We don’t know how July became the month for ALL the things (Dry July, Christmas in July …), and we’re not sure how it’s here already, but it is happening people, and that means one important thing here at Little Eco Shop – Plastic Free July! *Cue celebratory jig*
While we’re certainly down for ditching plastic every month of the year, we love Plastic Free July because it draws attention to the escalating plastic crisis and inspires us all to make small steps towards lasting change. Whether you’re a bulk-buying, zero waste maestro, or a reusables novice, there is a way that each of us can make an impact.
Why get involved?
Plastic is a scourge on our beautiful earth. Sure, it’s given us convenient items in packets, but what it giveth, it taketh away a millionfold. Maybe you’ve heard of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch? It’s a collection of marine debris and microplastics spanning the waters from the west coast of North America to Japan, at a size twice the surface area of Texas! There are five hundred dead zones in our earth’s waters, a collective area of 245,000 kilometres squared, where no marine life can survive. 100 million marine mammals die, annually, due to plastic entanglement or ingestion, and the amount of plastic in our oceans is predicted to outnumber fish by the year 2050.
If the welfare of our finned friends isn’t enough to motivate you, microplastics are making their way into our bodies via inhalation and ingestion. Plastic degrades over time, so if you’ve ever sipped from a plastic water bottle or takeaway coffee cup, eaten from a can or plastic takeaway container, dined on seafood, or cleaned out your dryer’s lint tray, chances are you’ve got tiny plastic floaties hanging out in your bloodstream.
Wondering why that’s a problem? Plastic contains synthetic chemicals, which produce inflammation, genotoxicity and oxidative stress inside our bodies and these conditions are precursors to heart disease, cancer, developmental dysfunction and autoimmunity. 300 million tonnes of plastic is produced yearly, and will take five hundred to one thousand years to fully degrade. Plastic is dangerous to human health at every stage of its incessant lifecycle, polluting air, soil and water and contaminating aquatic and terrestrial food chains.
Rejecting plastic products sends a clear message to producers that we won’t tolerate products crafted from, or packaged in, toxic crap. Conscious consumption is having an impact; we are seeing a steep rise in the availability of biodegradable and recycled plastic alternatives, but we need everyone on board, aware of the plastic crisis and doing their best to address it.
This looks different for everyone, and so it should: some will invest in a small stable of reusable stalwarts, some will sing the zero-waste tune from the rooftops, inspiring others to get on board. Positive action could be as simple as foregoing takeaway coffee and making your cuppa at home. Sometimes, we’ll forget our stainless-steel water bottles and reusable shoppers at home, and that’s okay, as long as we vow to do better tomorrow.
Last year, 250 million people from 177 countries got behind Plastic Free July, reducing their household waste and recycling by 23 kilos per person, and diverting 825 million kilos of plastic from oceans and landfills. What’s even more heartening is that nine out of ten participants instigated changes that have become a way of life for them.
What can I do?
There are so many ways to throw your support behind Plastic Free July and I highly recommend jumping over to the organisation’s website for inspiration and a rundown of the wonderful work they do. Rather than overcommitting, choose a few simple measures that are best suited to your lifestyle. Gram-aholic? Raise awareness about PFJ and document your progress via social media. Coffee snob? Cut out the pods and invest in a takeaway coffee cup. P&F member? Get your kids’ school involved, organising a whole-school litter clean-up and implementing a nude food policy. While it’s great to challenge yourself, it’s important to choose sustainable actions – you don’t want to go too big and lose your mojo halfway through the month.
The most effective way to reduce your plastic consumption is to swap single-use items, like straws, plastic bags and water bottles, for reusable straws, shoppers and produce bags, and stainless-steel drink bottles. We want to make it easy for you to get behind Plastic Free July, so we are offering a 15% discount on some of our favourite plastic-free alternatives throughout the whole of next month.
Say goodbye to crappy plastic pegs that snap and leave your clothes in a soggy pile on the grass. Wirepegs are crafted from sturdy stainless steel and available in different diameters to suit your laundry items. They’re also rustproof, long-lasting and fully recyclable.
Reusable coffee cups don’t get more stylish than KeepCup’s gorgeous, functional range. Shock-resistant, with a heatproof silicone or cork sleeve, your coffee addiction will be well served by one of these bad boys. Simply pop in the dishwasher each night and stash in your car, bag or briefcase.
Oasis water bottles
The sleekest and most affordable stainless-steel bottles we’ve seen, there’s an Oasis design to suit everyone and they won’t leach chemicals into your drinking water. Their high-grade steel interior is odour-proof and rust-proof and they’re insulated to house your favourite hot and cold beverages (and keep them that way!)
Agreena silicone wraps
Cling wrap’s washable, non-toxic cousin, Agreena delivers the same properties, sans sea life suffocation and hormone disruption. They’re oven-safe to 220 degrees and multitalented little suckers, also replacing alfoil and baking paper.
Our airtight silicone Stasher Bags are the perfect alternative to plastic zip-lock bags and come in different sizes to house your snacks, lunches, leftovers and bulk food items. These have the added bonus of being freezer safe and heatproof, so you can freeze, defrost and heat up your meals in the same bag, reducing dishes as well as waste.
If like me, your dog recently chewed your hairbrush and it’s time for a new one, consider switching to a bamboo hair styler. With a bamboo handle and bristles and a rubber base, these hairbrushes are 100% plastic-free and have the added benefit of giving a relaxing scalp massage when you brush.
Brush for a Buck
We’ve teamed up with the amazing social enterprise “Brush It On” who donate 100% of their profits to conservation organisations that protect the world’s oceans, forests, and wildlife. During the month of July, we are offering our Brush It On bamboo toothbrushes for just $1 each in an effort to help as many people as possible to reduce their plastic footprint.
Brush It On have also put a lot of time and effort into creating a wonderful resource of eco-friendly tips to help you personally “Waste Less – Save More”. From the 1st July, you can access these tips here.