Going plastic free - why, how?

How we can reduce plastic in our lives? These revolutionary materials have allowed us to consume goods on a mass scale due to their low cost, durability and relatively light weight. However, now we understand the scale of the negative environmental impacts plastics have in terms of fossil fuel use and marine pollution, reducing our personal plastic consumption should be a sustainable priority we all consider engaging with.

Plastic pollution on beach

Plastic-free July?

The Plastic Free July Foundation’s mission is to build a global movement that dramatically reduces plastic use and improves recycling. Their vision is a world without plastic waste. Over 2 million people from 159 countries are choosing to be part of our annual Plastic Free July challenge, reducing their consumption of single-use plastics in July and beyond.

WHY should we try?

Around 8 million tonnes of plastic is estimated to end up in the oceans every year, at this rate, there will be more plastic particles than fish in the seas by 2050. In other words, we will (or we are already) be consuming fish that feed themselves on micro-plastic. Some plastics are known to contain toxic chemicals that leach out into the marine environment. Micro plastics or plastic residue can be found in the blood and tissue of nearly all of us. Exposure to certain compounds within plastics is associated with cancers, birth defects, impaired immunity, endocrine disruption and other ailments.
Many plastics are not easily biodegradable and if they do degrade fully this process, can take hundreds of years. 

HOW do we reduce our plastic use?

The Worldwide Fund for Nature - WWF have a guide to reducing your plastic consumption which focuses mainly on food consumption and the plastic waste it can generate.

Ethical consumer have a good page focusing on removing plastic  bathroom waste, something I have done myself without too much drama. Shaving for those of us that do can be tricky. I settled on a mixture of a rechargeable shaver and a safety razor to get rid of the plastic disposable razors I threw away every other day.

If you use menstrual products the Independant has a guide to reduce the plastic waste than can be generated by tampons and pads.

Clothes and particularly washing them is another source of micro plastic waste that, it is easy to generate without even thinking about it. This guides look at some of the options to reduce clothing plastic waste. Essentially try and keep your clothes for longer (fast fashion is not sustainable), by natural fabrics and perhaps consider washing your clothes less often.

Re-suable nappies generate much less plastic waste than disposables especially if they are made form natural fibres. Having done this with two children it seems daunting compared to the ease of diposables but actually it was fine.



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By Gemma Read
09 Apr 2021
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