July is plastic free month and over the past few years we have focused on reducing single use plastic in our home and daily lives. It is not easy but as more and more retailers and brands make the shift as well it is becoming easier.
We have all seen the affects of plastic in our oceans and we have all seen our landfills right here in Joburg. We are damaging the environment and there is something we can do about it.
Did you know?
- “In 2016, world plastics production totaled around 335 million metric tons. Roughly half of annual plastic production is destined for a single-use product
- Humans buy about 1,000,000 plastic bottles per minute in total.Only about 23% of plastic bottles are recycled within the U.S.
- It is estimated that 4 trillion plastic bags are used worldwide annually. Only 1% of plastic bags are returned for recycling.
- The main cause for the increase in plastic production is plastic packaging. Plastic packaging was 42% of all non-fiber plastic produced in 2015, and it also made up 52% of plastics thrown away “
One of my biggest challenges to reduce single-use plastic is food packaging and our budget. It is cheaper to buy our fresh fruit and veg in the pre-packed bags because they are often on special. (Especially at Checkers). Meat is also all packaged in plastic. So for now I have focused on other areas of our life that we can reduce it.
- We always refuse plastic bags. Even if I forget my bags I don’t get a bag. My kids are also pretty good with it now. If for some reason bags end up in our house, we eco-brick them or put them with the recycling.
- The kids all have their own stainless steel straws. If we forget them, we do not ask for straws but if they do arrive, we take them and put them in our eco-bricks.
- David and I use our own travel mugs when we get take out coffee.
- We eco-brick everything. We have two bottles on the kitchen counter and we all put stuff in them constantly.
- I don’t buy cling wrap or plastic bags at all for our food. I found some cute little glass bowls with lids on that we use for left overs.
- When plastic bottles do end up in our house we try to incorporate them into our art projects.
The biggest advantage of this is that our weekly refuse is drastically reduced. Most weeks we only have one full black bag – the rest is all recycled or goes into the eco-bricks and compost pile.
My next goal is to focus on reducing single-use plastic for our fresh produce and meat. I know supermarkets are happy to weight meat out in containers you bring, so I am going to see if our local Checkers is keen to do that.
It may not seem like big steps but I do believe all the small actions add up and can make a big impact. We are a very wasteful species and if nothing else this is teaching us to be less wasteful.