This month is Plastic Free July– a global initiative empowering people to be part of the change the planet needs. If ever you’re going to take the plunge and cut down your personal plastic usage, now is the time. Here are our suggestions for making a difference to the planet’s plastic problem.
Find a zero-waste shop
Zero-waste shops and outlets are popping up all over the place. The method varies from shop to shop but, in general, zero-waste shops provide plastic-free alternatives to essential consumables. Many hold dispensers for things like laundry liquid, dish soap, bubble bath and so on, from which people can fill their own containers. Solid shampoo, conditioner, soap etc are zero waste staples, and reusable sanitary products are increasingly making their way onto shelves across the country. Some have more of a focus on food, others on toiletries, and others on household cleaning products, but many have a good range of everything. Explore your local area (or ask a local Facebook group) to find your nearest zero waste outlet.
Vote with your feet
While we wouldn’t advise haranguing workers in plastic-filled shops (they have little to no control over decisions taken at product and packaging level), you can make an impact on retailers by voting with your feet. The more of us who refuse to purchase plastic and products wrapped in plastic, the less inclined retailers will be to sell it. Ultimately, it’s blows which land in the pockets of big companies which make the most difference. You can make this message even clearer by messaging the head office of shops whose plastic usage particularly troubles you.
Spread the word
Pass on tips which work. The plastic-free movement is gaining momentum right now, largely because people further along in their plastic-free journey are so good at sharing their tips and tricks with beginners. It’s hard to know where to start, so the guiding hand of someone who’s been there before and found a way to make it work is invaluable. If you’ve found something which helps you reduce your plastic waste, or which makes the plastic-free lifestyle easier for others, share your story!
It’s not just plastic packaging which is an issue. Plastic is also used during the transportation of products. The more local your product is, the less plastic it’s likely to have encountered in its journey to your home. Plus, you’ll be boosting the local economy and generally making a positive difference to your community in the process.
Write to your local government representatives
Councils and governments can make it hard for plastic producers to get away their wasteful ways by imposing taxes, tariffs, and regulations. They also have the power to focus more efforts on recycling, and to divert resources into research which may help to clean up the planet. But they need a bit of nudging from the public to do this. Write to your MPor contact your local council to add your voice to the growing clamour for change on plastic.