The end of the financial year is coming and with it the most campaign-thick month. There is the famous Dry July and not-famous-enough Plastic-free July. Both very important and relevant to all of us.
I personally struggle more with the Dry one (dating a brewer doesn’t help 🍻), but going totally plastic-free is no walk in the park either. To be sharkishly honest, I strive to reduce my consumption of both – alcohol & plastic NON-STOP, throughout the whole YEAR.
After all, both have been linked to causing cancer and both can be pretty addictive.
What is Dry July?
Dry July is a campaign that brings awareness to the harmful effects of alcohol on our bodies. By taking up the challenge, you promise to stay dry aka alcohol-free a whole month. And while you do so, you can raise money to help people already affected by cancer. You can sign up through the Dry July website and ask your friends, family and colleagues to cheer you on or even sponsor you.
Since 2008, Dry July has inspired more than 290,200 Aussies to go dry, raising over $73 million for people affected by cancer, and funding projects at more than 80 cancer organisations across Australia.(Dry July Foundation 2022)
What is Plastic Free July?
Plastic Free July is a campaign challenging you to go single-use plastic-free for the month. It has gained popularity around the globe and I’ll have you know it started in our own backyard by our very own Perth local Rebecca Prince.
The idea is to bring awareness to our consumption habits and help people make better choices.
Our movement has inspired 100+ million participants in 190 countries. You making a small change will collectively make a massive difference to our communities.(Plastic Free Foundation 2022)
Tips to ditch the single-use plastic
- Shop in bulk shops like Kakulas and Wasteless Pantry. I bring my glass jars to reuse for things like flour, chickpeas, and beans and also my reusable plastic container for cheese.
- Bring your own reusables – your single-use coffee cup has a plastic lining and it can NOT be recycled. When dining out, bring your own container for leftovers. When shopping for fruit and veggies BYO bag and keep things like potatoes, bananas, and oranges loose.
- Choose different packaging where you can – e.g. steel tin and glass jars instead of plastic containers. Places like Grumpy Farmer nowadays offer milk in reusable glasses.
- Start making your own products such as plastic-free deodorant and coffee scrubs to avoid packaging. (You can come to my workshops to learn how.)
Ready to give it a try? Sign up for the plastic-free challenge to receive more tips and support to keep you motivated.
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.(Sustainability Victoria, 2022)
Why reduce plastic use you ask?
If you don’t give a hoot about the environment (unlikely, since you’re reading this, thank you for being here), do it for your health. A recent study found Australians are ingesting more microplastics than ever. Young children being the most affected. Some of these particles are toxic to humans — they can carry carcinogenic or mutagenic chemicals, meaning they potentially cause cancer and/or damage our DNA. I recommend reading this article from The Conversation (2021) if you’d like to learn how to reduce your risks.
Our planet, our oceans
The problems with overconsumption and overuse of plastic are many. It’s a man-made material that doesn’t break down. At least not for hundreds or thousands of years. For example, plastic straws can take up to 200 years to decompose (WWF-Australia, 2018). And when it does, it breaks down into microplastics. According to the QLD Department of Agriculture, every year in Australia approximately 130,000 tonnes of plastic end up in our ocean. (Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, 2021). Then the fish ingest the microplastic, you eat the fish…and we’re back at your health.
Take one small action
So what will you do this July? The easiest way to make change is to start small and focus on tiny, achievable steps. (Instead of trying all heaps of changes at once.) Try the free Tiny habits method or borrow the Tiny Habits book by B.J.Fogg.
You could start by following one inspirational account on Insta (try Plasticfree marmaid) or scheduling a visit to your local bulk shop. Start small, grow big. Every action counts!
Let me know in the comments what actions you’ve decided to take.