Breaking Up With Plastic: Plastic Free July
Breaking up is hard to do and my recent breakup was no exception. I decided once and for all that I would make a proper effort to end my toxic relationship. I’ve always been conscious of my single-use plastic consumption, trying to minimise it wherever possible. But sometimes I’ll catch myself out. There are moments when I’m at the supermarket and don’t have a reusable bag on me. Moments when I order take out and somehow adopt a whole family of plastic containers in one night. Or when I find myself using snap lock bags to store food. It’s time to make a solid change, which is why I registered for Plastic Free July. Over the next month, I’ll be documenting my progress as honestly as possible and sharing my insights (and pitfalls) along the way.image source: Plastic Free July
Do A Bit Of Research
The best way to get used to the idea of breaking up with plastic is by reading into why plastic pollution is a huge cause for concern. Educating yourself a bit more and learning about shocking statistics will reinforce your motivation to quit plastic for good. Did you know that Australians use about four billion lightweight supermarket shopping bags annually – that’s 170 bags for every man, woman and child in the country! Insane! This overconsumption of plastic then leads to an enormous impact on our environment. The number of plastic bags floating around in our oceans is continually increasing and our beautiful sea life is falling victim. Animals Australia reports that more than 100,000 animals die every year after becoming entangled in or eating plastic bags! This was such a shocking statistic for me and made me really want to make a change. Everyone is different and will have their own personal reason for wanting to break up with plastic. This will act as a great motivator as you move through Plastic Free July!image source: Avaaz
Decide What To Focus On
Be realistic. You can’t cut out all plastic in just one hit. The path to a more zero waste lifestyle takes time and starts with small wins. There’s no need to feel deflated when a tiny bit of plastic enters your life. Step by step, this will start happening less often and it’s something to be proud of! To make my own personal challenge achievable I decided to focus on a few things that I’m committing myself to over the next four weeks.
- No plastic bags AT ALL: Refusing all plastic bags at the checkout and always carrying a reusable tote. (I’ll also be popping a cardboard box in my car for those times that I’ve forgotten to pack a reusable bag)
- No takeaway coffee cups: Always carry a KeepCup with me or sit in for a coffee (this is something that I’ve trained myself to do anyway so it’s a nice way to ease into Plastic Free July)
- Avoid using cling wrap or snap lock bags: I’d really like to try being smarter with my food storage. I’ll even be attempting to make my own beeswax wraps, which also makes use of my old scrap fabric. Win, win!
- Avoid takeaway containers: Eat out at restaurants or cook dinner at home.
- Avoid packaged food from supermarkets: shop at bulk food stores, local butchers and grocers.
image source: Instagram @keepcup
Keep Track Of Your Progress
Keep a notebook or journal of your progress to see what you’re doing well and where to improve. I’ll be doing this to give myself a better understanding of how easy or how difficult my break up with plastic is going to be. I’ll also be holding onto all the pieces of plastic that do manage to enter my life throughout July. I’m being totally realistic here and know that there will be times that I’m going to slip up. At the end of the month I can then go through my journal and my bag of (hopefully small) plastic items and really be able to see how well I made it through Plastic Free July!
If you’re interested in joining the challenge, it’s not too late! Head over to www.plasticfreejuly.org to register and jump on board!