This July, people all over the world are taking a plastic free pledge. Plastic Free July is a global movement which encourages people to rethink their habits and boycott single-use plastic once and for all. Despite our planet enjoying a brief respite from extreme emissions during lockdown, the use of single-use plastic has surged recently.
Since the Covid-19 pandemic, shoppers have been more likely to opt for food with plastic packaging (despite the fact that the WHO have said that there have been no confirmed cases of Covid-19 being transmitted through food or food packaging), more likely to indulge in a takeaways, and perhaps less mindful about their plastic consumption. What’s more, laws that had been lined up to reduce the consumption of single-use plastic in the UK have been postponed due to the lockdown. For example, the UK’s new laws banning on plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds have been put on hold for another six months.
For many, plastic consumption may not feel like a priority right now, but Plastic Free July is here to remind us how urgent this issue is. Around the world, one million plastic drinking bottles are purchased every minute and each year we produce around 300 million tonnes of plastic waste — that’s almost the equivalent of the weight of the entire human population!
During July, we can each play our part in reducing single use plastic, but it’s brands that should be leading the way. Thankfully, many major companies are already saying ‘no’ to single use plastic and looking for creative new ways to cut down on their environmental impact while offering consumers plastic-free or reduced plastic alternatives to traditional products. Let’s take a closer look at three brands that are setting the bar high, and that you can shop from guilt-free during plastic-free July.
The cosmetics giant Lush has made pioneering efforts in the reduction of plastic waste for many years now. As well as cutting out packaging completely from many of their product ranges (which they refer to as their ‘naked’ products) they have even opened entirely packaging-free stores, starting with their Branch in Milan that opened in 2018. Since then, package-free Lush stores have popped up in Berlin, Hong Kong, Manchester, and more, allowing people around the world to shop plastic-free.
As well as this complete boycott of packaging in certain branches, Lush also offers a recycling service for their classic black pots. These pots are made from a sturdy polypropylene plastic which can be reclaimed and recycled, creating new black pots ready to be used again. Once you’ve collected five pots, simply return them to your local Lush store to be recycled — you’ll also walk away with a complimentary face mask as a thank you!
Over a lifetime of menstruation, the average person uses around the same amount of plastic in their period products as 5,500 plastic bags! We’ve already made leaps towards sustainable shopping and reusable bags, so why should we treat period plastic any differently?
The sanitary products brand Lil-Lets is constantly working to raise awareness about ‘period plastic’ and offer handy alternatives to plastic-heavy menstrual products. Their campaign ‘Give Plastic the Finger’ encourages people to try non-applicator tampons, which could massively reduce the plastic used in a monthly period cycle.
As an alternative to applicator tampons, Lil-Lets offers non-applicator tampons that use 97 per cent less plastic. They function in the exact same way as applicator tampons, just without the excessive plastic! For anyone who is unsure about making the switch to non-app, Lil-Lets has also made a helpful insertion video here. In addition, Lil-Lets also offer an organic range of sanitary products that includes organic tampons that are fossil fuel plastic free and 100 per cent organic cotton.
Plastic water bottles have famously been one of the main culprits of ocean pollution. In the UK alone, we go through around 7.7 billion plastic water bottles each year with the average person using roughly 150 bottles in this time frame. Water is a natural resource that doesn’t need to be packaged in such an unsustainable way — and this is where companies like CanO Water come in.
CanO Water offers a sustainable solution to plastic water bottle waste. Instead of plastic, this brand sells fresh water in recyclable aluminium cans that are infinitely recyclable. According to CanO Water, their cans go from being in the recycling bin to the shop shelves within 60 days, creating an ongoing cycle and completely cutting out plastic waste! Still and sparkling options are available, and they also make resealable cans, so you can refill and reuse as you please.
In addition to creating sustainable water bottle alternatives, CanO Water has channelled its efforts into mass ocean clean up campaigns and are constantly working to raise awareness of plastic pollution.
There are plenty of sustainable brands with online offerings, so it’s never been so easy to ditch your plastic habit altogether.
Nowadays, brands are always coming up with new and innovative ways to do their part and limit their plastic waste — now it’s your turn! Make the Plastic Free July pledge and start cutting back on your plastic today. As well as saving the planet, cutting back on plastic could also save you some precious pennies (especially if you opt for reusable products like the CanO Water cans).