Plastic Free July and why it matters

Every year, for a month, there is a small organisation that encourages people around the world to go “plastic free” for a month. This is a hard thing to do but it is something I attempt to do each year.

It’s generally accepted that if we use less single-use plastic, it will improve our environment in the broadest sense, but this article isn’t about saving the world in that sense.

The point of me sharing this (aside from a small encouragement for you to consider the level of single-use plastic in your life) is to highlight the process of doing something different.

I generally succeed at quite a few of the “quick wins” for reducing plastic use. I always have a reusable cup to hand; I take my own water bottle with me and I bring my own shopping bags. Now though, these don’t count for much as there aren’t too many opportunities for being out and about. This will change and these habits will stick with me. So, what about everything else?

During July, I’m more aware than ever about the choices I make and the impact that they might have. This can lead to analysis/paralysis where you don’t do anything because there can be too much to consider and it’s impossible to decide. To get round this I stick to a few key values/reasons/rules which means it’s easier to do the thing. In terms of plastic, there’s a balance between price, time and needing the object. I’m going to consider if I can afford the plastic-free alternative, do I have time to make/create the alternative and do I actually need the thing in the first place.

We make so many choices each day that we’re not aware of – sometimes it helps to be aware that you’re making a choice.

This year has started with an audit of the supermarket shop where about 50% of the items are plastic wrapped. The next stage is to look in a bit more detail about what those items are and if they can be replaced with plastic free ones.

I’m not going to be completely plastic free, but for this month at least I will be a little bit more plastic-free than usual. At the end of the month, I can see which actions/habits will stay and which ones won’t. There is no right or wrong on this.

What’s important to me is that this is a great example of making a life change. It feels a bit uncomfortable; I do have to keep reminding myself and I’ll undoubtedly slip up along the way. But I really would like to reduce the amount of single use plastic, so I need to try it out, find what works and keep practicing it.

Plastic free July may not be your thing, but perhaps writing a book July might be, or fitness August will be your thing. Here’s how:

  • Pick a topic
  • Audit how much you do already
  • Be aware of the choices you make not to do it
  • Decide to do the thing (for as long or as little as you want)
  • Reflect and review at the end of the month*

*It doesn’t have to be a month although this is a good period of time to really give it a go, but not too long that it seems unachievable from the start.

For help in choosing your thing, or encouragement and tips for how to make a change, get in touch.

For more about Plastic Free July go here