July is Plastic Free Month
Plastics what’s the big deal?
50% of plastics in the world are made up of lightweight single-use products and packaging materials. The disposal process of these synthetic non-biodegradable plastics has become a problem for the environment, animals, and people.
In 2018 it was estimated between 4.8 million and 12.7 million metric tons of plastics were discarded into the ocean annually, by countries with ocean coastlines.
Once in the ocean, sunlight and seawater react with the plastics. This causes it to become brittle, breaking down and turning into microplastics. These harmful by-products are then ingested by various types of wildlife, such as zooplankton, invertebrates, fish, turtles, birds, and mammals. In addition, ocean currents above and below the sea spread the debris over a wider area, and carry the waste back to the shore, where it affects land wildlife.
Cleaning the oceans is a mammoth task and would cost billions, and as such is not a viable solution. The alternative option was to reduce the use of plastics, which would reduce the amount of waste needing disposal, and so the idea of Plastic Free Month was created.
Plastic Free Month
Join the movement and become part of the solution to help reduce plastic pollution. By replacing single use plastics, you use, one step at a time. Together we can have a massive impact on the overall output of single use non-recyclable plastics. The idea has already been embraced by a million plus participants in 190 countries since Plastic Free Month’s began in 2011. By 2021 those taking part had reduced waste by 2.1 million tonnes.
The Plastic Free Foundation
Setup by Rebecca Prince-Ruiz (the founder of the Plastic Free Foundation) and a small team in local government in Western Australia, it has grown to become one of the most influential environmental campaigns in the world. Six years after its initial set up in 2011, Plastic Free July, led to the formation of the Plastic Free Foundation Ltd, an independent, not-for-profit charity that would support participants and grow the campaign. Plastic Free July has become a key initiative that allows the organisation to work towards a world free of plastic waste.
Their core mission values are:
- Honesty and integrity
- Inclusivity of people, ideas, visions, and approaches.
- A focus on providing solutions.
- Authenticity and collaboration.
- The belief that small changes add up to a big difference.
To find out more about Plastic Free Month and some great ideas on how you can play your part in helping and improving the environment, head over to Plastic Free July – Be Part of the Plastic Pollution Solution.
Working to make a difference.
Click on the following link to see how a lab technician and technical assistant at Edinburgh Napier University pioneered a new recycling initiative that has to date (December 2022) re-routed 3,000kg of plastic from general waste to dry mixed recycling. Lab Plastic Recycling Project (napier.ac.uk)
By Mo Almas
Read more about the Environment and the world in our article on re-introducing animals to Scotland.