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What is Plastic Free July and why should you do it?

What is Plastic Free July and why should you do it?

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Here are some alternatives to single-use plastics.

Here are some alternatives to single-use plastics.

What is Plastic Free July and why should you do it?

Fact: plastic is bad for the environment. But why? And what can we do to fix the problem?

Started in Australia in 2011, Plastic Free July is a global movement which has reached millions of people across the world. Plastic pollution is a major problem and Plastic Free July, which calls for people to stop using single-use plastics for one month, was started with the intention of ridding the world of plastic waste.

Why is plastic so bad?

According to plasticoceans.org an estimated 8 million tonnes of discarded plastic ends up in the ocean every year. Due to our disposable lifestyles, where we use plastic containers once and then throw them away, we’ve caused massive plastic pollution – to the point where one in three marine animals have been found entangled in waste and over 90% of seabirds have plastic in their stomachs.

Over the last 70 years, only nine percent of plastic produced has been recycled – 79 percent ends up in landfills and our oceans and the rest is incinerated.

“…it is estimated there will be more plastic than fish by 2050… It is thought the sea now contains some 51 trillion microplastic particles – 500 times more than stars in our galaxy,” says environment correspondent Ian Johnston.

Since many humans consume sea creatures and plastic also gets into our drinking water, we’re poisoning ourselves too. The toxins and carcinogens in plastic can cause cancers, birth defects, immune system problems, and childhood developmental issues.

What are the single-use plastics I should avoid and what are the alternatives?

Takeaway coffee

Get a reusable travel cup, either a thermo cup in stainless steel like the ones from Klean Kanteen, one of these cool kids’ “Franksters” from Frank Green or an elegant version in glass and rubber from Joco. Keep in mind that most of the coffee places offer you a small discount for using your own cup.

Plastic bags

In Norway we use one billion plastic bags every year, although the number is decreasing thanks to more environmental solutions. Instead, invest in reusable shopping bags in Seaqual – recycled marine waste– or organic cotton mesh from the Norwegian company JustB.eco.

Plastic straws

Don’t use plastic straws if possible. Rather invest in a reusable one made of stainless steel, bamboo or glass. Some of them come in a handy travel case so you can always have them with you. Try organic bamboo straws or Bunkoza steel straws with vegan straw cleaner, both to be found at the zero waste online shop Be:Eco.

Plastic water bottles

Use water bottles in steel or glass instead of plastic. They last a lot longer and they’re easier to clean – put them in the dishwasher or create a lemon juice or dishwashing liquid mixture to clean them. Several online shopping sites like Bee Organic and Be:Eco have some great options, like the beautiful glass versions from Soulbottle and the classic stainless steel evergreens from Klean Kanteen.

Produce bags

These break down into microplastics and aren’t recyclable. Buy your fruit and veg loose instead, or go with organic cotton net or gauze bags. At farmers’ markets you will most often receive your veggies in humble brown paper bags.

Plastic cutlery

They’re bad for the environment and don’t get recycled. Plus, using them multiple times can be carcinogenic. Use eco-friendly reusable sporks and bamboo cutlery from Be:Eco or keep metal cutlery with you if you’re taking lunch to work or buying takeaways. Or use chopsticks.

Toothbrushes

We throw them out every few months, but no parts of normal plastic toothbrushes are biodegradable. Get yourself a bamboo or FSC certified wood alternative that’s sustainably grown like The Humble Company or GeOrganics, or a biodegradable cornstarch toothbrush from The Natural Company. And while you’re at it, try the natural toothpowder in a glass tin by GeOrganics.

Facewash with microbeads

Stop using facewash that contains microbeads – they’re extremely harmful to the environment. You can make your own natural alternatives or buy from organic and natural brands like Rudolph Care,  Nuori and Eir Scandinavia. To further reduce the amount of plastic in your hair and skincare routines, check out Lush Norge for “naked” shampoo bars, serums, shower oils, body lotions and even sunscreen.

Takeaway containers

Order from places you know use biodegradable and recyclable containers, or even ask them if you can bring your own containers when you collect your food. It might seem odd, but explain how it’s beneficial to both of you. Or bring your own packed lunch in a steel bento box or leak-proof round containers from brands like Ecozoi or Yummii Yummii.

How do I get involved in Plastic Free July?

Sign up to be a part of the challenge. You’ll receive weekly reminder emails as motivation from the Plastic Free July website. Follow their advice and tips and hopefully you’ll be able to extend the challenge for longer than one month and live a more sustainable life.

Take the Aurora Sustainability quiz to see how big your carbon footprint really is, follow Aurora Sustainability on Instagram and like their Facebook page for tips on how to live more sustainably and make the world a cleaner, healthier place.

Fact: plastic is bad for the environment. But why? And what can we do to fix the problem?

Started in Australia in 2011, Plastic Free July is a global movement which has reached millions of people across the world. Plastic pollution is a major problem and Plastic Free July, which calls for people to stop using single-use plastics for one month, was started with the intention of ridding the world of plastic waste.

Why is plastic so bad?

According to plasticoceans.org an estimated 8 million tonnes of discarded plastic ends up in the ocean every year. Due to our disposable lifestyles, where we use plastic containers once and then throw them away, we’ve caused massive plastic pollution – to the point where one in three marine animals have been found entangled in waste and over 90% of seabirds have plastic in their stomachs.

Over the last 70 years, only nine percent of plastic produced has been recycled – 79 percent ends up in landfills and our oceans and the rest is incinerated.

“…it is estimated there will be more plastic than fish by 2050… It is thought the sea now contains some 51 trillion microplastic particles – 500 times more than stars in our galaxy,” says environment correspondent Ian Johnston.

Since many humans consume sea creatures and plastic also gets into our drinking water, we’re poisoning ourselves too. The toxins and carcinogens in plastic can cause cancers, birth defects, immune system problems, and childhood developmental issues.

What are the single-use plastics I should avoid and what are the alternatives?

Takeaway coffee

Get a reusable travel cup, either a thermo cup in stainless steel like the ones from Klean Kanteen, one of these cool kids’ “Franksters” from Frank Green or an elegant version in glass and rubber from Joco. Keep in mind that most of the coffee places offer you a small discount for using your own cup.

Plastic bags

In Norway we use one billion plastic bags every year, although the number is decreasing thanks to more environmental solutions. Instead, invest in reusable shopping bags in Seaqual – recycled marine waste– or organic cotton mesh from the Norwegian company JustB.eco.

Plastic straws

Don’t use plastic straws if possible. Rather invest in a reusable one made of stainless steel, bamboo or glass. Some of them come in a handy travel case so you can always have them with you. Try organic bamboo straws or Bunkoza steel straws with vegan straw cleaner, both to be found at the zero waste online shop Be:Eco.

Plastic water bottles

Use water bottles in steel or glass instead of plastic. They last a lot longer and they’re easier to clean – put them in the dishwasher or create a lemon juice or dishwashing liquid mixture to clean them. Several online shopping sites like Bee Organic and Be:Eco have some great options, like the beautiful glass versions from Soulbottle and the classic stainless steel evergreens from Klean Kanteen.

Produce bags

These break down into microplastics and aren’t recyclable. Buy your fruit and veg loose instead, or go with organic cotton net or gauze bags. At farmers’ markets you will most often receive your veggies in humble brown paper bags.

Plastic cutlery

They’re bad for the environment and don’t get recycled. Plus, using them multiple times can be carcinogenic. Use eco-friendly reusable sporks and bamboo cutlery from Be:Eco or keep metal cutlery with you if you’re taking lunch to work or buying takeaways. Or use chopsticks.

Toothbrushes

We throw them out every few months, but no parts of normal plastic toothbrushes are biodegradable. Get yourself a bamboo or FSC certified wood alternative that’s sustainably grown like The Humble Company or GeOrganics, or a biodegradable cornstarch toothbrush from The Natural Company. And while you’re at it, try the natural toothpowder in a glass tin by GeOrganics.

Facewash with microbeads

Stop using facewash that contains microbeads – they’re extremely harmful to the environment. You can make your own natural alternatives or buy from organic and natural brands like Rudolph Care,  Nuori and Eir Scandinavia. To further reduce the amount of plastic in your hair and skincare routines, check out Lush Norge for “naked” shampoo bars, serums, shower oils, body lotions and even sunscreen.

Takeaway containers

Order from places you know use biodegradable and recyclable containers, or even ask them if you can bring your own containers when you collect your food. It might seem odd, but explain how it’s beneficial to both of you. Or bring your own packed lunch in a steel bento box or leak-proof round containers from brands like Ecozoi or Yummii Yummii.

How do I get involved in Plastic Free July?

Sign up to be a part of the challenge. You’ll receive weekly reminder emails as motivation from the Plastic Free July website. Follow their advice and tips and hopefully you’ll be able to extend the challenge for longer than one month and live a more sustainable life.

Take the Aurora Sustainability quiz to see how big your carbon footprint really is, follow Aurora Sustainability on Instagram and like their Facebook page for tips on how to live more sustainably and make the world a cleaner, healthier place.

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