Plastic Free July

This month is #PlasticFreeJuly

 

Plastic Free July is a global movement that chooses to refuse single-use plastics and stop the harmful pollution and health impacts of plastic. New studies reveal the extent of microplastics – fragments of plastic that persist in the environment for centuries – that are entering our waterways and subsequently, the human food chain. An NUIG-led study found that 73% of sampled fish from the Atlantic contained plastic in their stomachs while the University of Victoria in Canada concluded that just 15% of average yearly calorie intake contains up to 50,000 plastic particles, with a further 50,000 ingested through our airways.

 

 

So what is being done?

By 2021, the European Parliament have made a commitment to ban the 10 most polluting single-use plastic items, representing 43% of marine litter, found on European beaches. 43% is a staggering number. In addition, it’s worthwhile noting that this is only the litter found on beaches. 94% of the plastic that enters the ocean ends up on the sea floor. There is now on average an estimated 70kg of plastic in each square kilometre of sea bed. Out of sight, out of mind.

United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 12 is Responsible Consumption and Production and 14 is Life Below Water. It is now the time that we end our use of single-use plastics in order to protect the mesmerising variety of life that lives in our planet’s water.

So when faced with buying products wrapped in plastic, see what alternatives are available to you.

Some ideas of simple switches you can make are:
  1. reusable cups for your hot drinks;
  2. stainless steel water bottles;
  3. stainless steel lunch boxes;
  4. compostable bags for general and food waste bins;
  5. plastic free teabags or loose leaf tea;
  6. take a note of any shops that sell fruit and veg wrapping free and bring a container with you for dried food like cereal;
  7. decline your receipt (as it contains plastic) unless you need it;
  8. buy cartons of milk or juice instead of plastic bottles.

By bringing in this more sustainable options to your lifestyle, you can prevent tonnes of plastic from entering landfill.

If you feel like it, share your steps on social media with us using the hashtags #PlasticFreeJuly , #ChooseToRefuse , #gapireland

Together we can make a change.

 

-Ian Jackson

 

Sources:

European Commission, 2018

Frontiers in Marine Science, 2018

The Guardian, 2019

Eunomia, 2016