Plastic Free July is celebrated every year as a global movement to help millions of people be part of the solution to the plastic problem. For the entire month, people refuse to use single-use plastics so we can have cleaner streets, oceans and an all-round healthier planet.
Why Is It Needed
We all know plastic is bad, but sometimes it can be hard to understand the scale of the plastic problem. Plastic makes up a big part of our everyday lives, from our household items to most of our food packaging. Let’s step back and look at how big the issue really is.
- The UK uses 5 million tonnes of plastic every single year, nearly half of which is estimated to be packaging of other products. This is the equivalent weight of 14 Empire State Buildings being used every single year.
- In the UK, we also dispose of nearly 100 billion pieces of plastic packaging every year. If we were to put this all together for one single day, it would fill Trafalgar Square to the height of Nelson’s Column.
- As plastic has been discarded for so long, micro and nanoplastics have now made their way into our water systems and food chains. It is estimated that people are consuming five grams of micro and nanoplastics every week - that’s the same weight as a credit card.
But What Can We Do?
It can all sound very scary when big numbers are thrown around, which is why Plastic Free July was invented to help people reduce their plastic in a manageable and noticeable way. We all know we shouldn’t be accepting plastic straws anymore, but here’s some other ways you can reduce your single-use plastic waste not just for July, but the whole year round.
- Shop In Zero Waste Stores
Zero waste stores are becoming a more common site around the country, and they’re a fantastic way to shop local and reduce your single-use plastic. Just bring your containers along and fill up with everything that you need. Here’s a handy list of zero waste store locations.
- Chewing Gum
If you're a gum fan, it’s always scary when you learn that the base ingredient in most gums is actually plastic. This is what keeps it chewable, but also means gum sticks around for thousands of years. Well, lots of clever brands are now coming up with innovative ways to keep chewing gum chewy but made completely out of natural ingredients. We love Nuud and Milliways
- Natural Clothing Materials
One of the main ways micro and nanoplastics get into our water is through the process of washing our clothes. A lot of modern clothes contain plastics that when washed, get released into our washing machine water. Natural clothing materials not only help keep you cooler and less sweaty in the heat, but also help reduce plastic in our waterways - look for clothes with cotton, hemp and linen.
- Refillable Products
You knew this one was coming. One of the best ways you can reduce your plastic waste is to choose refillable options where you keep the container for life. The amount of companies innovating refillable options is growing every day, from cleaning products, makeup products, and of course deodorant. We personally think Fussy is the best, as the refills are compostable, the formula keeps you smelling fresh for 24 hours and it’s stylish to look at, but we’ll let you be the judge of that.