Welcome to Plastic Free July!
At Time IV Change, we’re committed to making our business plastic free. We aren’t quite there yet but we have come such a long way and we are actively exploring solutions to eliminate the last remaining plastic in our business.
For those of you who have been around for a while, you will know that our approach towards most things is: Small steps towards big changes. Our approach to plastic free July will be no different.
Each day for the month of July we’ll be bringing you a small step that you can take in your everyday to help minimise, or eventually eliminate, plastic.
Throughout the month, we’d love for you to share your tips, tricks and wins. But remember we aren’t seeking perfection and every little bit helps!
To officially join Plastic Free July, you can sign-up here: https://www.plasticfreejuly.org/ The site is also full of useful information to help you remove plastics from your everyday life.
Day One: Plastic Shopping Bags
It’s no longer a surprise that plastic bags damage our environment. Wildlife can become ill or die after mistaking a plastic bag for food and the bags can break up over time creating microplastics that stay in the environment forever.
Say no to single use bags and switch to reusable bags.
The team at Plastic Free July estimate that by switching to reusable bags, each individual could save up to 500 single use plastic bags every single year!
Day Two: Take Away Coffee Cups
We love our morning coffee (or two) as much as the next person but unfortunately take away coffee cups are a no-go zone. Unfortunately, most takeaway cups can’t be recycled (but if you do use them, double check with your council or waste collection agency) and therefore coffee cups take up a significant amount of landfill (or contaminates the recycling collection when incorrectly disposed). Many cups or their lids end up as litter and find their way into our oceans and rivers.
Say no to a takeaway cup – either drink in and use the café’s cup or BYO reusable cup if you are taking it away!
I have at least one coffee a day – so by not using a taking away cup I can divert a whopping 365 cups and lids away from landfill. What will your impact be?
Day Three: Single Use Plastic Water Bottles
Single use plastic water bottles seem to be everywhere! Only a handful make it to the recycling depot and even then, their fate can’t be assured with recent reports aired here in Australia showing bottles being sent overseas to be burned or end up in landfill.
Those that don’t end up being recycled end up in landfill or the in environment, often injuring or killing wildlife.
Refuse single use plastic water bottles and instead BYO.
According to The Guardian, 20,000 bottles of water are purchased every second globally. Be one less person contributing to this demand and take the next step towards being plastic free.
Day Four: Plastic Straws
Plastic straws are the ultimate in waste. They are used for literally a few minutes but stay on the planet forever. They are lightweight and can easily blow or float into waterways and oceans where they can be mistake for food by birds and wildlife.
In the USA alone, 500 million straws are used every single day! Plastic straws are also reported to be one of the most common items found during beach and ocean clean-ups. By going plastic free we can make a massive difference to our marine life.
Day Five: Reducing Plastic Wrapped Fruit and Vegetables
Purchasing pre-packaged fruit and vegetables may mike life a little easier, however, it also creates a great deal of unnecessary plastic waste.
As we know, our recycling systems are under pressure and adding an unnecessary source of plastic adds to this burden.
Similar to other plastic products, a significant amount of fruit and vegetable wrappings end up in landfill where they will not break down or in our waterways in oceans causing illness or death to marine life.
Day Six: Reducing plastics in the bread aisle
If your supermarket looks anything like mine, the bread aisle is plastics galore. The plastic bags used to contain bread can easily end up in our waterways and oceans where they are mistaken for food and bread ties are the very definition of micro plastic.
Day Seven: Week One Recap & Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
So you made through week one! We'd love to know how you found it. As a recap, the swaps we had this were:
1) Saying no to plastic bags by bringing along your own reusable option
2) Refusing single use coffee cups by drinking in or brining along your own
3) Switching single use plastic bottles for your own refillable water bottle.
4) Saying goodbye to plastic straws by going without or brining your own sustainable option.
5) Avoiding plastic wrapped fruit and veggies by bringing your own reusable bags or letting your fruit go free!
6) Reducing plastics for your bread and bakery goods by selecting options wrapped in paper or bringing along your own reusable bread bag.
For most of this week we've been focussing on eliminating plastics, but what about the ones we already have?
Give your existing plastics a second life by reusing them whenever possible. For items you can't use personally look at donating them to charity stores or listing them on buy swap and sell sites where they can be given a second life by others.
Whilst reducing is the best option, proper recycling is so important for managing the plastic that does exist.
You can help by ensuring that you follow the instructions for your local council or waste management authority so that you don't contaminate the collection. For items out of the ordinary you may need to get in touch with collection companies such as TerraCycle who specialise in recycling difficult to recycle products.
Well done on making a difference! Remember that every little bit helps and that we are aiming for progress over perfection.
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