This month we are supporting Plastic Free July, which is a fantastic initiative to encourage everyone to be more mindful of the amount of single use plastic items we use and ‘Choose to Refuse’ where possible. Did you know that over the last ten years we have produced more plastic than during the entirety of the last century, and that approximately 50% of all plastic produced is single use plastic?! One of the biggest challenges that we face with plastic is that it is designed to last forever and therefore doesn’t naturally break down, which is one of the major threats to our marine life. It is estimated that 80% of the ocean’s marine debris has come from the land, resulting in over 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic sea pollution. More than 270 of the world's marine animal species are affected by marine debris, and over 100,000 of these creatures die every year from plastic entanglement. The damage is real and is unacceptable, more change is needed, that is why we feel so passionate about supporting Plastic Free July. Which type of items are considered single use plastic? Single use plastic is any plastic that exists purely for the purpose of one time use, like a drink bottle, sushi soy-sauce fish, bread bags, packaging on retail goods, you get the idea. It’s convenience, but it’s a short-term solution that creates a long-term problem. It’s not until you start to take stock of just how much single use plastic we use in a day without second thought that we can begin to make changes, switching out one item at a time. Here are five of the worst offenders, start by choosing to refuse one, then move onto the next:
- Plastic bags – it is great that our major supermarkets have stopped using single use plastic bags from 1 July, however there are still a lot of other places that use them including take away restaurants and other retail outlets. For Plastic Free July ‘choose to refuse’ all plastic bags that you are offered, and have your own reusable bags/containers on hand to use instead.
- Plastic straws – as lovely as it is having a brightly coloured straw in your favourite drink, during Plastic Free July we’d encourage you to really think about the real cost of that straw. Plastic straws often end up in our oceans and are responsible for a lot of the plastic pollution and damage to our beautiful marine life. During Plastic Free July ‘choose to refuse’ any plastic straws that you are offered, and if you find that you love using straws why not invest in a reusable metal or bamboo straw?
- Disposable coffee cups – we have spoken about the issue surrounding single use takeaway coffee cups in our Blog – Coffee Cups, Recyclable or Not. One of the most staggering statistics we covered is that an estimated 500 billion coffee cups are produced each year and 60,000 kilograms of plastic waste from coffee cups going directly to landfill in Australia each year! To help combat this environmental issue during Plastic Free July ‘choose to refuse’ single use take away coffee cups, and instead take 10mins out of your day to sit down and enjoy a hot drink in the café or invest in a reusable coffee cup? What a fantastic way to significantly reduce the amount of plastic in our landfill whilst also still enjoying that much needed caffeine hit!
- Plastic cling wrap – this is a big one in Australian households; often it’s the go-to for many looking to keep leftovers and lunches fresh. However once we have opened up that sandwich or pulled out yesterday’s pasta from the fridge, what happens to that cling wrap? Straight into the bin… and straight into landfill…! During Plastic Free July ‘choose to refuse’ cling wrap by simply popping your leftovers or sandwich into a re-usable glass container or beeswax wrap. If you’re ready to start moving away from cling wrap use, throw it away into your Soft Plastic recycling bin and notice how resourceful you become when your previous habit is no longer accessible.