Summer, holidays, fun, and good vibes, it is officially the month of July! This month is also known as Plastic Free July, a global movement started by the founder of Plastic Free Foundation Rebecca Prince-Ruiz, with the goal of reducing plastic waste and avoiding single-use plastics.
By making small changes in our everyday lives, whether it’s at home, at work, or at school, millions of people around the world take part in this campaign every year to help make a difference and save our planet. Some even continue to strive for a plastic free and low or zero waste lifestyle all year around to make an even bigger impact!
The issue with all these plastic products and packaging is that they are mainly designed to be used only once and then thrown away. And though we think most plastics can be recycled and made into other plastic items, only 9% of all plastic waste ever produced has been recycled. The rest of this waste is left sitting in landfills – taking hundreds and thousands of years to decompose – incinerated, or accumulating in our natural environment.
In a previous blog post where we go into further detail about the truth of plastic recycling, more than 380 million tonnes of plastic is produced across the globe, which is roughly the weight of the entire human population combined. One million plastic bottles are purchased every minute, and five trillion single-use plastic bags are used yearly; the actual “work time” of a plastic bag averages to 12 minutes only before it is discarded as trash, never to be used again.
Now you might be wondering, what are some ways we can help reduce plastic pollution? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with some simple and easy ways each and everyone one of us can help in our day-to-day lives.
When it comes to sustainability and leading a more eco-friendly lifestyle, circularity and circular economy can’t go unmentioned. Check out an earlier blog post where we’ve provided 8 simple tips to embrace a circular lifestyle to help you get started on living a more sustainable lifestyle.
The goal of Plastic Free July is to reduce plastic pollution through reducing our use of virgin and single-use plastic products. This is a personal challenge that is part of a global effort that we can all take part in. Visit the official Plastic Free July website for more information on the campaign.
What can we do to reduce single-use plastic?
Here are 10 tips to help you get started!
Coffee Cups: When going to get your morning coffee fix, bring your own reusable cups, tumblers, or bottles instead of using takeaway cups. If more people started using their own cups, every single day, we would greatly reduce the number of single-use, takeaway cups drastically.
- Dental Care: these days, there are many sustainable alternatives to plastic toothbrushes, toothpaste tubes, and dental floss. For example, many brands have come out with their own bamboo toothbrushes that are completely biodegradable! Another option is to go for toothbrushes that use exchangeable heads.
- Shopping Bags: When out shopping, make it a habit to bring your own reusable bags and refuse plastic bags at the store. This way, we are always prepared and no longer need to take a new, single-use plastic bag that quickly ends up in the trash.
- Reusable Straws and Utensils: Bringing your own straws and utensils can greatly reduce single-use plastic items. Every time we order a drink or get takeout, they come with plastic utensils that are made to only be used once.When we make it a habit to refuse plastic utensils and are prepared with our own that are much more durable, we can reduce plastic waste significantly.
- Groceries: You might have noticed that lots of fruits and vegetables in the supermarket are wrapped in unnecessary plastic packaging. When buying groceries, go for fruits and veggies that are not individually packaged, and use your own grocery bags to avoid using more plastic bags.
- Shop Smart: Think twice before making a purchase, ask yourself if you really need to buy something, and how much of it is necessary. Is this something I need? How much of it do I really need? It is about making conscious and eco-friendly choices everyday that will make a difference in the long run.
- Join Beach/Park Clean Ups: All kinds of trash is floating (and sinking) in our oceans, littered in nature, polluting the planet, and harming wildlife. Many animals mistake plastic for food, and many get stuck in these plastic items that can harm and kill them. By 2050, there could be more plastic in our ocean than there is fish. By organizing or joining clean ups with your friends, family, and community, we can help restore nature.
- Sanitary Products: There are several alternatives to single-use pads and tampons on the market. From menstrual cups to period underwear, tampons without plastic applicators, washable cloth pads, and many more plastic-free options are now available. Try out what works for you and what is comfortable, and perhaps you will find a menstrual product that is right for you and great for the environment too.
- Inspire The People Around You: Spread the positive energy with those around you, and inspire your friends and family to make small, everyday changes that can make a great impact. By living more sustainably and cultivating good habits that can help reduce plastic, we are helping our earth, the plants and animals, the environment, and each other.
- Care: Caring for ourselves, caring one another, caring for our environment, and caring for the things we own and use. When we have compassion and empathy, when we take care of the things we use in our daily lives, and take into consideration the bigger picture that is the wellbeing of our planet, we will notice that all things are interconnected, and we can truly make a difference if we work together.
The Plastic Free July has a list of great tips and advice on what you can do to join the movement: https://www.plasticfreejuly.org/get-involved/what-you-can-do/
What does Koup do to reduce the use of virgin plastic?
At Koup, we work towards reducing plastic waste and pollution by using recycled plastic bottles as the main component of our signature cinnamon t-shirt; each t-shirt is made with an average of 8 recycled bottles and cinnamon extracts. This way, we save tonnes of plastic bottles from ending up in landfills and in the natural environment. Recycled polyester also saves energy and greenhouse gas compared to virgin plastic.
Eco-friendliness is something we can all practice and incorporate into our daily lives. Small habits can lead to big changes over time, and we can all take part. As a brand, we believe that a circular economy is the model that will truly reduce waste, save resources, and reshape the industry altogether. By designing with the end-life of our products in mind, we take into careful consideration the long term effects of our actions, and aim to restore our earth through sustainable ways.
Join us and millions of others in this movement! Whether it’s at home, at work, or at school, we can all make small changes in our everyday lives, and make a big difference!
Sources / Photo Credits: