By Fredrica Syren a.k.a. Green Mom:
Here we go again, Plastic-Free July challenge is on!!!
Although it might seem as though it would not be much of a challenge for me, who constantly nags about plastic, but the truth is that I’m not by any means perfect. And avoiding plastic IS a challenge … every day, no matter who you are. This July is extra challenging for me because my family and I are on a traveling adventure, so we’re being exposed to plastic all the time. And we do not have the benefits of our home or all our belongings, which could make this easier.
When I first heard about the Plastic-Free July Challenge, I was stoked because — finally — I see people talking about the problems with plastic. The huge plastic pollution problem facing our environment is getting attention now!
It’s hard to miss all the images of plastic waste in our oceans displayed on social media and the internet: birds that had died from eating plastic, and sea turtles entangled in plastic floating around. It’s also hard to miss all the news about the dangers of chemicals such as BPA in plastic, which is in all our food packages and kids’ items. Reading and seeing this should concern us and make us all take a stand against plastic. Let’s get one thing straight: plastic is dangerous because it negatively impacts our health, our environment and our economy.
Plastic is in everything … and I mean EVERYTHING. Take it from a family of five who made a commitment to avoid plastic over 2 years ago but still end up with plastic. And, boy, is this the most frustrating task yet! These days, plastic is found in food, clothes, kitchenware, eye glasses, hygiene products, phones, computers, candy, cars — even gum. Plastic is one of the most wasteful materials in the world. Most plastic (like a plastic bag or plastic water bottle) is used for only a very short time before being discarded.
Plastic is just one of the worst things created by humans and is dangerous because it’s polluting our cities, oceans and waterways; and it’s contributing to health problems in humans and animals. Companies that produce plastic spend a great deal of money campaigning about its safety when the truth is far from that — and we’re not told about it. In the U.S. alone, plastic is the third largest industry, and it’s responsible for 400 billion dollars in shipments. We must remember that the plastic business is producing this volume of material because of consumer demand, so less demand will create less plastic. I challenge you all to reduce your use of plastic today for the health of the planet and marine life, as well as for the health of humans.
There are four single-use plastic items that are, in my opinion, easy to replace: plastic bags, plastic bottles, straws and hot beverage cups. Now, all these commodities can be either simply refused or replaced with a reusable item.
Here is my YouTube video how you can reduce plastic:
Here is my list of 20 ways to reduce plastic in your life for the Plastic-Free July Challenge:
- Skip bottled water, and drink water from glasses or reusable water bottles.
- Bring reusable shopping bags whenever shopping.
- Bring reusable flatware or bamboo cutlery to use for meals at work.
- Buy wooden toys instead of plastic ones.
- Save old glass jars and use as Tupperware and for storing food in.
- Compost food scraps and, therefore, use fewer trash bags.
- Buy compostable zip lock and trash bags.
- Avoid buying things (such as food) packaged in plastic.
- Switch from plastic toothbrushes to biodegradable bamboo
- Buy food in bulk, and use reusable cloth bags for the dry goods.
- Use cloth produce bags when buying produce.
- Use only biodegradable or real plates.
- Eat at home.
- Skip plastic straws and invest in reusable metal straws.
- Make your homemade popsicles in reusable molds for kids.
- Bring a reusable coffee cup when going to the coffee shop.
- Use cloth diapers and wipes instead of disposables.
- Store with bee wraps instead of plastic wrap or foil.
- Use cloth sandwich bags for kids’ school lunches.
- Convert to paperless bills and invoices.