Plastic Free July

 

Okay, so I know the month is halfway over, but even a plastic free day is a plus, eh?  Have a look at this guest post by my sister, environmentalist, educator extraordinaire, yoga instructor, dog rescuer, and now, advocate for a plastic-free world.  Read on and remember, taking even one less plastic bag is a start!

 

Plastic Free July!

As the forefathers wrote in the Declaration of Independence, the unalienable rights endowed to men (and women) of this country are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. Fast forward 242 years and we are seriously messing with those rights as we clamor for a faster, more convenient lifestyle, adding up to a seemingly disposable endgame for all. From our food system to our thirst to develop everything (land and products) deemed profitable, we are creating a world where the pursuit of happiness will be so much harder to attain because of the laissez-fare attitude with which we have treated the earth’s resources. A look at our everyday habits and a willingness to make some not so difficult changes can help us support mother nature in gaining some balance with her ever growing population of human tenants.

Enter Plastic Free July, a practical start to begin the healing. The initiative started humbly in 2011 by a group of office workers in Western Australia. Today they are independent non profit with a mission to build a global movement that dramatically reduces plastic use and improves recycling. Over 2 million people in 159 countries are choosing to be part of the annual Plastic Free July challenge, reducing their consumption of single use plastic in July and beyond. 

Let’s take a quick look at why it’s so important to reduce single use plastic. Below is the Earth Day Network’s fact sheet on plastic pollution: 

10 Shocking Facts About Plastic Pollution

FACT #1 8.3 BILLION Metric Tons (9.1 BILLION US Tons) of plastic has been produced since plastic was introduced in the 1950s. The amount of plastic produced in a year is roughly the same as the entire weight of humanity.
FACT #2 Virtually every piece of plastic that was ever made still exists in some shape or form (with the exception of the small amount that has been incinerated).
FACT #3 91% of plastic waste isn’t recycled. And since most plastics don’t biodegrade in any meaningful sense, all that plastic waste could exist for hundreds or even thousands of years.
FACT #4 500 MILLION plastic straws are used EVERY DAY in America. That’s enough to circle the Earth twice.
FACT #5 Nearly TWO MILLION single-use plastic bags are distributed worldwide every minute.
FACT #6 100 BILLION plastic bags are used by Americans every year. Tied together, they would reach around the Earth’s equator 773 times.
FACT #7 ONE MILLION plastic bottles are bought EVERY MINUTE around the world — and that number will top half a TRILLION by 2021. Less than half of those bottles end up getting recycled.
FACT #8 8 MILLION METRIC TONS of plastic winds up in our oceans each year. That’s enough trash to cover every foot of coastline around the world with five full trash bags of plastic…compounding every year. 
FACT #9 There is more microplastic in the ocean than there are stars in the Milky Way.
FACT #10 If plastic production isn’t curbed, plastic pollution will outweigh fish pound for pound by 2050.

Hopefully, the thought of plastic outweighing fish in the ocean by 2050 or the fact that every piece of plastic ever made still exists today, will catapult you into action. The Plastic Free July website has made it easy to start making changes in your daily routine. They’ve even made a Choose Your Challenge list and posted actions in order of ease and popularity as well as biggest impact so your plan can be well thought out. 

I would like to leave you with some final encouraging thoughts. There are many people doing amazing things to help clean up our oceans and raise awareness about single use plastics. The Plastic Pollution Coalition, The Ocean Cleanup , 4Ocean and Surfrider are just a few of the groups that have made it their business to address this issue. So let the inspiration of Independence Day propel you to take action, so that future generations can have the same inalienable rights we have been gifted by our beloved Mother Earth.

stacey lazos 7.15.18

 

 

 

About pjlazos

writer, blogger, environmentally hopeful
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43 Responses to Plastic Free July

  1. Forestwood says:

    Reblogged this on Something to Ponder About and commented:
    Following are some simply ideas on how I reduce my plastic use. This re-blogged post gives some concerning and encouraging news on the serious and cataclysmic effects of continual plastic use on our environment.
    Some Easy way to reduce plastic use:
    * Take a re-fillable water bottle whenever you leave the house – your kidneys and the environment will thank you.
    * Take a reuseable naturally sourced bag with you for consumables
    * Leave some re-useable bags in your car for groceries
    * If you can sew, make up some carry and tote bags ( there is a guide here) from fabric scraps or that fabric stash you have in your cupboard that is rarely used. Find a tutorial here: https://forestwoodfolkart.wordpress.com/2010/04/13/scrap-bags-a-girl-can-never-have-enough-bags/
    * Refuse a bag for single purchases of bread, fruit, small items
    * Boycott products such as commercial biscuits that have double layers of plastic packaging
    * Reuse any unavoidable plastics as rubbish bags and dispose of thoughtfully. They can be reused in a variety of ways. Plastic bread bags can even be knitted into coat-hanger covers and Christmas decorations!! Who would have thought?
    * Take home your rubbish when out, if rubbish receptacles near beaches are full
    * Use a re-usable coffee cup if you like takeaway coffee
    * Use glass jars or tins to store flour, biscuits (cookies), or baking ingredients in your pantry or fridge
    * Wrap vegetables like celery in damp cloth tea-towels in the fridge
    * Display fresh fruit in a bowl rather than in a thin, soft plastic bag in the fridge
    * Grate and cut your own vegetables – who needs to buy grated carrot and cheese for goodness sake? It takes but five seconds to grate, literally!
    * Buy whole fruit and cut at home, rather than purchase cut rock melon, pumpkin or pineapple, or carrots in polystyrene trays covered with glad wrap
    * Write or tell your local supermarket and ask them to stop packaging items like carrots and apples in plastic bags or glad wrap
    * Shop for vegetables at a local green grocer for fresh individual fruit and vege
    * Save plastic use for toxic items that can’t be disposed of any other way
    * Place recyclable plastic in correct Council bins for re-purposing
    *Use rubber gloves instead of single use disposable plastic gloves where you can

    Make these practices become a habit.

    Liked by 1 person

    • pjlazos says:

      What a great list to adhere to! Many of the things on this list I already do, but some I hadn’t thought of like writing to my local supermarket to ask them to reduce plastics. Thank you for this list. :0)

      Like

    • stacey says:

      This is such a great list! It does take a bit of conscious habit breaking in the beginning, but there is no more time for unconscious behavior.
      PS….I found the stainless steel straws with brushes on Amazon. I’ve also seen mason jars with lids that have a hole for the stainless straws. Ppl are so creative!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Forestwood says:

        Thanks for the tip for the link to stainless steel straws. I will have a look. In our hot weather, a steel straw could be nice if having a smoothie or cold drink. Hopefully in a reusable container.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Forestwood says:

    It is very easy to avoid, or at least reduce plastic use, if you want to. I do think Government and manufacturers could do more to help too. Incentives for deposits on glass bottle returns, reducing packaging around consumables, particularly biscuits!! ( my pet hate), and people taking responsibility for disposing of those darn one use plastic water bottles. The amount that washes up on the edge of my local creek after a mini flood, is disgusting. How hard can it be to take a reuseable water bottle with you when you leave the house in the morning. I haven’t bought bottled water for at least a decade!! I have had reuseable bags, some I have made myself and others purchased, and they look so much prettier than the horrid grey plastic things and wear much better! Love this reminder post of the shocking scale of the problem. Perhaps we will get those to those lazy folk who toss away litter where they stand and continue to think that science and technology will save us from death by plastic, if they think at all. Sorry for the judgmental slightly angry post, but I find inaction on reducing plastics irritating. i am off to investigate the groups you mentioned. Thanks so much for posting and will re-blog!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • pjlazos says:

      I have two reusable stainless steel bottles that I use so I always have one at the ready. I, too, hate the trash that washes up on a shoreline and the amount of plastic bottles that get sent to a landfill each year. People don’t throw trash in their living room so why do they throw it out into nature? Thank you for your thoughtful comments!

      Like

  3. plasticfreemadeeasy says:

    Awesomely passionate post! Love it. Great that you shared and the facts speak for themselves. We have got to start being more conscious about plastic – keep (your sister) sharing and keep people caring!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. andlinsite says:

    Reblogged this on Global Water Alliance.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Robyn Haynes says:

    A sobering post. Sometimes, these issues are so distressing it makes people want to turn away, to somehow deny the facts. The last paragraph gives me heart. I cannot look my grandchildren squarely in the eye without being able to say I am doing something. No matter how small I think my efforts are in the face of such an enormous problem.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Remember people, reduce and reuse come before recycle! Great post!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. gmaterna@dejazzd.com says:

    Great Post!!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Oh those images are horrifying, but so important. Thanks for spreading this important message!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Ken Dowell says:

    Got it. I’m in.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. hilarymb says:

    HI PJ – yes my own habits are pretty good … but life here isn’t that easy – still I try and make sure we follow the recycling rules – though they are difficult to understand. I have cotton bags that I brought out with me, but see them here in various places.

    I don’t know what we do with all the plastic that’s gone before or that we hold and use in the home … it’s a huge challenge. Love the western Australian idea – and I hope the kids will make us stick to our ideals – yet they so often end up following their parents – who may not be responsible.

    Thanks to your sister for highlighting and reminding us of this apparently incurable ‘disease’ we all have … Hilary

    Liked by 1 person

    • pjlazos says:

      Thanks, Hilary. We can all do our part, but ultimately government and manufacturers need to get behind the reduce,
      reuse, recycle idea if it’s going to work. 🤗

      Like

  11. What a mess we humans have made!

    Soda used to come in glass bottles. In New York State, where I grew up, you’d return those bottles to stores and you’d be paid a couple of cents for each one returned. The bottles eventually would find their way back to the soda companies and would be cleaned and reused, I think, rather than recycled.

    That’s but one example of how things have changed.

    Neil S.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Susan Scott says:

    The facts are extremely alarming and surely a wake-up call for each and every person. Some of our stores here in South Africa are introducing paper bags for purchases and are slowly eliminating plastic in the storing of their fresh produce. Not a moment too soon .. the creatures that live on land and sea also have inalienable rights. Thank you for this post 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • pjlazos says:

      I am I favor of paper as a temporary fix, bit we need something more since we don’t want to cut all our trees 🌳 down just so we can go shopping

      Like

    • pjlazos says:

      Oops, hit send too soon….
      To continue – I also have no idea what the solution would look like. Before the 1960s there wasn’t any plastic. People survived, surely, but they weren’t as mobile as we are now. It’s quite a challenge. Still reusable when practical is always the best route and no single use stuff when you can avoid it. Thanks for stopping by, Susan.

      Like

  13. A tremendous post on a subject you know is dear to my heart Pam xxx

    Liked by 3 people

  14. KDKH says:

    I can’t say that I live plastic-free, but I am an avid recycler and have been working to cut way back. I use my own grocery bags and have other containers to avoid zip-lock bags and plastic wrap. This week, I ordered cotton bags to take to the store for my produce — an easy way to cut back even more and to waste less of my fresh fruit and veggies. Thank you for the encouragement and bringing more awareness!

    Liked by 2 people

    • pjlazos says:

      What do the cotton bags look like size-wise and we’re do iou get them? Are they like the clear plastic bags you put, say, a pound of cherries in? Part of the problem is how to get small items like that home without crushing everything. I also bring the reusable bags to the store, but it’s not a cure-all. Also things like meats are wrapped in plastic so unless you go to the butcher and ask for paper wrap (which then may leak everywhere) it’s hard to avoid. For me, there are no-brainers like disposable bottles which I just don’t use (I prefer a refillable stainless steel bottle) unless we are going camping and then I freeze a whole case of water and use it as ice and for drinking as the water melts. I also have the beeswax covers for dishes, but I wonder about how clean they get after use it so I don’t always use them. It’s really hard to live plastic free, but every little bit helps. Thanks for your insight. 🙏

      Liked by 2 people

      • KDKH says:

        I bought two types of reusable produce bags, one a cotton muslin and the other a looser weave. I bought them off Amazon because I could not find them locally. I buy my meat at a butcher shop, and they wrap in paper, which works out pretty well. There could be leakage when I thaw frozen meat, but that happens with the grocery store plastic wrap, too. We usually carry a refillable mug or bottle for our beverages, but every once in a while we slip and get a drink while we are out in a disposable cup. I’ve not yet bought the beeswax covers because we use other types of re-usable storage containers that are glass with (sigh) plastic lids. I prefer reusable storage containers but cannot get away from the plastic lids. I just hope that the constant re-use will make up for it in the big scheme of things, but I’m not sure it does.

        Liked by 1 person

      • pjlazos says:

        Oh, yes the Pyrex glass have the plastic lids. I use them. Haven’t been able to find the larger containers though so I still have plastic containers in the half gallon size. So many daily decisions!

        Liked by 1 person

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