If you've been following us around for a while, you'll know we're passionate about reducing our impact on the planet and inspiring an achievable path for change. For us, this means learning - a lot, as fast as we can, we are taking steps to improve our day to day business operations and requirements to lessen the imprint we leave. While this is a long road, and definitely not a perfect one, we promised to bring you along on our journey to a Sustainable Future.
We didn't want you to be late to the party, so we're raising awareness and sharing with you the initiative of "Plastic Free July" (which starts tomorrow). To fill you in, "Plastic Free July is a global movement that helps millions of people be part of the solution to plastic pollution – so we can have cleaner streets, oceans, and beautiful communities." It's a great opportunity to get people thinking and talking about every day (single-use) plastic as well as the alternatives and solutions we must advocate for.
We live in a plastic world - it's shit, but it's literally everywhere. The problem is that much of it is designed to be used once, but it lasts forever. As if it wasn't bad enough, did you know that plastic production is set to increase by 40 percent over the next decade? Or that less than 10 percent of the plastic ever produced has been recycled? While some plastic can be recycled, most ends up in landfill or in the ocean, where it takes hundreds of years to break down.
So, what can we practically do about it, right now, in our own lives?
1. Take a tote or basket to the farmers market or supermarket
Swapping plastic grocery bags out for a reusable canvas option is a simple way to lessen your environmental impact, and maybe even save some money doing it. Let's be honest, chances that you'll reuse that plastic bag from your last grocery shop are low, so why not avoid it from the start and bring your own while looking 10s. The perfect tote (we'd have some recommendations) can hold anything from books to groceries and is durable enough to use over and over again. And if you happen to forget it, just sneak one of the empty boxes at the supermarket (and don't forget to pop it in the recycling bin after). With two major Aussie supermarket chains banning single-use bags in July 2019, Australia managed to reduce its single-use plastic bag consumption by over 80% - if they can, you can do it too.
And while we're on the shopping chores, take note of how much of the produce you buy in supermarkets is actually wrapped in plastic, or has plastic stickers on it. Yep, there's hardly any that comes without any plastic. By choosing not wrapped produce or buying from the farmers market you're already on your way to reducing your biggest single-plastic use (plus, you have to take the trash out less).
2. Haven't got a tote? Empty containers and pillowcases are perfect bulk food store companions.
3. Use a Keep Cup or mug when getting coffee
Australians throw out 2.7 million single-use or disposable coffee cups every single day. This adds up to 1 billion coffee cups thrown out every year. It’s no surprise then that disposable coffee cups are a major contributor to litter on our streets and in our waterways. There are plenty of great alternatives to using disposable coffee cups. Many cafes are happy for customers to bring their own – and many will even offer a small discount. Bringing your own cup could save you up to 50 cents on your next cup.
You can even consider providing reusable cups in different parts of your workplace, such as the kitchen or at reception, so there are always cups available on the way out.
4. Getting a smoothie? Use jars and stainless steel/bamboo straws
With estimates of up to 10 million single-use straws being used a day in Australia, regardless of how accurate that number is, it's certainly an unnecessary waste even if the number is only 1/10th of that. Choose reusable drinking straws to reduce landfill and enjoy the natural taste of water, juice, smoothies - or go sans-straw.
5. Bring back the lunch box
Not only does it save you $$ to bring your leftovers from last night to work, your lunch box is another tick on your way to a more plastic free life. Now go kiss those plastic sandwich bags and aluminium foil-wrapped treats goodbye.
6. BYO containers and plates for takeaway food
Have you ever ordered a meal from your favourite takeaway restaurant, only to be horrified at the amount of plastic you end up throwing out? Been there, done that. Why not reduce your plastic footprint and be part of the solution, not part of the problem by bringing your own containers and plates for takeaway food? There's even a website called 'Trashless Takeaway' to help customers find restaurants and cafés that accept reusable containers. But we find most restaurants are pretty acceptable if you ask nicely, it's always worth a try.
7. Use beeswax/plates to cover food in the fridge
Minimise waste by replacing single-use plastic wrap and ziplock bags in your kitchen with a re-useable alternative. You can use beeswax wraps the same way you use plastic. Find out how to make your own here!
8. Use a water bottle instead of plastic bottles
Investing in a reusable water bottle helps the environment in all the ways plastic water bottles harm it. By using fewer resources, emitting less harmful gas, and protecting water resources and the creatures who live underwater, these are all ways reusable water bottles help the environment.
A million plastic bottles are bought around the world every minute and the number will jump another 20% by 2021, creating an environmental crisis some campaigners predict will be as serious as climate change. Most plastic bottles used for soft drinks and water are made from polyethylene terephthalate (Pet), which is highly recyclable. But as their use soars across the globe, efforts to collect and recycle the bottles to keep them from polluting the oceans, are failing to keep up. Reduce your bottled water consumption by using your own durable bottle.
9. Opt for plastic-free toothbrushes
In Australia, over 30 million toothbrushes are used and disposed of by Australians each year, amounting to approximately 1000 tonnes of landfill each year. The plastic they’re made of won’t break down in our lifetime. Nor within the lifetime of our children. Imagine that on a global scale. It's time to replace your plastic toothbrush with a more sustainable one...
10. Swap liquid soap for bar soaps
Bar soap is less likely to come in plastic packaging than pump soap, and it takes about one-fifth of the energy to manufacture, as well. Not to mention, a lot of the time it's also cheaper!
11. Give your town, beach or park some love
Plastic Free July have put together an awesome guide to holding a cleanup - read it here! We want to use this month to make a change, small or large, which is why we're challenging you to be a part of our 'Home Town Clean Up'. To raise awareness and inspire change, we're challenging you to pick up rubbish right where you are: be it on your way to work, at the beach or the side of the road, it all counts! We'll be giving away four incredible prices to the best entries, so make sure you tag @thrillsco and #thrillshometowncleanup for your chance to win. For more info, check out the blog post here.
Love your work guys!