Had I been more organized you’d be reading this in July, as it is it’s August. Learning how to make plastic-free July every month is still important.
Here’s how to make plastic-free July every month.
Learn how to live life using less single-use plastic.
Plastic-Free July is all about quitting single-use plastic items: forks at a take away stand; a plastic water bottle; disposable coffee pods; a straw; a single use plastic bag; plastic packaging around vegetables or a plastic coffee cup lid.
Simply put the aim is to avoid anything plastic that is intended to be used once and then discarded – a dreadful idea!
According to Susan Freinkel in Plastic: A Toxic Love Story half of the plastic used in the world today is for single-use disposable items.
Reduce single use plastic
In reducing single-use plastic — and before you say: “I can’t do that” — the aim isn’t to be perfect, but attempt to significantly reducing your reliance on single-use plastic.
When I was a child we used far less plastic; no take away coffee cups, no coffee pods or vegetables wrapped in plastic. These newer conveniences are a retrograde step and we can live without them.
Did you know that most take away coffee cups are lined with polyethylene plastic? Hot coffee and plastic? So tasty!
Why use something for a few minutes that will spend the rest of your life in landfill. Some municipalities recycle, but I can’t help but wonder whether recycling means we use more and then don’t feel bad as “we can recycle it.”
Recycling repurposes something, yet aren’t we better not to use it at all? It is time for a change in habits, especially when great alternatives exist.
Coffee anyone? Skip the take away coffee
I have a glass “KeepCup” coffee cup, which is as good as new two years after buying it. The Keep Cup keeps my coffee hot and washes easily. According to KeepCup: “There is enough plastic in 20 disposable cups and lids to make a medium KeepCup.”
I prefer sitting for 10 minutes enjoying my coffee in the coffee shop, as you know if you read my column regularly. I read somewhere that if you are too busy to sit and enjoy a coffee in a coffee shop then you are too busy.
Could your Plastic-Free July encourage you to relax a while?
I’ve never seen the point of straws. My teeth are in great condition without using a straw. I prefer wine to cocktails!
Single-use plastic bags
Why spend money when you don’t have to? In our town a plastic bag costs $0.05 and they’re pretty useless anyway and tear if you put anything vaguely angular in them.
Bags made of thin plastic will outlive you by hundreds of years. Recycling or landfill is the least dreadful option, the worrying end for a flimsy plastic bag is in the ocean wrapped up around sea life. It’s worth considering next time you pay $0.05 for a bag!
I have a spork which is a stainless steel, washable spoon/fork which negates the need for a plastic fork or spoon if eating at a food truck or the market.
How often do you eat take away food? Have you ever counted how many take away, plastic, cutlery items you’ve used in a month? A year? Could you use a spork and wash it instead?
Whilst we are all a little late getting on the Plastic-Free July bus, let’s hope we can make it a Plastic-Free Summer, and a Plastic-Free Autumn and Winter. Will you join me?
To learn more about Plastic-Free July visit: www.PlasticFreeJuly.org.
– This first appeared in The Question newspaper: