Plastic Free in July
Updated: Dec 7, 2019
Once upon a time, we lived in a sustainable world where people would mend things if they were broken. Items would last an entire lifetime (and then some) and storage containers were made up of glassware or metal. Fruits would be purchased at the market, free of plastic wrap and styrofoam, and fresh bread would be handed across the counter and placed into a cloth bag to take home. Sounds dreamy right?
Well, as the middle class grew, time was of the essence. People sought convenience; a quick fix that would allow for more time to be spent with their families. Plastic or synthetic polymers seemed to be the solution everyone needed. At the time no one could quite grasp what was to come.
Fast forward a few decades, to July 2019, and you will find what is now known as Plastic Free July. This ‘convenience’ era left us with seas throwing up trash with each crashing wave, no sources of ocean water found free of micro-plastics, whales and other sea life being swept to shore with blockages from bags and other plastic waste in their intestinal tracts and birds utilizing trash as a part of their nests. What is more frightening than all of this devastation is that people are not understanding this is a HUGE problem which requires a fast resolution. Many are not taking a strong initiative for what they are doing and continue to make the same poor choices. I ask who is to blame here? The human who grew up in this use-and-toss culture, or the informed, unrelenting person who has the resources and still chooses to toss their single-use coffee cup in the trash. I am not here to point any fingers, what I am here to do is to advocate for a better, brighter, healthier, stronger tomorrow. Getting up an extra 15 minutes to make your own coffee, for example, could positively influence your bank account and well-being by knowing you are a part of the solution, not the problem.
For “Plastic Free” July I want to give you some Tips & Tricks to help ease you into this process and hopefully carry these practices over to, well...August through June.
Find out where you can make improvements. One big issue for me is take-out. I am a single person, who eats for one, so eating out is more convenient. A simple change in my behavior has helped me avoid single-use containers by placing a few of my own reusable ones in my car/bag to take with me when I do go out! Also, limiting my meals out is another great alternative which helped me save some money as well.
Know you DO NOT have to be perfect! Just because we are trained at an early age that perfection is necessary does not mean this is correct! I have found making subtle changes has helped me to achieve my overall goals, and once you start to make small changes the others start to fall in line.
Be an advocate. Sharing information you have with others is so critical in this lifetime. Something very obvious to you might be a complete mystery to some. Understanding that helping spread awareness is key will help you guide people along their journey. Likewise, learning from others can also help in your advocating process. Don’t be afraid to seek out information from people who may have more insight.
Set an example. The best way to teach others is to lead by example. When people see you pulling out your own reusable silverware at lunch, or refilling your water bottle at the nearest water fountain, it then encourages them to do it as well. Seeing is believing and this can be such a powerful tool to help aide in the change.
I am hopeful these tips will help ease you into your plastic-free future! If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below or contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Enjoy the rest of your Plastic Free July!