Plastic Free July

by Khadijah Rahim

Born 10 years ago, plastic free July sprouted from the humble idea of not using plastic in July, and continuing with that goal year round! Plastic has become such an important part of life.  It is seen as essential for daily human needs. Be it drinking, shopping, teaching, plastic has become heavily relied on. But while caught up in the need for plastic, we lose sight of the harm it does. Here’s why plastic has got to go!

  1. Plastic contributes to global warming. Almost all plastics are made from chemicals that come from the production of planet-warming fuels (gas, oil, and even coal). Our reliance on plastic therefore prolongs our demand for these dirty fuels. Burning plastics also releases climate-wrecking gases and toxic air pollution.
  2. Plastic harms our marine friends! An estimated one million marine animals – including fish, turtles, sharks, whales, and birds – are killed each year due to plastic in the ocean. Roughly 100 million tons of plastic cover the oceans accounting for 40% of the ocean surfaces being polluted by plastic. Scientists predict close to 700 species of animals will go extinct due to plastic pollution in the seas. 
  3. If this wasn’t enough, plastic has now made its way into the food chain! Scientists have detected tiny bits of plastic in salt, beer, and seafood. These microplastics break off bigger plastic items, or come from products like car tyres and cosmetics. They even wash off synthetic clothes! Once they enter our rivers, soils and oceans, they can get into the food chain. As of yet, the impacts on our health are unknown.

Taking action protects our environment, sea friends, our bodies, and keeps this planet thriving. Simple changes in daily life make drastic differences!  Take instant action in four simple steps!

  1. Switch to a reusable bottle! Not only is it healthier and safer to reuse, it cuts down on your personal plastic contribution. 
  2. Opt for reusable bags when going grocery shopping. It’s cost effective, cuts down on plastic use, and comes in handy for all those groceries!
  3. Refuse plastic utensils! Better yet, choose reusable utensils and party supplies when planning those special events. Your simple change may just encourage someone else to do the same!
  4. Swap your plastic toothbrush for a sustainable bamboo toothbrush!

Even a small step in the right direction, is still a step closer to change. Be the one to make that change, and be the one to encourage others to make that change. YOU are saving our planet.