How To Have A Plastic Free Summer
Summer brings parties, picnics and eating on-the-go — a perfect time to review our disposable, unsustainable habits. In this post, we’ll highlight how our short-term convenience choices can have long-term impacts.
The Plastic Free July campaign began in 2011 in Perth, Australia to refuse single-use plastic throughout the month. “Single Use Plastics” are any type of plastic product that you can only use one and then throw away. The most commonly used are straws, carrier bags, water/drinks bottles, food packaging, plastic cutlery, and coffee cup lids.
Plastic can take hundreds of years to degrade, leaving huge piles of rubbish in landfills long after we’re gone. Even when you do throw away these plastic items, they can ‘escape’ from bins and trucks, creating accidental litter or ending up in our water systems and the ocean. According to One World One Ocean, “eight out of ten items found on beaches in international coastal cleanups are related to eating and drinking.”
“Choose to Refuse” encourages us to refuse plastic packaging and single use disposable plastics, reuse plastics where possible, and recycle what cannot be reused. The good news is pretty much every kind of single use plastic can be replaced by a reusable alternative.
Here are five ways to reduce plastic this summer:
Always use reusable totes, and bring one wherever you go!
Keep loads of reusable canvas-type bags / material tote bags in your car and always have one rolled up in your handbag etc. This includes produce bags! Choose cardboard and paper packaging over plastic containers and bags. Less than 14 percent of plastic film the fastest-growing type of packaging–gets recycled.
Buy a stainless steel water bottle.
The amount of water used to produce a plastic bottle is 6 to 7 times the amount of water in the bottle. Invest in drinks bottles for your whole family and never leave the house without one. Jerry Bottle makes stainless steel water bottles, as these are the healthiest options available. We encourage people and organisations to enjoy a healthy water habit and are campaigning against single use plastic bottle pollution, as well as providing 100% of our profits to fund water projects in India and Tanzania.
Plan ahead for outings and events.
The key to going plastic-free here is preparation. As tempting as they look, avoid those plastic tubs of pre-made salads and olives in the chilled aisle of every supermarket. Bring your own instead.
Don’t buy disposable plastic plates, cups or cutlery for your next party or picnic. If you’re at home, your everyday homeware should suffice. If you’re out and about, take reusable tubs and jars, and forgo the cutlery for finger food and nibbles. Another great tip is to get a bunch of thrift store silverware for picnics!
Avoid plastic cups at all costs. Even the fancy champagne flute that we all say we’ll wash and reuse (but we know we never do). Proper glassware always adds a touch of class to an occasion, and most good supermarkets now run glassware hire schemes.
Buy a reusable straw!
Kick the disposable straw habit this summer, especially plastic ones. If you must use a straw, try a reusable one made of stainless steel.
Utilise the farmer’s market.
There will be many fruits and vegetables at the farmers’ market that you can’t typically find at the supermarket plastic-free. For example, berries at the supermarket come in punnet plastic packaging.
At the farmers’ market berries come in punnets that can be returned to the farmer after I put the blueberries in my own tin to take home. Grapes can be found without the plastic bags that encase them as the grocery stores. Cherry tomatoes, also, are often set out in cardboard containers.
Enjoy your summer to the fullest knowing that you are benefiting your health and the planet by going plastic free. You can kick off plastic free July right now by purchasing a stainless steel water bottle from Jerry Bottle – remember, your purchase helps to build clean water projects for communities in need!