Plastic Free July: A campaign month with everyday relevance

To protect the environment, the Plastic Free July promotes conscious handling of (disposable) plastic. Take on the global challenge!

plastic free july

Author: House of Eden

Happy Plastic Free July! Rethinking time, taking on a challenge and actively promoting environmental protection. Plastic-free July is about deliberately avoiding the use of (disposable) plastic, i.e. plastics that are not biodegradable, for the whole month. Those who take on this challenge join a global movement and, together with more than two million people worldwide, can be part of the solution to the problem of plastic pollution.

The relevance of Plastic Free July

It's no secret that plastic waste pollutes our cities, forests and especially our seas and oceans. Rather, it is an omnipresent, media-discussed topic. And with good reason: Plastic threatens ecosystems, biodiversity, causes greenhouse gases and can have a negative impact on human health.

Although it is in our hands to stop pollution from plastic waste, current figures speak against our sense of responsibility. According to Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) 300 million tons of plastic are produced annually, in Germany alone the per capita consumption is 39 kilograms. No wonder there MikroPlastik For example, it is contained in common care products and gets into the sewers and finally into the sea through daily washing of the face.

Symbol of environmental protection: The Plastic Free July Foundation

To counteract this, the Plastic Free July Foundation 2011 was established in Australia. With the clear goal of creating a worldwide movement that fights plastic pollution and works to reduce the use of plastics and to promote reuse and recycling or upcycling.

July was designated as the official month for the implementation of this project. Today, nine years after the foundation was founded, more than two million people from more than 159 countries are dedicated to the challenge of avoiding (one-way) plastic and consuming it more consciously. However, it is important not to feel any pressure. The Plastic Free July should be an exciting experiment, be fun and illustrate how effortlessly environmental protection can be integrated into everyday life by not using plastic.

Know-how for successfully dispensing with plastics

The following points are suitable for a successful, successful Plastic Free July:

  1. Plastic is indispensable these days - 100% waiver is impossible
  2. It's not about disposing of all plastic products or replacing them with alternatives - using, reusing, recycling, and upcycling plastics can be even more sustainable in many cases
  3. Everyone makes their own rules - after all, the month shouldn't feel like a constraint, but rather should provide lasting inspiration for environmentally conscious action beyond July

Despite their own goals, nobody has to feel alone with the challenge. Who is on the Plastic Free July Homepage registered, namely receives weekly emails with tips and tricks from other participants. These should motivate and contribute to the creative implementation of the plastic-free month.

And there is also a suitable gadget for everyone who likes a precise orientation frame: the Take the Plastic Free Challenge - FREE Calendar von WWF. Dieser enthält für jeden Tag im Juli einen Tipp bereit, mit dem sich der Gebrauch von Plastik leicht vermeiden lässt. Sei es eine Anregung dazu, einen Mehrweg-Kaffeebecher zu nutzen, sich eine recycelte Sonnenbrille zu kaufen oder ein Seifenstück an Stelle von flüssiger Seife zu nutzen. Step by Step inspiriert dieser zu einem nachhaltigen, plastikfreien Lifestyle.

plastic free july

Source & Copyright by WWF

ABC on plastic alternatives in Plastic Free July

Apart from reference points such as the WWF calendar, Plastic Free July also requires some research Plastic avoidance tips to operate, bloggerswho have perfected the Plastic Free Lifestyle to follow and grapple with plastic and its alternatives. While many companies and brands have already jumped on the anti-plastic band and advertise with trend-setting keywords such as bioplastic or compostable plastic, this does not necessarily mean that they are actually more environmentally friendly than their conventional predecessor. Here is a little help to make the right choice.

What are plastic alternatives?

In general, plastic alternatives must be sustainable. For example, they should consist of renewable substances that are also biodegradable in order to have a positive environmental balance. At the same time, however, they must also have a similar functionality. That means being light, flexible, heat-resistant, pure and also cheap.

While research is investigating and launching a variety of plant-based alternatives, it is questionable whether they are actually sustainable. Since the most common variants are bioplastic and compostable plastic, we show what to look for in both types of plastic.

Bioplastic

Bioplastics, or bioplastics, is a group of materials made from polymers. Polymers, in turn, are substances that are created by linking several small molecules together and can be natural and synthetic. So if plastic is made from polymers made from natural raw materials such as starch, oil or cellulose, we are talking about bioplastic.

Confusing: Biologically based polymers are also used in the production of non-biodegradable plastics, mixed with synthetic substances. While such products are advertised as bioplastics, they are not 100% sustainable, biodegradable or environmentally friendly.

Compostable plastic

With compostable plastic, it is important to pay attention to the difference between compostable and biodegradable plastic. According to an industry standard for plastics, compostable plastic has to be biodegradable. However, not all biodegradable plastic is compostable, which is why there is often no adequate waste separation.

The problem with plastic alternatives

Due to the confusion potential surrounding bio and compostable plastics, they are often neither safely nor sustainably disposed of. Even if it is an environmentally friendly alternative, incorrect disposal can have negative environmental effects. They often end up in landfills or are disposed of in marine systems, where they have long-lasting, harmful consequences for soil, air, animals and people. In oceans, even biodegradable plastic behaves like conventional plastics and can take several years to decompose.

Um negative Umweltauswirkungen zu vermeiden, müssen biologisch abbaubare Kunststoffe eigenständig recycelt werden. Kompostierbare Kunststoffe wiederum sollten unter industriellen Bedingungen kompostiert und nicht in die Recyclingtonne geworfen werden. Wenn eine geeignete Kompostierung nicht möglich ist, empfehlen es Experten, die Produkte in den allgemeinen Abfall zu geben.

At the systemic level, the unintended consequences of inappropriate plastic disposal mean that careful consideration must be given to the introduction of compostable plastics. They must be used sensibly, understood by people and disposed of in suitable facilities. This is the only way to achieve the long-term goal of a functional circular economy.

Advantages of conventional plastic

As already mentioned, Plastic Free July is not about completely eliminating plastic from life. There are certainly circumstances in which the use of plastic can be more sustainable than that of wood, metal or glass.

For example, since plastic weighs less than its alternatives made from natural raw materials, its transportation causes fewer emissions. If products are transported in glass instead of plastic packaging, the CO2 emissions increase, which reduces the advantages of the more environmentally friendly material.

Und auch in Sachen Lebensmittel kann die Nutzung von Plastikverpackungen von Vorteil sein. Da jährlich nämlich etwa 30% der produzierten Lebensmittel weggeworfen werden und dadurch erheblich zu den Kohlenstoffemissionen beitragen, kann Plastik durch die Verlängerung der Haltbarkeit produktiv Nachhaltigkeit fördern.

From Plastic Free July to Plastic Free Lifestyle

The examples show that it is not possible to do without plastic entirely. Nevertheless, "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle" should be an important motto in the everyday life of every individual in order to solve our environmental problem. The Plastic Free July is the perfect time to raise awareness and to mindfully and actively reduce the use of unnecessary (disposable) plastics and to promote sustainable concepts such as recycling and the circular economy.

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