Plastic Free July is around the corner - and we’re gearing up to say no to single use!
Did you know Plastic Free July began back in 2011 in Australia? From its humble beginnings it has now become one of the most popular environmental campaigns, more than 177 countries took part last year.
And while it’s heartwarming to see the movement grow - the scale of the problem is still huge.
#FOMO and fear of a dead planet has us motivated to do bigger and better this year.
Recycling is not enough
“Since plastic was invented, we've produced more than 6.3 billion tonnes of plastic waste globally, and only 9% of this has been recycled.”
Even when comprehensive recycling schemes are in place that doesn’t mean it is actually being recycled. A recent BBC 3-part expose revealed just how much UK plastic waste ends up on illegal landfill sites in Malaysia.
Remember the 3 R’s?
Let us nudge your memory, a tanned Jack Johnson was educating us in dulcet tones in 2009; Reduce, Reuse and the third was recycling in that order. “If the first 2 R’s don’t work out and if you’ve got to make some trash, don’t throw it out, Recycle”
But you’d be forgiven for not always keeping this top front and centre in your mind. As a species we are consuming more than ever, we “now extract 60bn tons of resources each year, almost double the amount in 1980.” In the last 10 years we are consuming twice the amount of fashion and 60% of our textiles are now artificial fibres. And of course our appetite for plastic as also increased. Nat Geo reported global increases in plastic production, “from 2.3 million tons in 1950, grew to 162 million in 1993 and to 448 million by 2015.”
We need to recalibrate our consumption and quickly. It’s 2019 and we need more than three R’s now, we need 7.
There are alternative choices we can make as consumers, to opt for no plastic or less plastic. Zero-waste Facebook groups have amassed huge numbers of concerned citizens channeling the collective hive mind to make better decisions.
But here’s something important to remember: the system is set up for you to fail.
Our ‘busyness’ makes us more susceptible to convenience, and invariably, more waste. Better choices are often more expensive, and out of our price range. Determining what can be recycled is often a postcode lottery.
So as you take on your Plastic Free July challenge in a way that makes sense to you and your friends and family - if you do fail one day, don’t get down on yourself, get angry!
Meet with like-minded angry anti-plastic warriors and make a fuss.
Take photos of the trash you find and use social media to let brands know that you won’t put up with this, write to your MP, demonstrate in a public place, get creative with the waste you do find.