PLASTIC FREE JULY: HOW TO GET STARTED
A walk through the supermarket aisles can sometimes feel like going plastic free is just a distant fantasy, while recent images of Covid related face masks and gloves washed up on beaches remind us of damage caused by single use plastics.
But there are of course many benefits to plastic: it is tough, strong, cheap and provides good protection. The trouble with plastic is that it just doesn’t decompose. If the author Jane Austin, born in 1775, had had supermarkets in the 18th century, and bought the odd ready meal, her single use plastic packaging would still be in existence today! In fact, every bit of plastic that has been made is still around, unless it’s been incinerated.
The good news though is that there are some examples of ‘better plastics’ – which are widely recyclable and made from recycled material, although these can be quite hard to find. There are also many more plastic free or very low plastic solutions appearing, from veg boxes, to bakeries, zero waste shops and local markets.
So Plastic Free July is an excellent time to take stock of our plastic use and while going ‘Plastic free’ might feel a little over ambitious, finding steps to reduce plastic usage, can be quite straightforward. And once you’ve found the right steps for you, you can make them part of your lifestyle.
Plastic pollution is one of the environmental issues we cover in Giki Zero, which helps everyone understand, track and lighten their footprint on the planet. Whether you’re just starting out, or run your own sustainability network, there is always something more we can do.
As part of Plastic Free July, in Giki Zero, we’re highlighting lots of steps you can choose from that will help you to lighten your plastic footprint on the planet.
Ideas to get started
Try a Switch to glass bottles for your milk this means no more waste from plastic milk cartons, and if you have a local milkman, it comes straight to your door.
Try shopping at your nearest market or farm shop. It is usually much easier to avoid plastic here than in a big supermarket. It helps local businesses get up and running again too after lockdown.
And if you’re looking for a surprise, try to Buy sustainable fish. Not only is this excellent for helping to preserve fish stocks and balance within our oceans, but a lot of plastic waste in the ocean is actually discarded fishing gear- especially the larger pieces. Buying fish which has been sourced sustainably helps avoid this.
Goodbye to plastic water bottles
And of course, one of the easiest steps is to avoid single use plastic water bottles. A bottle of water may take just seconds to drink, but will take 450 years to decompose. And in the UK alone, we buy enough plastic water bottles to wrap around the entire Earth’s circumference every single week! What better reason is there to opt for a reusable water bottle, that can save money too!