Can we live a month without plastic?

July is “plastic-free” challenge month. Plastic-Free July is a movement that encourages people around the world to reduce their single-use plastic waste during a day, a week, or the entire month of July.

Rebecca Prince-Ruiz created the first Plastic Free July challenge in 2011 with a small team in Australia, and it has since grown into a global movement with over 250 million participants in 177 countries.

Some facts: It was invented in 1907. It is resistant, durable, lightweight, inexpensive to produce, and it never really breaks down…so useful, we use plastic every day.

Take a moment to look around, yes now look and write down anything you see that has plastic in it. What do you notice? Plastic is everywhere!

Nothing is wrong with that. What is problematic is the plastic that we use only once, and most of the time for less time than it takes to even produce it. And how we dispose it after that.

The single use plastic is our focus this month. Our goal during plastic-free July is to avoid and eliminate disposable plastic.

Some numbers:

About 350 million metric tons are produced per year but only 14% is recycled, and only 2% is efficiently recycled, the rest is either buried in the ground or thrown into the oceans, where it cannot be seen ...

5,000 billion pieces of plastic are currently floating in our seas like plastic bags, food packaging or ropes - which infiltrate our ecosystems.

Did you know that only 9% of all plastic is recycled? The rest of it usually ends up in oceans. As recycling statistics estimate, there will be 12 billion metric tons of plastic in landfills by 2050.

The ocean is expected to contain 1 ton of plastic for every 3 tons of fish by 2025 and, by 2050, more plastics than fish (by weight).

We have found microplastics in human food, honey, table salt, beer, fish fillets.

Plastic damages marine life. Have you heard of the 8th continent? Formed a few decades ago, it covers an area of about 6 times the size of France and is made up of floating waste.

Did you know that 552 million bottles of shampoo end up in landfills each year?

More than 1 million plastic bags are used every minute, with an average "working life" of only 15 minutes.

About 60 million plastic bottles end up in landfills every day, and Americans alone send more than 38 billion bottles of water to landfills each year. This means that 1,500 plastic bottles are thrown away every second of the day. 1,000 people open a bottle of water every second of the day.

Be aware that a bottle can take 450 years to degrade.

It's time to rethink the way we use plastic.

Some solutions:

  • Daily, avoid single-use and disposable plastics - grocery bags, plastic wrap, plastic bottles, and more.

  • Recognize microplastics in disguise - Many cosmetics and beauty products contain “scrubs” which are small plastic beads.

  • Take a Reusable Water Bottle and refill it.

  • Say no to plastic cutlery, straws, take-out containers. If ordering at a restaurant, make it clear that you don't need the cutlery, and always have a kit in the car or bag with metal cutlery.