings and tips with each other then it will encourage more and more people to make changes as well.
5 Simple Household Switches:
Plastic Free July hasn’t been about perfection, but more about educating ourselves and finding plastic-free solutions to our everyday problems. So If it’s opened our eyes, encouraged us to make more long term changes, then it can be classed as a success. But keep making those changes. Each plastic-free switch makes a big positive global impact. So let’s stop our oceans drowning in plastic, we can do this together.