Why Go Plastic-Free? The Impact of Plastic on Our Planet

Why Go Plastic-Free? The Impact of Plastic on Our Planet

Hello there! Welcome to the first of five blog posts I’ll be writing throughout Plastic Free July. Today I’m leading with a bit of an introduction to the whole month, why we all need to take a look at our single-use plastic consumption, and what else is in store at My Carbon Coach in July to help you help the planet.


What is Plastic Free July?

It's a global movement that encourages people to reduce their use of single-use plastics during the month of July. The campaign aims to raise awareness about the environmental impacts of plastic pollution and inspire people to adopt more sustainable habits. Participants are encouraged to refuse single-use plastics, such as plastic bags, straws, bottles, and packaging, and find reusable alternatives.

The initiative started in Australia in 2011 and has since grown into a worldwide effort, with millions of participants from various countries. The challenge is flexible, allowing individuals, schools, businesses, and communities to take part in different ways based on their own situations, not everyone can be 100% plastic free and honestly I don’t think that’s really the ultimate goal!

The goal of Plastic Free July is not only to reduce plastic consumption during the month but also to encourage long-term changes in behaviour and support the transition to a more sustainable, circular economy. Think of it as a springboard into environmental awareness.


Why should I go plastic-free?

I think my earliest memory of finding out how bad plastic could be was in primary school and learning to cut the plastic can holder things they used to put on multipacks of drinks. It was the start of my love for hedgehogs wanting to keep them safe from getting their heads stuck in the loops.

Single-use plastic is everywhere despite many forms of it slowly becoming illegal. Thankfully things like straws and throwaway takeaway utensils are on the way out but there’s still so much more that we can do to reduce our reliance on the stuff.
And that’s really the crux of the matter in my opinion.


We were sold on the convenience of it all. Grab a new bag every time you buy something, don’t think about bananas coming in their own natural packaging when your bunch can come in this wrap to keep them fresh. So maybe it’s time we get a little bit inconvenient until it becomes the norm. We’ve all managed it with remembering our tote bags to go shopping, now let’s be just a little more mindful about what we’re purchasing and putting in them!

  • It’s estimated that the UK throws away 100 billion pieces of plastic packaging a year.
  • It is estimated that 50% of all UK plastic waste is incinerated. 25% is sent to landfill and only 12% reaches a UK recycling plant. The rest is shipped abroad.*

    So it sadly means that we can’t even rely on recycling to save us from single-use plastic waste. We just have to stop accepting it in our lives.

    The environmental impact is staggering. Plastic sticks around for a ridiculously long time. It takes anywhere from 20 to 500 years to break down, and depending on what it is it never really goes away, it just fragments and turns into microplastics. These are now found everywhere, in every ocean on the planet, in our soil, in the animals we share Earth with, and now microplastics have been found inside us too from eating the creatures that have eaten it.


    How should I go plastic-free?

    This is something I’m going to cover in a lot more depth over the coming weeks, both here on the blog and also daily on my social media channels but here’s a few quick and easy ideas to get you started! We need global action from corporations and governments but never underestimate the impact you as an individual can make!
    • Start to buy your fruit and veg loose from a greengrocers or the supermarket
    • Give refilling your washing up liquid a go when you next run out
    • Make lunch or snacks at home to avoid buying packaged meal deals and things
    • Look at clothing labels and avoid synthetic fibres that will shed microplastic
    Going plastic free doesn't have to revolve around shopping at all, and hopefully throughout the month there'll be some ideas shared that you'll love to try out. Saving the Earth doesn't need to cost the Earth, everyone can do something, it often just takes a bit of advance planning and some time as the investment.



    What’s on at My Carbon Coach in July?

    The shop is going big for Plastic Free July this year with multiple events and activities as well as a ton of content to help everyone to do a little bit to ease the burden on our beautiful planet

    Firstly there's a poster making competition running through the month with a £10 World of Bears giftcard to the randomly selected winner - https://www.facebook.com/events/1394423001237963/

    On Monday 8th July I'll be holding two talks, one at 11am and one at 6pm in the shop as a sort of beginners guide to reducing single use plastic! Everyone is welcome but these would be ideal for anyone towards the start of their eco-adventure - https://www.facebook.com/events/473476688594218/

    I'm launching an Eco Book Club and the first meeting is on Thursday 25th July upstairs at the shop. Find out all the details here - https://www.facebook.com/events/1011039121509318/

    There'll also be a litter pick from Tidy Up Taunton - Litter Picking Community on Sunday 28th July. Location and more details TBC.

    On top of that there'll be daily social media posts, a weekly blog over the five Mondays, and I might try and squeeze in a Facebook Live Q+A if I can!

    Please do like and share this post with anyone who you think might be interested, please do pop your name down inside the event posts for the talks and the book club, it's going to be a really exciting and lively month of positive action for the Earth!


    I'd love to hear what changes you're thinking of making, please do feel free to leave a comment. Thanks, Tim.




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