What is it?
It is the start of July, which means that is the start of the month long initiative to try and draw awareness to single-use plastic usage and reduce our consumption of it. It is a global initiative, run by The Plastic Free Foundation, a non-profit organisation founded by Rebecca Prince-Ruiz in Australia in 2011, whose aim is to educate people on the dangers of single-use plastic, and guide them on what they can do to reduce consumption of these plastic products. The aim of plastic-free July is not to try and cut out single-use plastics completely, but just to try and get people to make better choices in order to reduce their consumption. There are over 120,000 people already pledging to take part and make a difference, and this number is already growing.
Why we care.
At Bags of EthicsTM we are heavily focused on producing products that in no way contribute to the consumption of single-use plastics. All of our bags are capable of being reused over 5,000 times, and are made from ethical and natural or hard-wearing fibres and materials which are grown and produced in sustainable, friendly ways – less water, less carbon and non-toxic inks.
By using one of our tote bags you can immediately reduce your consumption of single-use plastic as there will be no need for you to buy plastic bags to carry your shopping. Changes can be made so easily and at no expense to you, but they will have a huge impact on the planet.
Why it matters.
Single-use plastic has hugely damaging effects due to its inability to decompose. Plastic never completely biodegrades, and instead will just break down into smaller and smaller pieces or ‘Micro-plastics’. These plastics, both in their product form, or when broken down make their way into the water course and end up in our rivers, canals and oceans. With over two thirds of the planet covered by ocean, home to thousands of species, these plastics pose a threat to those which inhabit these waters. Up to 12 million tonnes of plastic ends up in the sea each year, which is equivalent to a full rubbish truck every minute. Large pieces of plastic ae choking and trapping turtles and sea birds, and the smaller micro-plastics are being ingested by smaller sea creatures who mistake it for food. This means that the plastic then ends up back on our plate after being ingested by the seafood which we then catch and eat. The plastic also poses further reproductive threats to marine wildlife. Plastics contain chemicals that disrupt the hormones and the reproductive ability of marine wildlife.
What can we do to help?
There are so many ways in which to reduce your consumption of single-use plastics, but here are just a few which can be implemented so easily that there are no excuses for anyone no to try and make a difference.
- Use a tote bag – by using one of our tote bags you can save up to 5,000 plastic bags, through our tote bags ability to be reused over 5,000 times, which if everyone implemented, would have a dramatic effect on the environment.
- Buy a reusable cup – 2.5 billion coffee cups are thrown away each year in the UK, to reduce this we all need to get our morning coffee in a keep cup instead of a single-use plastic one.
- Buy loose – wherever possible, cut your plastic consumption by avoiding fruit, vegetables, and baked goods which are wrapped in plastic. Buying loose and storing in paper or reusable cloth bags will still keep your produce fresh, without the need for damaging plastic packaging.
- Ditch the straws – the reoccurring theme of beach cleans across the globe is beaches littered with thousands of plastic straws. It is estimated that the US alone uses 500 million plastic straws every day, and are a major source of plastic solution. By cutting plastic straws out of your life for good you will help to bring those alarming statistics down.
- Refuse takeaway cutlery and containers – Instead of grabbing single use plastic cutlery to eat your plastic wrapped, shop bought salad, make your own and store it in a reusable container.
- Avoid micro-plastics – micro-beads are tiny beads of plastic which are found in many skincare products like face and body scrubs. These tiny beads of plastic are ingested by small marine wildlife and can seriously harm them. Make sure you buy products that only contain natural exfoliating properties, instead of man-made plastic ones.
- Pet problems – if you have a dog, avoid using plastic poop bags, and instead try and use biodegradable ones.
- Cut out the long-life cartons – long-life milk and juice cartons aren’t recyclable, and therefore are a large contributor to our plastic waste. For items like nut milks, try making your own, to save money and the planet.
- Invite others to take part – the more people on board the better. By informing and educating those around you about the dangers of single-use plastic and giving them these tips, they can make an even bigger difference.
- Reduce Reuse Recycle- By reducing your plastic consumption you will make a huge difference, but also by reusing items you already have instead of buying new, and then recycling any you can will help to reduce your overall waste production.
These tips are just a few of the ways in which you can seriously reduce your consumption of single-use plastic. We believe that this issue is of huge importance, and hope that plastic free July will help people really understand the dangers of their daily habits, and make positive changes for the sake of the planet.
Daisy from Bags of EthicsTM