Every piece of plastic ever created still exists. Yup, every plastic wrapper, shopping bag, straw, bottle of ketchup, takeout box, lighter, etc. is still hanging out on Mother Earth – and it's piling up. There is plastic *literally* everywhere – from landfills, whales' bellies and trees to beaches, rivers, and the salmon you ate for dinner last night (read more about microplastics in fish here).
Whether you're a Plastic-Free Beginner looking to kick old habits or a Plastic-Free Warrior whose (almost) got Plastic Free July in the (reusable) bag, check out Modibodi's hot take on binning single-use plastic for good.
What is plastic?
The story starts like this. According to Sophie Hirsch of Green Matters, "Plastic is derived from fossil fuels, making the material a non-renewable and unsustainable resource. Plastic has only been in use since 1907, and it has become the preferred material for just about everything."
"Plastic is not biodegradable — it is either downcycled into new plastic (but only 9 percent of plastic actually gets recycled), it sits in a landfill emitting methane, or the sun breaks it down into microplastics. And considering the impact that plastic pollution has on the environment, it's so important to focus on reducing plastic use as much as possible."
What is Plastic Free July?
Plastic Free July "is a global movement that helps millions of people be part of the solution to plastic pollution – so we can have cleaner streets, oceans, and beautiful communities."
And here's the best part: it's not about perfection, and it doesn't advocate for overhauling your whole life in one day. "Instead, it's about reducing plastic in a way that works for your lifestyle," writes Hirsh. It's about planting the plastic-free seed and letting the changes grow! Because "raging war on plastic can be as simple as starting with one habit at a time."
How can I do Plastic Free July?
Ready to reduce your use? Modibodi scoured the internet, so you don't have to. Simply put: choose to refuse one single-use plastic and replace it with a reusable or compostable alternative. And then repeat, repeat, and repeat again. Be a more active friend to Earth this Plastic Free July by giving some of these products & ideas a go:
- Modibodi Underwear: Save up to 17,000 tampons and plastic-lined pads going to landfill by choosing Modibodi underwear every day of your monthly magic & beyond. Shop now.
- Protest plastic-packed fruit & veggies and avoid using those pesky plastic produce bags by bringing your own produce bags! Sometimes, it's as simple as that.
- Buy bulk food when possible and get yourself a bagful of mason jars for useful storage (*poof*, you're also a hipster).
- How do you like your tea? Milk, sugar...and plastic? Turns out, many commercial tea bags are individually wrapped and often contain a plastic-based glue, making them non-compostable and non-biodegradable. It's time to start opting for loose-leaf tea, people.
- Invest in sustainable and eco-fashion brands that take it upon themselves to attack the ever-burgeoning blight of plastic. That is what we call guilt-free consumerism. For example, Everlane, a San Francisco-based clothing company, recently released ReNew: a 13-piece outerwear collection made of a new fabric constructed entirely from recycled plastic bottles. Read more here.
- Tackle the Big Four: plastic bags, water bottles, straws, and coffee cups. That means BYO (bring your own) tote bag, reusable bottle, reusable straw, and reusable cup. Everywhere.
- Try out reusable cutlery. That's right, those flimsy plastic knives never 'cut it' anyway. Check out Ever Eco's Bamboo Cutlery Set here and keep it handy in your handbag.
For a list of other sustainable alternatives, check out this article!
Why should you care?
Life in plastic...is NOT fantastic. The Guardian reveals that the US produces about 234lb (106.2kg) of plastic waste per person per year and that while the US represents just 4% of the world's population, it produces 12% of global waste. And don't even get us started on the waste and emissions generated by plastic water bottles. Read up on this crisis here.
See? That's a whooooole lot of trash. If this stat baffles you, start getting your plastic-toting self in check and begin incorporating a little social responsibility into your lifestyle. It's worth taking a good, honest look at your day-to-day habits. Do it for the planet, but do it for you too!
It will be hard. Most of us live chaotic lives. But, most of us also care about treading a little lighter on the planet. As Harriet Spark of 1 Million Women says: "Plastic Free July is a challenge, so by definition, you're going to have to make a few sacrifices!"
Living your best plastic-free life
Look, at this point, plastic has heavily invaded our lives. We're practically drowning in it. So, to ace this challenge, you'll need to invest some quality time in planning, prep, and personalization. Bron Maxabella of SBS discloses: "For me, saying goodbye to plastic REALLY happened when I stopped saying 'it's okay this one time'." So start today!
Lastly, remember to go beyond yourself. Make like a "plastic bag, drifting through the wind" [Alexa, cue Plastic Bag by Katy Perry] and spread the #PlasticFreeJuly message!
What are you most excited about switching and ditching? Let us know about your eco-friendlier journey in the comments below.