By now, most of us have already ditched single-use shopping bags and water bottles to do our bit in the fight against plastic pollution. Plastic Free July, an initiative of the Plastic Free Foundation, challenges you to make more positives changes to reduce single-use plastics for one month, in the hope of creating better habits.
If you’re unable to go completely “cold turkey”, it’s OK to take small steps to begin with - every little helps, as they say. If we all did one thing to reduce our plastic consumption, put together, that would have a huge effect.
To give you an idea of how easy it can be, here are some of the ways Castle Water employees are planning to go plastic free in July:
“I will refill my water bottle.” – Gayle
Investing in a good quality, reusable water bottle will not only save all those single-use plastic bottles being thrown away, it’ll also save you money by not spending so much every time you’re thirsty. Investing in an insulated water bottle will ensure you have refreshingly cold water all day. If you’re out and about, the Refill organisation has an app you can download which will direct you to the nearest café/pub/shop/business that is willing to refill your water bottle for you. The app also covers other types of refills, including tea and coffee, lunches and shopping, so you can spread your refill wings and save our rivers and seas from even more plastic pollution.
“I won’t use plastic straws.” – Andrew
Plastic straws are not only bad for the planet, but they can be extremely harmful to your body. Plastic straws contain polypropylene and Bisphenol A (BPA), which both contain dangerous chemicals. Because plastic is designed to be extremely durable, it doesn’t biodegrade. This means that the plastic straw you’re drinking from will most likely outlive you. Instead of using plastic straws, invest in a glass or stainless steel straw that you can wash and reuse. You can also take on the ‘Last Plastic Straw Challenge’ and join the movement.
“I’m going to buy fruit and vegetables from a local farm shop to avoid plastic packaging found in supermarkets. – Sam
Local farm shops are a great way to reduce your plastic consumption. Farm-to-fork businesses traditionally use less plastic produce packaging than supermarkets. You can also visit refill stores. These stores are popping up all over the country and provide totally plastic-free shopping. You can either take your own containers and refill them there and then, or you can use one of the shop’s paper bags or glass bottles and decant the contents when you get home. Refill shops are usually run independently or as a community project, so by using them you’ll also be supporting your local economy.
“I have reusable shopping bags in the boot of both vehicles to ensure we have them regardless of what vehicle we take to the shop. I also have smaller netted bags to purchase my fruit and vegetables rather than buy pre-packed.” – Jay
Most supermarkets now sell loose fruit and vegetables, so just grab a handful and put them in your basket or use your own netted bags. You’ll need to wash them when you get home, but you won’t need to throw away another plastic bag that will be polluting the environment for hundreds of years.
“I won’t be purchasing any meats in plastic containers.” – Louise
Take your own containers to the butcher/fishmonger/deli and ask if you can use them instead of the plastic bag they usually wrap your food in. The worst they can do is say ‘no’! But if they say ‘yes’, you could be starting a trend. And you’ll have everything ready to just pop into the fridge when you get home.
“My children are growing their own vegetables (carrots and onions).” – Sarah
One of the major culprits of unnecessary plastic use is fruit and vegetable packaging. Many manufacturers use low grade plastic that is hard to recycle. If you have the space in your garden, growing your own vegetables is a great way to reduce your plastic consumption – plus, they always taste better when they’re homegrown!
“Pack my lunch in glass jars or reusable containers.” – Ivy
Buying ready-made sandwiches and salads is a brilliant convenience, but you end up throwing away a huge amount of plastic. With a little extra planning and organisation, you can make sure you’ve got all the ingredients you need to create your own delicious lunches and take them to the office in a lunch box. That way you can go plastic free as well as get the benefit of healthier foods, not to mention the fact that you’ll save yourself a few pounds!
If you change your habits gradually, you’ll soon be making a big difference - without even realising it!
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