We are living on a plastic planet. This July, you and your family can do your part to reduce single-use plastic, which is better for you and better for the world
Plastic Free July is the perfect opportunity to familiarise yourself with some of the shocking statistics around single-use plastics. 40% of the plastic we produce is designed to be used only once. This means that somewhere on this planet is every disposable razor you’ve ever used to shave your legs, and every bit of cling film which you have used to lovingly wrap your children’s sandwiches.
As if this idea wasn’t frightening enough, did you know that day by day every one of us is actually breathing in, eating and drinking microplastics? Plastic does not biodegrade which is one of the reasons why it’s so harmful. Instead, it simply gets broken down into smaller and smaller pieces, which make their way into our food chain and onto our bodies! So let’s get straight into how you can take action this Plastic Free July!
Just to put that into perspective, here are some figures:
- Every week, we consume 5 grams of plastic, which is the same weight as a plastic bottle cap. Delicious!
- Every 6 months, we consume 125 grams of plastic, which is enough to fill a cereal bowl.
- Every year, we consume 250g of plastic, which is a whole dinner plate’s worth.
- In our lifetime, which is 79 years on average, we consume 20kg of plastic, which is the same weight as two mobile recycling bins. Now, that’s a lot of plastic!
- More than 1 million plastic bags go in the bin every minute.
- There are 66 times as many plastic bottles as there are humans on earth.
- One garbage truck of plastic is thrown into the ocean per minute, and 8 million pieces of plastic pollution enter our oceans daily. 12.7 million tonnes of plastic enter our oceans per year. Plastic makes up 80% of all marine debris studied.
The problem can seem insurmountable when we stop and look at the numbers. But, as with many elements of striving for sustainability, small changes can make a huge difference. That’s where Plastic Free July comes in. It’s a global movement – and we think it’s a great way to make a commitment towards that zero waste, green lifestyle.
What is Plastic Free July?
Founded by Rebecca Prince-Ruiz ten years ago, while she worked with local government in Western Australia, Plastic Free July is a yearly event run by the Plastic Free Foundation. Their mission is simple: get families and businesses to reduce or eliminate their use of single-use plastic during the month of July. The campaign has been so successful that most participants continue their efforts throughout the year.
What we love about Plastic Free July is that you can get involved as much or as little as you like. You can choose the option that best suits you and your family, whether that means reducing your household’s single-use plastic, targeting takeaway items such as bottles, straws and coffee cups, or going completely plastic free. You could take part for a day, a week, the whole month or forever.
For us, this is the perfect initiative. Going completely plastic free might be a little out of the question for you right now, especially if you are a first-time parent and you are just aiming to make it through each day on zero hours of sleep. But you can still make a positive difference by signing up and doing what you can. Our aim is to help people make small changes that suit their lives, we will never bash you with the eco stick – perfection isn’t the goal. Team Y’earn certainly isn’t perfect, we each adopt the changes that fit best with our health, lifestyle and wallet.
Easy wins during Plastic Free July
The Plastic Free July website features hundreds of ideas for ways that you can reduce your use of plastic. Here are our favourites, especially for the parents who read this blog:
- Shop a little more mindfully: Food packaging is frequently made up of single-use plastic. However, shopping locally can help to counteract this issue. Butchers and fishmongers will be happy to give you your meat and fish in your own container brought from home. Bring a basket along to the bakery for your bread. It does take a little more time, but it’s worth it. Whilst we’re on the topic of food, don’t forget to take a peek at our post all about sustainable food brands, and the difference they make!
- Upgrade from tampons and pads: It may come as a surprise to some, but the average sanitary towel is 90% plastic! Even the upper layer of a pad is a woven plastic sheet. If we consider the additional materials, such as the wings, the packaging, the gels inside the pads and the adhesives – one pad contains the equivalent of four plastic bags worth of plastic. It takes around 500-800 years for a pad to decompose (if it can decompose) – and the average woman uses around 11,000 pads in her lifetime! Most pads, however, cannot decompose, but instead they break down into microplastics that end up everywhere and find ways of entering out food chains. Plus, did you know that tampons can actually prolong your period? Why not invest in some period pants or a Mooncup instead? Not only are these options kinder to the planet, but they’re also better for your menstrual experience too.
- Hold the plastic for events: If you’re heading out for a picnic this summer then don’t miss our ultimate guide to a plastic free picnic! Alternatively, if you’re throwing a birthday party for your little one, it can be tempting to go all out with balloons and banners. However, this can be a big cause of plastic waste. Check out our article about how to host a party to remember or a baby shower, without damaging the environment along the way.
- Opt for a reusable bottle with a water filter: 7.7 billion plastic bottles are bought in the UK every year (29 billion in the USA!). This results in an enormous amount of single-use plastic waste. Switching to a bottle with a filter offers a huge amount of benefits – for you and the environment!
What actions will you take this Plastic Free July?
Whatever you choose to do, it is clear that reducing single-use plastic should be a priority for all of us. The only way to do that is to consume less of it. That’s why we are so happy to have you here at Y’earn. By choosing to rent, instead of buy, you are avoiding more items to be produced, packaged and shipped – and potentially end up in landfill.
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If this is your first visit, hello, let us introduce ourselves. We’re Y’earn and we exist to create more love, less landfill. Pretty lofty, right? Well, not really, it’s actually pretty simple. Our aim is to make renting as common as owning so we live more sustainably while helping the community around us.
Y’earn is a parent-to-parent marketplace to rent Baby & Kids items from people in your community or make some cash if you have items you don’t need right now. We’re a sustainable business that plants 🌲, adopts 🐝 and donates to children’s charities. We’re helping each other and the planet, one rental at a time.
You can read more about how Y’earn works here.
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