Plastic Free July update #1: Planning is key!
It’s Plastic Free July and a few of the Enviro-Mark Solutions team took the challenge to go either completely or partially plastic free for the whole month. It’s a worthy goal – plastic is one of the biggest polluters of our marine environment (the IUCU estimates that plastic contributes up to 80 percent of ocean debris). Sadly, despite our best sorting efforts, the majority of our single-use plastics are not recycled responsibly. In 2018, National Geographic reported that only 9 percent of plastic globally is recycled. Added to this, plastic production and consumption is estimated to contribute 3.8 percent to our collective global carbon emissions –when it comes to carbon reduction, every little bit counts.
It’s now eleven days in. How is our intrepid team doing? So far so good! We’ve got some tips and tricks to help you on your plastic free journey.
Planning is key.
Plastic is ubiquitous in our lives because it makes shopping, eating and storing food and other products convenient, with no forward planning required. Shannon says that the first step towards a plastic free life is getting organised! She searched out local providers of bulk fresh fruit and vegetables, grains, whole foods and snacks, and stocked up in advance using her own containers. She recommends meal planning your week in advance, so you can buy what you need and don’t get caught out on the run.
Caitlin also suggests being aware of places that wash out and reuse the container your original product came in. She says that “it’s important to remember to look for ways to create that closed cycle system where you can. Just because you can put it in your recycling bin doesn’t mean there isn’t an even better alternative”.
Its amazing what you can make yourself!
Kate usually sources her oat milk from the supermarket which of course is packaged in plastic, so for Plastic Free July she had a go at making her own. With great success! Her homemade oat milk took only 20 minutes to make, and she was able to take it into work for her coffee and tea in her own glass jar.
Seek out natural fabrics.
Nadine is a committed runner, but is finding it tough in the cold mornings! When looking for new thermals, she searched for barely-used, second hand tops made from 100 percent natural fabrics, like wool and cotton. While all items of clothing have an environmental footprint, synthetic clothing can be particularly impactful; a 2016 report from the University of Plymouth found that in an average 6kg clothes wash, more than 700,000 plastic microfibres could be released into our waterways. Buying second-hand is usually kinder on your wallet too!
When you are travelling, make like a boy scout and be prepared.
Plastic free travel is particularly challenging, and the temptation to grab some (plastic-wrapped) food or drink on the run can be hard to avoid. Nadine went on a business trip last week and took her reusable drink bottle, keep cup and homemade snacks along with her so she was always well stocked with water and coffee! She also recommends taking your own soap and refillable toiletries to your accommodation, rather than relying on the single-use mini bottles provided.
We hope those tips have been helpful.
Don’t forget to check out our other Plastic Free July inspiration on our news page.
If you’re doing your own PFJ challenge, let us know! We’d love to hear about your challenges and wins too.