Everyone knows plastic pollutes the environment, but a largely missed fact is that it does the harm well before it winds up in a landfill, incinerator or the ocean. It harms the environment all along its lifecycle, from extracting and refining the fossil fuels that it is made from to the greenhouse gases that plastic releases as it degrades. 

Considering the rate at which plastic is accumulating in the oceans of the planet, it’s predicted that, by 2050, the mass of plastic in the world’s oceans will exceed the mass of all the fish that live there.

It has become such an integral part of our lives that you really have to call special attention to it to realize how much we use and then throw away. That’s the purpose that #PlasticFreeJuly serves!

It’s a global initiative that encourages individuals to become more aware of just how much plastic they’re using – and how they can reduce it. With countries like Canada and India banning single-use plastics, here’s what YOU can do to help!

1. Conduct a Waste Audit

Studying your trash doesn’t seem like the most glamorous activity, but knowing how much and what kinds of waste your home/business produces is the first step to combating it. Recognize the plastic objects that are used the most and then jump to the next step!

2. Opt for Alternatives 

There are alternatives to single-use disposable plastic objects out there, but it takes awareness to break the habit and make a different choice. Once you have an awareness of your habits - look out for their sustainable alternatives. Reusable straws, wooden all-natural toothbrushes and plastic-free safety razors should get you started on the right note.

3. Bulk Food Shopping

From produce to cereal, drinks to snacks, the shelves of grocery stores can be filled to the brim with plastic packaging. Take advantage of the bulk food sections at the grocery store by bringing your reusable container or produce bag to stock up. This is a great way to avoid this plastic waste and even food waste by buying only what you need.

4. Carry your own bag

A simple but highly effective tip to avoid buying single-use plastic bags when running an errand is to carry a cloth tote bag! You can also keep a few cloth bags in your work bag or backpack that you can use to carry things as needed! As an extra step, carry a reusable water bottle and mug to avoid disposable bottles and cups.

5. Take Action 

Plastic Free July is not only about cutting plastic out completely but more so about recognizing the sweeping changes we can make as a society to alter our habits in a way that reduces plastic. You can sign petitions against plastic waste, educate your colleagues on how to read plastic symbols or simply take a moment to reflect on your own plastic usage. Bottom line - take action, as an individual or organisation, big or small, but start today and continue to be #plasticfree as long as you can.
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