So you’ve decided to get involved with Plastic Free July, but you’re not sure where to start?
Don’t worry, we’re here to help! We’ve pulled together a guide on how to refuse, reduce, reuse and reimagine the single use plastics in your life for the month (and beyond!).
If you’ve never heard of Plastic Free July, it’s a global movement aimed to reduce plastic pollution. It’s an amazing charity that’s based right here in Australia but operates across the globe. It’s estimated that 326 million participants in 177 countries take part in Plastic Free July! Of course, we’re right behind it and are excited to take on the challenge again this year.
When it comes to reducing plastic, a question that frequently comes up is: “why should I avoid plastic when I can just recycle it?”
Firstly, the recycling system isn’t perfect. Virgin plastic remains the most common option for manufacturers to use. In the latest National Waste Report, recycled content made up just 4% of plastic consumed in Australia. About 85% of discarded plastics were sent to landfills, which now contain at least 50 metric tonnes of plastics.
Recycling is often referred to as the solution to the plastic problem - and of course recycling is much better than sending things to landfills - however, it is production that needs to change. We can also play our part in the solution by reducing the amount of single use plastic we use on a daily basis. That is where this challenge comes in!
So where do you start? A great way to prepare for Plastic Free July is to write down some of the plastics you will aim to refuse, reduce and switch out for reusables. We’re all human and it’s almost impossible to envisage a world without plastic but hey, if we try, we can all start somewhere. It’s the starting that counts!
Write down any items you feel you’ll be able to refuse. You might want to include items you’re already trying to say no to, or something new you’d like to add. We’d suggest adding the most common single-use plastics to this list - if you can - including:
- Plastic straws
- Plastic bags
- Disposable coffee and smoothie cups
- Plastic water bottles
Most of us taking part in this challenge will still use some plastic throughout the month, but is there a type of plastic you could cut down on in July? Add it to your list here to keep your goals visual. Some ideas include:
- Buy whole, unpackaged fruit and vegetables where possible
- Maybe coffee cups are on this list because you know you won’t be able to cut them out completely?
- Make your own food; this is a simple way to reduce the amount of plastic containers and packaging from takeaway food!
Once you arm yourself with a bunch of reusable alternatives to single use plastic, the challenge gets MUCH easier!
- Switch to reusable options to store your food. Our Stretch Lids are great for leftovers or half cut fruits, our Un-Plastic Wrap is home compostable and our Eco Stows can be used in the fridge, freezer, oven (yes oven!) and for storing or serving food.
- Is avoiding plastic water bottles on your list? Then you’re going to need a great reusable bottle! Our Insulated Water Bottle comes in 3 sizes, 500ml, 750ml and 1l and in two colours so there’s an option for everyone! There is no plastic touching your drink inside and it will keep hot for 12 hours and cold for 24 hours with zero condensation. (The 1L in Graphite is a Seed & Sprout team fave - we counted 5 on the table in our last meeting!)
- You’re going to need some strong sturdy bags to refuse any single use plastic bags when shopping. Our Mini Farmers Market Set will become your new best friend in July - and beyond.
Remember, this is your challenge. Focus on your own journey and don’t worry about what anyone else is doing. Get your kids, partner, and/or parents involved if you can - because the more people you surround yourself with making positive changes the easier it becomes. And remember, we’re all in this together!
If you have any questions, ideas, tips or hacks throughout the month be sure to email us at PFJ@seedandsprout.com. We’ll be sharing helpful tips on our community page that you’ll be able to access in July here.
National Waste Report: https://www.environment.gov.au/system/files/pages/5a160ae2-d3a9-480e-9344-4eac42ef9001/files/national-waste-report-2020.pdf