It is June already, I can’t believe half of the year is gone!! Sometimes I wish my perception of time was like in my teenage years. Back in those days I just wanted to grow up quickly but the time seemed to pass so slowly. I suppose when you don’t have too many responsibilities and plenty of time available, maybe time does slow down or at least it feels like that (*sigh*)
Anyway, back to the real topic, I’ve realised July is only 3 weeks away, so it is a perfect time to write about a movement that I really like: “Plastic Free July”.
This initiative started in Perth, Australia in 2011 and it has spread globally, but I think many people have never heard about it. I have been into sustainability for several years and it was only until last year when I started GreenerIdentity’s twitter account that I discovered it and I wish I had known about it earlier.
What is Plastic Free July?
It is a campaign that raises awareness about our growing plastic waste and all the issues that it is causing to the environment. It encourages people and communities (including organisations, schools, businesses) to change their habits and reduce plastic use during the month of July.
I think this has become a real movement and people all over the world are forming part of it, according to the website they have had registrations from people in 159 countries, which is amazing and it makes feel hopeful that this message is really spreading and people are doing something about it.
Plastic Free July is basically a challenge, a pledge, a personal commitment to reducing plastic consumption.
Why a challenge?
Modern life is so busy, we are all the time doing something or simply distracted (so many screens and information hitting us from all directions). People either consciously or unconsciously are all the time setting their priorities: family, work, responsibilities, fun…but unfortunately in many cases the environment doesn’t really make it to their list and I get it, I have been there.
Under these circumstances I think a challenge is extremely useful, especially if you care and you have been wanting to do something but you’ve never managed to get there.
I reckon these are the key reasons why a challenge is positive:
- It pushes us to achieve something that is clear and specific.
- It is done within a time-frame so you can plan things better.
- There are usually many resources and tools available.
- You learn and grow in a short period of time, so the progress is usually significant.
- There are many other people joining, so you can easily find support groups to help you during the process.
- It shows you that you can actually do things differently and it is not so hard – even simple in some cases.
I know many of you are reading this and thinking: How is that even possible? a full month free of plastic? all plastic?
Let me clarify few key things:
- Free: The “free” word in the name can intimidate many people, but the idea is “reducing plastic” in the first place. If you can completely eliminate certain plastic items from your life (e.g. plastic straws) is awesome, but reducing them is a great start.
- Duration: You don’t have to take the challenge for a full month, I know it can be daunting. If you check the registration form in the website, you’ll find 4 options (see below). So you can take the challenge for even one single day during July. Regardless of the duration, this experience helps us being more aware of the amount of plastic we use on daily basis and what we can do about it.
- Plastic: The key element of this challenge is to reduce single-use plastic, in other words, disposable plastic: straws, bottles, bags, packaging, cutlery, coffee cups. Even if some of these items can be recycled, the idea is to the reduce its use in the first place. Remember recycling is important but not the real solution.
So hopefully now the option looks more appealing.
I am already registered, what about you? Are you ready for a challenge? If the answer is yes, just go to the “Getting Started” section of their website which will guide though the full process.
The website has heaps of resources to help you, spend some time browsing the “Living Plastic Free” section.
Also, if you are new to this I think it is a great idea to get some form of support, a couple of friends would be ideal, but even online support would be great. In Facebook there are several support groups, check this list.
From my blog, you can read these posts, especially link number 4 in the list. They are all focused on single-use plastic:
Plastic Bag Series
6 Ways to deal with packaging in the supermarket
7 Ways to avoid disposable plastic on the go
Bottled water and its burden on the planet
Fresh food beyond the supermarket
Plastic Oceans, time to bring waves of change!
In the coming weeks, my main topic will be plastic! I’ll keep writing about it and hopefully providing some tips to use in July. Stay tuned!
That’s it for this week. I hope you are inspired and ready to register in Plastic Free July. If so let me know in the comments below: for how long are you taking the challenge? Are you excited or scared about this challenge? Did you know about it?
These are my social media accounts for more tips about Green living
Thanks for reading,