If you’ve been reading Earth911 for very long, you’ll know that we like to focus on how to live plastic free and how it can have a huge impact on our environment – in a positive way.
Plastic was designed to last forever – to never break down. In theory, that probably sounded like a great idea. However, we’ve started using it for everyday disposable purposes. So which is it – forever or disposable (temporary)?
While some plastic is recycled, most of it ends up in the landfills. Check out these statistics about plastic production and usage:
- Did you know that there was more plastic produced in the first 10 years of this century than all of the entire previous century?
- Sadly, it’s estimated that 8 million tons of plastic winds up in our oceans each year. This plastic endangers the lives of sea creatures and has created the Great Garbage Patch.
- What’s more, it’s estimated that by 2050, we’ll have more plastic than fish in our world’s oceans. That’s a pretty startling projection. Remember that most of that plastic does come from people on land.
Live plastic free
Can our planet sustain this rate of plastic waste? Probably not. Fortunately we have more and more eco-warriors standing up to say no. We shared a list who have chosen to live plastic free. These real people are just like you – and you can do what they do too.
Many of them started their plastic free journey by participating in Plastic Free July. That annual challenge is happening right now – and you can join in. It’s an easy way to get your feet wet with a plastic free lifestyle. You’ll learn a lot about how you live and how much of a foot print you’re really leaving on this planet.
What is the Plastic Free July Challenge?
The Plastic Free July Challenge has a very simple principle – attempt to refuse single-use plastic during July. It is a real eye opener for most people about how much single use plastic they really consume.
“Plastic Free July aims to raise awareness of the problems and amount of single-use disposable plastic in our lives and challenges people to do something about it.”
When you take the Pledge to join the Plastic Free July Challenge, you’ll need to look at your consumption habits and plan how to change the ones that bring you in contact with single use plastic.
The great thing is that the challenge is flexible. You can choose to participate for the entire month, only a week or even just a day. It’s all up to you. However long you choose to participate, it’s likely to be an eye opening experience for you.
Tips for avoiding and refusing single use plastic
We come into contact with single use plastic every single day of our lives. It’s everywhere. But, planning ahead can have a tangible impact. Here are some of the top areas where choosing to live plastic free works.
- Make sure you always carry reusable bags in your car. As soon as you unload your groceries, put the bags back in your car. Don’t get stuck without them!
- Be sure you have enough reusable glass or stainless steel water bottles and to-go coffee cups on hand. Carry enough water in your water bottles so you aren’t tempted to buy a bottle when you’re on the go. Make sure to keep a clean to-go coffee cup in your car in case you want to make a pit stop at the local coffee shop.
- Invest in some reusable produce bags. One area many people struggle with is the plastic bags in the produce section of the grocery store. There are plenty of reusable options on the market now. In addition, make sure you aren’t buying pre-cut produce. Save the plastic waste and cut your own.
- Cut back on packaged foods. Even foods that come in cardboard boxes often have a plastic bag inside. Instead, head to the bulk bins at your local grocery store and don’t forget those reusable produce bags. They’ll work for bulk grains, nuts and more too.
- Stock your supply of glass or stainless steel straws. Many people carelessly use plastic straws thinking they are so small that they don’t matter. Their impact adds up so make sure you have reusable options on hand.
These are just some of the biggies. Fortunately, when you sign up for the Plastic Free July Challenge, they’ll email you ideas, tips and recipes each week in July. You’ll likely be grateful for the support on your journey!
Another thing you can do to pitch in during Plastic Free July is to pick up plastic litter. It’ll help make you more aware of how prevalent plastic is in our society, and you’ll get to help the planet a little bit more. Every piece of trash you pick up is one less potential piece that ends up in a landfill or in our oceans.
Join the Plastic Free July Challenge
Are you ready to make the commitment to a Plastic Free July? If you are, head over the to the Plastic Free July Challenge and sign the Pledge. Along with more than 40,000 people, schools and organizations from 90 countries – we can all be part of the solution.
Have you participated in the Plastic Free July challenge? What tips for success do you have to share with our readers?
Feature image credit: amstockphoto / Shutterstock