We know the stats: a piece of plastic will sit in landfill, in our oceans and on our streets forever. And recycling isn't the solution; only half the waste we put in our recycling bins actually gets recycled. As a community we simply need to produce, and use, less plastic.
That's why the Plastic Free Foundation created Plastic Free July in 2011. The aim is to raise awareness about the problem and to encourage people to avoid using plastic in the first place.
But going plastic free can be incredibly overwhelming. Instagram is full of smug people with their one (glass) jar of annual waste, with handy tips on how to find plastic free tea bags (who knew there was plastic in them!).
So if making your own toothpaste isn't your thing, I have a few simple tips to help you reduce your plastic waste day to day. Every little bit counts.
1) Swap It Out
You've heard this before, but simply swapping throw-away plastic items with reusable ones can save tons of plastic waste from ending up in landfill.
Swap out: take away coffee cups
Our HuskeeCup reusable coffee cups is one of of our most popular items. The fins on the edges of the cup stop your hand getting burnt while keeping your coffee hotter for longer. And best of all, the HuskeeCup is made from recycled coffee husks!
Swap out: plastic drink bottles
There's no reason not to take water with you everywhere when you have a Memobottle drink bottle. The Memobottle is a stylish flat drink bottle that goes where no other bottle can go - in your handbag, laptop bag, even a clutch purse! We never leave the house without it.
Swap it Out: Cling Film
The humble Glad Wrap has kept our food fresh for decades now, but think about how much cling film you use daily. It's a lot, isn't it. Times that by the population of the developed world and that amount gets pretty scary.
Instead of using Glad Wrap, why not use Beeswax Wraps. They are organic, last over 12 months, and are compostable at their end of life! They are perfect for wrapping lunches, bread, cheese, vegetables - just don't use them on raw meat. We love them, and they have saved so much glad wrap usage in our home.
2) Don't Bring It In
Use the power of consumer choice and let supermarkets know we don't want plastic! How? Bring your own grocery bags and fruit and veggie bags so you don't use the ones provided. It sounds like a pain but it's amazing how quickly bringing your own becomes a habit.
We've partnered with Melbourne brand Toko to create an Eco Shopping Starter Kit. The Kit contains 2 super-strong (and surprisingly big) grocery tote bags, and three mesh fruit and veggie bags. It's everything you need to make your next grocery run plastic free.
3) Reuse What You Have
It's pretty common to use supermarket plastic shopping bags as bin liners, and in fact that's the number one reason people give for not using reusable bags.
But when you look around your house you'll see that everything is a bin liner! Reuse every piece of bag-shaped plastic as a bin bag before you dispose of it. This includes the inner bag in cereal boxes, the little plastic bags take away food often comes in - you'll be surprised just how many plastic bags make their way into your home even without the supermarket ones!
With just a little bit of effort we can make changes that will help prevent the world from drowning in plastic.
Good luck with Plastic Free July!