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Ways to reduce plastic use during Plastic Free July

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Plastic, one of the greatest inventions of the 1900s, now surrounds us in nature – in the form of waste. Although 9% of all plastic produced has been recycled, 79% of plastic are collected in landfills or, sadly, nature. Whether you hike in nature or swim in the ocean, you are bound to spot a stray plastic bottle or wrapper. Thousands of marine animals are killed by consuming plastic that litters the ocean. Moreover, toxic gasses are released when plastic begins to degrade, which affects the habitats of animals, plants, and even humans. This problem will only grow as we continue to use single-use plastic.

Plastic Free July is a movement to help raise awareness of the problem of single-use plastic. The movement has inspired over a 100 million people to adapt their lifestyles to reduce their plastic use. The movement encourages a more sustainable way of living without giving up the little joys in life. Aside from composting, growing some of your own produce, and recycling, you can make some other small changes to reduce the use of single-use plastic products. By making some changes, you too can reduce your plastic use.

Making small changes at home

Eliminate your use of single-use plastics by:

  • Using reusable material bags for shopping.
  • Drinking water out of a reusable water bottle.
  • Avoid using plastic straws and purchase a multi-use straw that you can clean after each use.
  • Using wooden pegs to hang your washing, instead of plastic pegs.

Reuse single-use plastic:

You cannot always avoid purchasing plastic products, such as milk bottles or yogurt tubs. Aside from recycling plastic, you can reuse these products around the home and garden.

  • Reuse milk bottles in the home by storing your home-made cleaning products in the bottles.
  • Organize your garage with old peanut butter jars or yogurt tubs to sort and store screws and smaller tools.
  • Make some birdfeeders out of old plastic soda bottles or use the bottles as hanging planters for your garden.

Reducing plastic use in the workplace

Reducing the use of single-use plastic should not only happen at home. Encourage co-workers to take part in Plastic Free July and reduce the office’s plastic use as well.

  • Pack your own lunch for work, instead of buying lunch that is wrapped or packed in plastic containers.
  • Avoid using disposable cups and water bottles, by bringing your own mug or water bottle to wash and reuse.
  • Recycle the recyclable plastic, such as bubble wrap, milk jugs, and the bottles of cleaning products.

Recycling

Not all plastic is recyclable and single-use plastic, such as plastic bags and coffee cups, cannot be recycled.

Even if you are committed to recycling plastic regularly, it can only be recycled up to three times before the quality of plastic is degraded to a point where the plastic can no longer be used.

While recycling might not be the ultimate solution, it is still worthwhile to recycle the recyclable plastic in your home that you might not be able to reuse.

Recycle recyclable plastic.
©Nareeta Martin

Collectively, all the small changes you make will contribute to make a bigger impact and lead to a cleaner environment. In conclusion, you should reuse plastic products and recycle them. However, it is smarter to switch out your plastic products, for more sustainable ones. You might want to start small by using material bags, like our ‘Go Green’ cotton shopper, instead of plastic bags…

To read more about Plastic Free July and how to live more sustainably, visit their website: https://www.plasticfreejuly.org

To purchase your ‘Go Green’ cotton shopper bag from Briza, visit: https://shop.briza.co.za/go-green-cotton-shopper.html

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