With global pollution becoming more and more of a concern, it has become more important than ever to spread awareness of movements meant to improve our world and leave it a better place. Plastic Free July is a global movement that invites people from all over the world to become a part of the solution and not the problem. Limiting plastic pollution can have effects everywhere on the planet, from the oceans to the city streets and these effects can be wide-reaching if enough people participate. Now that Plastic Free July is here, if you find yourself wondering just how you can contribute, let’s take a look at the biggest step: cutting back on disposable plastics.
Understanding the Problems With Plastic
Every year, nearly 300 million tons of plastic is produced worldwide, and roughly half of that plastic is disposable. Most plastic is petroleum based, which means that it is hard to recycle without the use of chemicals. In addition, petroleum based plastic will not biodegrade over time; instead it simply degrades into tiny particles over the years, and as it does so it releases chemicals into the environment that are toxic. The chemicals eventually make their way into the water and food supply. Even more alarming is the fact that these chemicals are now being found in the human bloodstream and have the potential to interfere with the endocrine system, which in turn can lead to larger health issues.
When you take into account that only 10 to 13 percent of all that plastic is recycled, it means that the rest is residing in landfills, ditches, or natural bodies of water. We are well past the point where a shift to sustainable, environmentally-friendly alternatives to disposable plastics is imperative, which is why events like Plastic Free July are so important.
Knowing What to Look For
Single-use plastics, which are also known as disposable plastics, are items that are only used once before they are either thrown in the garbage or recycled. There is a long list of these, and some of the more common ones include:
- Soda and water bottles
- Plastic grocery bags
- Coffee stir sticks
- Most of the packaging that food comes in
As you can see, it can be quite a challenge to avoid using these, but planning ahead for what you need when shopping, as well as going shopping while being conscientious of just what kind of products have single use plastic.
Handcrafted, Eco-Friendly Alternatives
Some disposable plastics are harder to spot because they contain products that you use repeatedly until they are gone, and this includes things like soap and shampoo containers. Many people have decided to make the swap to soap and shampoo bars, which do not require the container. In addition, many people are making these products out of materials that are better for the environment such as essential oils and natural colourants.
Soaps By Heather is one such artisan, and they have a large selection of all-natural, handmade soap and shampoo bars. These products, such as the Rose Soap, are made from quality plant and essential oils, filtered water, and feature all-natural colourants. These are gentle on your skin, are free of nuts and palm oil, and are vegan.
Soaps by Heather also has some shampoo bars, including some that are made for light or dark hair. These are also vegan and are made from natural ingredients including cocoa butter, olive and rice bran oils, and essential oils. They are gentle on your hair and easy to use – all you need to do is get your hair wet, lather your hands up with the shampoo bar, and then wash your hair.
A smart, eco-friendly addition to these products is one of the beautiful ceramic soap dishes made by Friendly Ceramics. These practical ceramic pieces are carefully and lovingly handmade, and every possible step to reduce environmental impact is taken throughout the process.
These soap dishes are a great alternative to single use soap bottles, are made to last, and add a cheery spot of colour to wherever they are used.
Doing Your Part
Cutting back on global pollution and reducing the usage of disposable plastics is an effort that needs worldwide participation, and every person who chooses to take part in Plastic Free July is doing their bit to make the world a better place. The little things add up, so making a choice to switch from plastic grocery bags to cloth ones or using soap and shampoo bars instead of bottled products is a big step in the right direction. Once you identify all the disposable plastics you encounter or use on a daily basis (and there are a lot of them), you can start to work toward sustainable alternatives.