Over the month of July, we went plastic free here at Nourished Life! You may have noticed that we even got rid of our Australia Post mailer bags! We did this because we decided to accept the Plastic Free July challenge that aims to raise awareness of just how much damage single use plastic can cause to our environment. Over the course of the month, thousands of people have accepted the challenge to make a difference! By making a few lifestyle adjustments and plenty of preparation, getting through the month has been surprisingly simple!
What is Plastic Free July?
Plastic Free July is an organisation that works to educate people about the environmental and health impacts of plastic waste. As plastic is designed to last forever, this causes major problems when treated as a throw away material. While a small portion of our plastic is recycled, most ends up in landfill or littered in the environment. According to the Plastic Free July organisation, 8 million tonnes of plastic enter the sea each year! Even more shockingly, they say that every piece of plastic that was EVER made, still exists somewhere in the world today. Over 1 billion tonnes of plastic was created in the last half of the 20th century alone! When we consider these unimaginable figures, there's no excuse not to try and reduce plastic waste! That's why the Plastic Free July challenge was formed. The rules are simple, you just have to attempt to refuse single use products for a whole month.
What have we learned during Plastic Free July?
You can easily replace plastic items!
One of the biggest problems people face when starting the challenge relates to finding plastic alternatives for everyday necessities. All it takes is a little pre planning to find that replacing plastic products is actually quite simple! Take hygiene products for example. You can replace your plastic toothbrush with one made from bamboo! I recommend the Life Basics Charcoal Bamboo Toothbrush, which is made from environmentally sustainable bamboo. The bristles are biodegradable nylon, infused with activated charcoal to clean whiten your teeth. You can even replace your everyday deodorant! The Earths Purities Ladies Natural Deodorant $12.95, is not only effective at absorbing wetness and odour, it's actually made from 100% post consumer recycled paper! Have clumsy kids? I recommend trying out the Everyday Good Co Biodegradable Bandages! Their Clear Biodegradable Bandages are made from 10% recyclable materials which break down in 1.5 years and biodegrade in 3. The Nude Biodegradable Bandages and Emoji Biodegradable Bandages are made from 15% recycled materials that break down in 2 years and biodegrade in 4. Their packaging are also made from 100% recycled materials!
There are health benefits of avoiding plastic!
In recent years we have become more and more aware of the potential health risks of storing and heating food in plastic. Plastics that contain BPA (Bisphenol A) or Phthalates may have effects on our bodies. The UN and World Health Organisation have even advised that hormone mimicking chemicals can have a negative effect on our health. When we store and heat food in plastic containing these chemicals, they can transfer into the food we eat. That's why I always recommend choosing containers that are free of BPA, Phthalates and other nasty toxins!
To keep your drinks hot or cold, you can't go past the S'Well Insulated Bottles $59.95! They're made using insulated stainless steel that is BPA free and keeps drinks cold for 24 hours or hot for 12. With a range of colours to choose from, they're much nicer (and sustainable!) than regular plastic water bottles! If you're a coffee lover, then I recommend the Fressko Rush Coffee Flask $39.95! Not only will you be helping to save the environment by choosing a reusable coffee holder, it's also made using BPA free stainless steel walls and a bamboo shell. It's the most stylish way to carry your coffee with you on the go! Whether you're packing lunches for yourself or your kids, the LunchBots range will have something for you. I love their Insulated Containers, which can keep your food warm or chilled, without leakages. They're made with the highest quality stainless steel without any added toxins.
Plastic has a huge impact on the environment!
One of the biggest problems caused by plastic wastage is that it ends up in the ocean. These plastics can be really dangerous for wildlife as they can choke or become tangled. According to the Plastic Free July organisation, 80% of the ocean's marine debris comes from the land. The CSIRO conducted a survey that estimates there is around 115,513,626 pieces of rubbish on Australia's coastline alone! A major cause of this plastic wastage comes from one use products such as water bottles. If you prefer the taste of filtered water but want to reduce your wastage, I recommend using a water filter. My favourite is the Waters Co Ace 1.5L Alkaline Water Filter $189.95. This filter is perfect for keeping in the office or your fridge. It helps to remove up to 99% of fluoride in your water along with bacterias, chemicals or heavy metals.
Reusable products are cost effective!
One of the biggest advantages of choosing environmentally friendly and reusable products is that you can save some serious money! Take the JuJu cup for example. These menstrual cups are made from medical grade silicone, last for 10 years and replace disposable pads and tampons. It's estimated that by choosing to use a menstrual cup, you can save over $4000 in your lifetime! Another alternative are ModiBodi period underwear that can be worn during your period to avoid leakages. They're odour fighting and will leave you feeling dry and clean all day long! You can even save money by choosing to avoid laundry detergents packaged in plastic. That Red House Organic Soapberries are not only effective at cleaning your clothes without chemicals, they're also sustainably packaged. It's estimated that based on a 1kg bag, your cost per load will be as little as 11c compared to supermarket detergent which is approximately 52c.
There are plastic in products you may not have realised!
There are some everyday products you may not even realise contain plastic! A common example is coffee pods. There are so many mainstream brands out there that create their pods using a blend of plastic and aluminium. These non biodegradable pods contribute to an enormous amount of waste. In Australia alone, it's estimated that we consume 3 million coffee pods each day!! That's why I only choose reusable coffee pods.