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In 2020 it was estimated that 367 million metric tonnes of plastic are produced annually across the globe. 95% of the plastic packaging included in this number is used just once and more than 8 million tonnes of it end up in our oceans every year. The consequences are felt most by our marine and terrestrial species, with life-threatening ingestion of plastic as well as their entanglement in debris leading to injury or death! Even when our plastic doesn’t end up in our natural environments, its damaging effects are pervasive as in landfills and incineration, plastic produces carbon dioxide and methane gases that contribute to global warming.
Trying to live a low waste lifestyle amidst a system established with a single-use and “disposable” mentality poses quite the challenge for everyday consumers. However, the tide is turning! Governments, businesses and individuals are recognising the need for urgent action for the sake of the planet’s and our own safety.
Plastic free July is an initiative run annually that aids millions of participants in making serious, lasting changes to their own consumption. It’s a call to action, to go ditch plastic for the whole month of July, combating our throwaway culture and encouraging us to shift to a culture where the environment (and not convenience or profit) are the priority.
With plastic production set to double by 2040, it's imperative that as consumers we make a daily commitment to reducing our own plastic use. Every dollar you spend on a waste free product is a vote for the kind of world you want to live in; a world that’s free of plastic pollution.
If you’re looking to start your low/zero waste journey or to uplevel the one you’re already on, look no further! Here are a few lifestyle changes and swaps you can make to reduce or even eradicate plastic from your life. Even just a few of these alternatives can help lessen your carbon footprint, prevent the overburdening of waste management systems and prevent land and sea pollution!
Reusable Kitchen Towel
Ditch the kitchen/paper towel! They can’t be recycled and produce methane when they break down in landfill (a gas even worse for the environment than carbon!).
It takes 17 trees to produce a ton of paper and thousands of litres of water - which you can help save by swapping to reusable towels (get crafty and DIY your own like these) or even recycled paper rolls (like these)!
Cling wrap is an obvious plastic perpetrator lurking in our kitchen drawers. It’s a soft plastic that is almost impossible to recycle, releases toxic dioxin in landfill and commonly ends up in natural environments.
Silicone food wraps which can be washed and reused, or give making your own beeswax wraps a go. If you’ve got some reusable containers at home, popping your produce or meal into them is an easy switch you can likely start doing right now! We love our Travel Bowls for this.
Having all your sustainable swaps at home is one thing, but what about the products you need to bring back to it? Unfortunately, while plastic grocery bags have been phased out across Australia, the soft and hard plastics our fresh produce and pantry staples come in aren’t regulated.
Making a farmer's market trip part of your weekly routine often means less packaging, more community engagement and you’ll be supporting Australian growers! Use this Farmers Market Locator to find your local!
For dry goods like tea, baking supplies and even dried soup mix, look for a bulk food store which you can bring your own containers to. This directory can show you where your nearest store is and if there isn’t one in your area, consider these online bulk food options!
Plus, get inspired to do some zero waste cooking with recipes like these, which ensure none of your ingredients are wasted, saving you money and helping the environment all at once!
Plastic Packed Cosmetics and Toiletries
The bathroom is another home space where plastic packaging dominates, filling bathroom cupboards and shower caddies! Swapping out your PET bottles of shampoo and conditioner, cosmetics and toiletries can take some research, but the swaps could save 512 kgs of bathroom waste (the average amount a person produces in their lifetime!) from being landfilled, incinerated or worse - left to pollute the environment for hundreds of thousands of years.
Every year we use 42 million tons of toilet paper globally, requiring the deforestation of 712 million trees belonging to forests which are vital to processing carbon and clean air. Most grocery store rolls come wrapped in soft plastic too! A double, unsustainable whammy!
Zero Waste Cleaning Products
Clean up your act! With more environmentally friendly and plastic free cleaning products that is! Most commercial cleaning agents contain a chemical melting pot of toxins (like ammonia, nitrogen and phosphorus) that pose concerning health risks to people and the natural water bodies that receive household water runoff.
Brands like Pleasant State offer refillables with fewer nasties so you can protect your own health, our oceans and prevent plastic pollution. Alternatively, a few powerhouse ingredients you can find at most bulk food stores like vinegar and baking powder make for quick, easy and cost-effective DIY cleaners. Checkout this citrus cleaning spray or these drain cleaners for some creative cleaning inspiration!
Take Away Cutlery
Difficult to recycle, takeaway cutlery is another common, but easily avoidable single-use pollutant.
Start bringing your own! Keep some cutlery in your bag or car so if you’re out and in need of a takeaway meal you’ll be sustainably well equipped. You don't need a fancy bamboo set or a multitool spoon/fork/knife (though knock yourself out if it’ll help you make the switch!) - just raid your own cutlery drawer!
Disposable coffee cups and takeaway containers
We speak a lot about eradicating disposable coffee cups as it’s been a mission of Pottery For The Planet since 2016. A staggering 500 billion cups are used every year worldwide, and due to the resin lining they are coated with these cups are nigh impossible to recycle. Similarly, the oil, grease and moisture absorbed by takeaway food containers means they can only be landfilled!
Reusables are the most sustainable alternative to single-use plastics (compostable packaging can be even more detrimental to the environment when not properly disposed of and cardboard can rarely be recycled). While reusables come in stainless steel, glass, plastic and bamboo, ceramics are our top pick! They're non-toxic, don’t affect flavour and retain heat (read more on our blog, Level Up Your Coffee And Lunch Breaks).
Our collection of Travel Cups come in 4oz, 6oz, 8oz, and 12oz sizes and Travel Bowls in small and large. Each is handmade, giving every piece a subtle variation that makes it entirely unique and entirely your own.
This year, to celebrate Plastic Free July we have some new additions to our reusable family!
The new Mountain River glaze meets our classic Travel Cup. Forest Moss, also available for Travel Bowls. As well as our limited release of Sandy Travel Bowls! This one won’t last, as our much loved Sandy glaze, (which is usually only available for Travel Cups) is a bestseller!
While the Plastic Free July campaign title contains the words “plastic free”, you don't have to rid your life entirely of plastic all at once! It’s important that as we go about making eco-friendly swaps in our lives that we ensure they are sustainable for us too. Small changes that create lasting lifestyle shifts will have a larger impact when compared to eradicating all plastic from your life for a month before you promptly burn out and give up!
The Plastic Free July challenge offers 3 options:
Sign up today here, and while you're at it, why not get a family member or friend to join you? In our blog, How to reduce your environmental footprint, we touched on how having someone join you on your sustainability journey could help keep you more accountable by making you up to 95% more successful in your commitment!
If part of your challenge involves ditching single-use takeaway cups and containers we have the perfect thing to help you kick off your Plastic Free July!
Our ceramic, reusable Travel Cups and Travel Bowls come in a variety of glazes and sizes to ensure there's something for everyone. Stay stylish while being sustainable on your plastic free journey! Whether you love mother nature-inspired hues or a playful pop of colour, there’s a reusable for you.