Plastic Free July challenge 2021
Welcome to the Plastic Free July Challenge 2021
Plastic Free July® is a global movement that helps millions of people be part of the solution to plastic pollution – so we can have cleaner streets, oceans, and beautiful communities. Will you be part of Plastic Free July by choosing to refuse single-use plastics?Reducing plastic in our lives seems more challenging in our Covid-19 world than ever. But the problem with plastics hasn’t gone away, in fact it has probably got worse as a result of the crisis and our response to it; PPE, increased cleaning and fear of touching or buying loose produce, cafes refusing refill cups and bottles, etc. etc. On the plus side, many of us have had more time at home, with space for cooking from scratch, baking, growing vegetables and ‘making do’ rather than buying new.
Photo by Merch HÜSEY on Unsplash
Why are we bothered about plastic?
Since 1950 the world’s population has almost increased 3 times, whereas the amount of plastic produced each year has increased over 213 times. The current annual plastic production is estimated at 320 million tons, and this is set to double by 2034.Of all the plastic ever produced only an estimated 9% has been recycled and 12% has been incinerated. The remaining 79% has gone into landfill or been abandoned, leaching into the waterways with much of it ending up in our oceans.
The petroleum industry has a vested interest in promoting plastics because their products are used in its production. Plastics have surprisingly carbon-intense life cycles: the emissions from plastics in 2015 were equivalent to nearly 1.8 billion metric tons of CO2. On the current course, emissions from plastics will reach 17% of the global carbon budget by 2050.
Photo by Robin Sommer on Unsplash
Would you like to take the July plastic challenge?
Photo by Frank McKenna on Unsplash
Plastic Free July® is a global movement first started in Australia over 10 years ago. It has inspired an estimated 326 million participants in 177 countries that helps millions of people be part of the solution to plastic pollution – so we can have cleaner streets, oceans, and beautiful communities. Will you be part of Plastic Free July by choosing to refuse single-use plastics? How about making just one plastic free change? You may however feel like trying out a few more or even going the whole hog and giving up all plastics for July. Some folk start with one room, e.g., the bathroom or the kitchen. When your plastic filled products empty as you use them, think about buying refills instead of new plastic packaged, embarking on home-made alternatives, or swapping to plastic free packaging.
How to break out of the consumerist hamster wheel?
When choosing products to buy, ask yourself ‘Do I really need this and if so, is there a non plastic alternative? Can I borrow from a friend, or ask on my local community donation program?’ Search on Facebook or google for your local ‘Freecycle’ site offering free items. Look at planned obsolescence, (notice how your old phone battery or memory stops being much use, the light bulbs break, the printer stops working?) You may already be aware it’s no accident, perceived obsolescence: ‘this old phone of mine doesn’t look as nice as the shiny new ones around’, and the circular economy: an economic system aimed at eliminating waste and the continual use of resources.
We will be making suggestions throughout July and uploading to our Facebook and Instagram accounts to help reduce plastic in your life (particularly those single use plastics) and we welcome your constructive tips and ideas.
We have been inspired in our suggestions by the following groups:
- Plastic Free Challenge https://www.mcsuk.org/plastic-challenge
- The Marine Conservation Society https://www.plasticfreejuly.org/
- Surfers against Sewage https://www.sas.org.uk/
- Stroud based Action on Plastic https://www.actiononplastic.org/
Why not take a look at their websites which are full of useful tips and resources? Alternatives to plastic will carry their own carbon and ecological footprints and we encourage you to do your own research to choose the best option for yourself. The book ‘How Bad are Bananas: the carbon footprint of everything’ by Mike Berners-Lee, updated in 2020 may provide some answers.
Do please join us at our Plastic Free July Picnic this month, see below for details.
Happy Plastic Free July!
Upcoming event - Plastic free picnic, 1-3pm, 25th July 2021
Please join us for a picnic on 25th July 2021 at a beautiful lakeside location in Coombe from 1-3pm. Covid restrictions permitting. Please email us (firstname.lastname@example.org) for the Eventbrite link and further directions.Please feel free to bring your reusable plastic containers along, but we encourage you to avoid single use plastics. Lastly please spread the word to friends, family, at work and when you shop, (money talks!) Speak to retailers when you buy and challenge them to challenge their suppliers to reduce plastic. Have a happy Plastic Free July and thank you.
Wotton Area Climate Action Network