We are officially four days into Plastic Free July, a global movement to help eradicate the use of plastics and therefore cut plastic waste. In my earlier article we explored how much waste Canadians create and how a vast majority is of plastic.
Plastic Free July has already seen around 120 million people around 177 countries pledge to participate in cutting out single use plastics and other plastic goods. The movement was created eight years ago by Rebecca Prince-Ruiz, founder of the Plastic Free Foundation.
The challenge’s website gives tips and tricks on participants on how to eradicate plastic from their lives and keeping plastic from polluting our planet any more than it already has.
Taking the challenge
So as I am trying to change up my life and live a more sustainable lifestyle, I decided to take the challenge.
This week I am going to follow the getting started tips.
Many of the these tips surround bringing your own containers or reusable options. I have already invested in material grocery bags, material food bags and my own non-plastic water bottles. I have also tried to avoid buying fruit and vegetables that have come packaged in plastic. However, I have noticed how difficult finding lose fruit and veggies are in grocery stores. It may seem more convenient to buy you bananas in a bag but that plastic will simple break down and may end up in our oceans. AND bananas already natural packaging so why add unnecessary ones.
Plastic straws have also become the poster boy of the plastic waste world. Americans use about 500 million straws every day and it takes about 500 years to break up. In this Plastic Free July I plan to make sure I don’t use any plastic straws. As suggested by the challenge and by a number of zero waste resources you can do this by bringing your own bamboo or stainless steel straws, asking servers to not include a straw or to drink out of the cup straight. We can also start asking fast food restaurants to carry only paper straws.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Before you have to even recycle your used plastic first ask yourself, before you buy it, whether or not you really need the product. Most of the time we buy things because it looks nice (and most of the time it is the single use plastic packaging that makes it look shiny) or we buy it because it will make use feel good for a few merger seconds. Then the item gets either shoved into the back of some closet or tossed into the trash. Our lives are so filled with clutter that often we don’t use half of the things we waste money on and it just causes more waste.
I have recently started trying to sort my waste and therefore recycling more. Already I have seen a massive reduction in the garbage that goes to the landfill. If I can get it to the point where I no longer have to dump stuff in the trash then I will be very happy. I also am trying to reuse and upcycle some of my trash such as food packaging or old clothing. Turning old t-shirts into cleaning rags has even saved me some money, score!
Bring your own bottle
Plastic waters bottles have a lot of problems not just in the fact we buy a bottle when we are out and discard it right away. Many bottled water companies often over harvest their water sources and leave drought ridden areas without water. Bringing your own bottle will not only be cheaper but will also mean you always have one on you. I have at least three that I use all the time, a plastic one with a pop up straw that I use at home and two insulated stainless steel ones for travelling.
Here in Strathmore for big events there is now a refillable water tank so those with bottles can fill up, free of charge whenever they want. Many towns and cities are doing the same.
For the rest of the month on this blog I will be researching plastic waste and relaying what I have learned. I will also be taking note of how I have seen the changes in my Plastic Free July.