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This month marks Plastic Free July, an entire month dedicated to encouraging people to decrease their plastic usage to help preserve our environment and lower carbon footprints. To support the plastic-free movement, with an estimated 326 million participants in 177 countries, we at Bywaters will show you how you can go plastic-free this month and beyond.
So why is plastic bad?
We use plastic for almost everything. It’s versatile and useful, but unfortunately, overproduction and incorrect disposal causes detrimental effects on our environment. Plastic takes more than 400 years to decompose. Therefore, most plastics from the start of the plastic production boom still exist, in some shape or form, six decades later. As of 2015, more than 6.3 billion tonnes of plastic waste had been generated. Around 9 percent of that was recycled, 12 per cent was incinerated, and 79 per cent accumulated in landfills or the environment. The uprising issue of plastic has become so bad it can be found on barren lands, such as Antarctica and 10,975 meters deep in the Mariana Trench – the deepest place known to mankind.
The abundance of plastic pollution has caused direct and destructive effects on wildlife and even ourselves. More than 1 million seabirds and 100,000 marine animals die from plastic pollution every year, through ingestion or getting entangled in plastic waste. In addition, plastics in the ocean break down into microplastics, which are then eaten by animals climbing up the food chain and even ending up in our stomachs. This process is called ‘trophy transfer’. A new study in the journal Environmental Science and Technology states humans may be consuming anywhere from 39,000 to 52,000 microplastic particles a year.
Over 99% of plastic is made from chemicals sourced from fossil fuels. Coal, crude oil, and natural gas are all classified as fossil fuels. They are made up of petrified, buried remains of plants and animals that existed millions of years ago. When we burn fossil fuels, it produces large quantities of carbon emissions that trap heat into our atmosphere, speeding up global warming.
What can you do to go plastic free!
Buy Plastic free products
Avoiding plastic in our plastic-filled world might be difficult. However, finding alternatives to everyday products such as straws and packaging is becoming easier. For example, our most recent partner, Stroodles, is combating single-use plastic by producing 100% edible biodegradable cutlery made out of wheat, with no compromise to the eating and drinking experience. Big-name brands are also becoming more environmentally conscious. For example, Colgate has produced a toothbrush made with 100% natural, biodegradable bamboo and free from plastic packaging.An excellent purchase if you are looking to go plastic-free.
The most sustainable way to avoid plastic, apart from avoiding it completely, is to reuse what you already have. For example, instead of buying bottled water, use a reusable bottle. You may not know it, but most coffee cups from coffee chains contain plastic. So instead of their cups, bring your reusable cup. According to numerous sources, if one person uses reusable bags over their lifetime, it would remove more than 22,000 plastic bags from the environment. Reusing your daily items will help save time, money, energy and resources.
BUY LOOSE PRODUCE
These days it is effortless to avoid packaging waste in your shopping routine. Don’t believe us, Try it yourself!
Supermarkets like Thornton Budgens in North London have cut out plastic completely, inspiring other supermarkets to reduce their plastic usage. Every supermarket now has large bins of loose fruits and vegetables, enabling you to toss fresh produce into your shopping basket avoiding the endless consumption of plastic wrapping. Of course, supermarkets are not the only place you can buy plastic-free produce. Go to your local fruit and vegetable market and support local businesses.
The dangers of plastic have become more and more apparent, especially to our oceans, wildlife, and ourselves. If you do decide to use plastic, make sure you recycle it. Our facility in the heart of London can recycle plastic sustainability and environmentally.