Why should I care about Plastic-Free July?

Every piece of plastic you’ve ever encountered still exists (plasticfreejuly.org) – every piece of plastic ever made STILL EXISTS.

If you let that sink in for a minute it is truly terrifying: every toothbrush, every bottle, every disposable picnic fork, every plastic bag (approximately 10 billion of which are distributed worldwide every week), every Happy Meal toy, every food wrapper (I’m looking at you bananas in a completely unnecessary plastic bag).

Plastic toothbrushes are lined up on Kahuku beach. This is part of the Ocean Defenders Campaign in which the Greenpeace ship Esperanza MV sails to the Pacific Ocean, sometimes referred to as the North Pacific garbage patch, to document the threat that plastic poses to the environment and sea life.

We live in a world dominated by cheap, single-use plastic – and why?

Because it makes money for large corporations.

Eco-friendly alternatives cost more for big businesses to use and they have no incentive to do this – no-one is holding them accountable or telling them they have to make changes.

What can you do?

  1. Vote With Your Wallet: choose plastic free, support businesses that uphold strong environmental values, buy multi-use products and buy less stuff (more on this another time, but do check out ‘Minimalism’ on Netflix!). Be aware of ‘greenwashing’ – this is when companies claim to be green but may have questionable practises. Examples of this are Method and Ecover, both of which are now owned by SC Johnson – the parent company is linked to animal testing, and poor ratings for polluting and palm oil sourcing (ethicalconsumer.org)
  2. Make Your Voice Heard: sign the petition to ban single-use plastic at change.org (www.change.org/p/london-ban-all-disposable-single-use-plastic). Contact the council – do you have complaints, compliments or suggestions about waste and recycling? Share, don’t stew – www.kirklees.gov.uk/beta/contact-the-council.aspx
  3. Start With Small Swaps: think about your daily routine. How much plastic do you use every day? Some easy swaps include –
  • Replacing worn out plastic sponges (the green/yellow ones) with a natural fibre alternative such as coconut scourers, a bamboo and sisal washing up brush and cotton dishcloths. Avoid microfibre cloths which shed microfibres when used and washed – these end up in our waterways and marine life.
  • Trying a new dental routine, including recyclable electric toothbrush heads, bamboo toothbrushes, toothpaste tabs, natural fibre dental floss and mouthwash tabs. You can also recycle electric toothbrush heads, interdental brushes and floss packets via Terracycle at Grow Refill Store.
  • Refill some of your existing plastic bottles! It’s the easiest way to turn single use into long-term use. You can refill handwash, shampoo, conditioner, washing up liquid, bodywash and bubble bath, surface cleaner and many more. Pop in to Grow Refill Store in Skelmanthorpe and we can show you all of the different eco-friendly options available.

Very few people get close to the ‘zero’ in zero waste, but don’t let this be a barrier to making small, sustainable changes in your own life – there is something strangely satisfying about putting a half-full grey bin out to be emptied, knowing you have significantly reduced your household waste and therefore your contributions to landfill.

And finally, enjoy your plastic-free journey!

Doing good feels good, and sustainable products almost always look and feel nicer than their plastic counterparts – look for products made by small companies that invest in sustainability and local communities.

Erica @ Grow

For more information and contact details for Erica at Grow please visit their directory listing here –