Plastic-free July is here. Let's see if you're prepared to take on the challenge!
Suitable for eco-friendly veterans and zero-waste living enthusiasts alike, the plastic-free July challenge will allow you to do your part in fighting against plastic pollution while having a bit of fun at the same time. And, at the end of the day, that's what it's all about! Protecting the environment shouldn't feel like a chore, because, well … it isn't! Our world and its safety are of incredible importance – not only because we've got nowhere else to go (even though that should give most of those who prefer to sit on the side-lines and watch from afar something to think about), but also because this pollution is entirely our fault!
Plastics are cheap and easy to use, but, at the end of the day, it's our planet that has to pay the price for our convenience! Well, no more! It's time we took a stand against this and maybe – just maybe –some of the bystanders will finally join in!
What is Plastic Free July
Plastic Free July is a global initiative, headed by the Plastic Free Foundation. Over the two short years since its conception, the foundation has managed to win a multitude of environmental awards, as well as stir the hearts of millions of people across the globe. Last year's Plastic Free July reached over 120 million people from 177 different countries, making significant environmental gains. The participants in 2018's Plastic Free July reported an average of 7.6% decrease in household waste production (about 76kg) and 5.6% decrease in the usage of disposable packaging (about 28kg). This amounts to roughly 490 million kg of plastic waste per year!
What you can do to help
As with most eco-friendly initiatives, the best way to help out is by introducing changes in your lifestyle. The greener (and cleaner) you live, the smaller your carbon footprint will get, and the less damage you'll cause to the environment. And, for most of you, this is more than enough. However, if you happen to be a zero-waste veteran and your household is entirely plastic-free, there's something else you can do – help others out! The plastic problem got out of hand simply because of people's lack of understanding. As we noted above, plastic products are, after all, very convenient – they're cheap, lightweight and easy to use. And, if you didn't know the things that you do, if you weren't, at one point or another, exposed to the information that you've seen or read, chances are that you'd also be happily consuming plastic items in your day-to-day life! So, get out there and spread the knowledge!
Eco Bravo's Plastic-Free Quiz
In our Plastic Free July Quiz, we've prepared for you 6 simple yes or no questions to go through, with the correct answers will be waiting for you when you are done!
Vending machines, snacks and soft drinks
Starting off with one of the most obvious contributors to plastic pollution – throw-away cups and packaging. Coffees, soft drinks and snacks all bring a variety of dangerous elements to the table and are best avoided if given a choice (hint – you always have a choice!). Not only are most of these snacks and beverages bad for the environment because of their plastic packaging, but they also open the door to a plethora of elements, hazardous to your health!
Did you know that about 17% of the rubbish found on UK beaches comes from on-the-go food and drink packaging? Just to put things in perspective - your average Polystyrene or Styrofoam cup takes roughly 50 years to biodegrade. And, according to a study from earlier this year, approximately 3.5 million people across the world buy 27 million hot drinks in disposable cups on a weekly basis. Talk about generating waste…
First and foremost, stop buying things from vending machines - they're not all that tasty anyway. And if you don't think you'll be able to go through your day without a refreshing cup of coffee, or a quick snack, don't worry – there are plenty of ways to do that without harming the environment!
- Bring your own reusable cup for coffee on the go
- Make your own coffee at home and save money
- Prepare snacks at home or stock up on fresh fruits and bring them to your office
Instead of buying pre-packaged meats, fruits or veggies in the supermarket, drop by your local farmer's market! Not only are the products there much better for your health, but they're also much safer for the environment! The farmers are highly unlikely to bother going through the process of individually packaging their products, and most of them are also well-aware of the hazardous impact this has on nature!
Going to the store without having to bother bringing your own reusable produce bags is definitely the easier way to go about it, but it's also the more dangerous way! Yes, reusable bags do require a bit of maintenance, but they're safer for the environment and will end up being cheaper in the long run!
Did you know that the UK goes through an estimated 4.5 billion pieces of throw-away plastic bags per year! That's right – roughly four and a half billion bags are given away in our supermarkets every year!
Just because water is the healthier choice doesn't mean that you should buy it in plastic bottles – they're are just as bad as the ones that come with soft drinks (or rather – they're usually the same).
Did you know that the UK uses about 35.8 million plastic bottles per day? Yes, you heard that right – thirty-five million bottles. And do you know how many of those we recycle? Barely 20 million. This leaves us with an average of 16 million bottles that don't even make it to the recycling plants!
Instead of having to deal with throw-away plastic bottles, you should consider buying bottled water or using a water distiller at home!
Do you shop in Bulk
Shopping in Bulk is good – both for the environment and for your wallet! Bulk shopping eliminates the need for packaging, reducing the carbon footprint of the product and of your household at the same time!
Keep an eye out for good Bulk shopping offers and plan your shopping trips accordingly. Make sure that whenever the opportunity to restock your supplies with healthy, zero-waste product arises, you don't miss it! The fewer shopping trips you make, the lower your carbon footprint will be!
Do you order take-out
Yes, relying on take-out is easy. It takes much less time and effort than cooking yourself at home. All of that comfort, however, comes at an added cost – both to your health and to the environment! Let's face it – most take-out places sell unhealthy, and even straight-up "junk" food. But wait, there's more - almost all of these restaurants also rely on disposable, single-use packaging, cutlery, straws and packaging. Naturally, this will significantly bloat your carbon footprint, generating a lot of needless waste in the process. And that's without even taking the emissions, generated from the delivery service into account!
First and foremost, we suggest that you stick to preparing your own food at home. Yes, it might be a tad more time-consuming, but that's way better than having to rely on heavily processed foods (a lot of which you're likely to regret eating later on!). By cooking your own meals, you get to control exactly what goes into your diet, allowing you to reach any fitness goals that you might have a lot easier. Furthermore, if you've followed our advice about shopping in Bulk, you're most likely dramatically decreasing your carbon footprint just by taking care of your health!
Additionally, you should aim to:
- Always use your own cutlery at home – invest in a good, eco-friendly cutlery set and forget ever having to rely on single-use plastics! Consider getting a separate set to your workplace!
- Get a couple of reusable cups and some stainless steel straws – if you enjoy cocktail parties and friendly get-togethers, make sure that your home is well-supplied with reusable accessories like straws and cups
- Refuse plastic straws and cutlery - if you do happen to order in at some point, leave a small note along with your order, notifying the delivery service that you won't be needing cutlery, straws or other utensils.