Plastic Free July is an international initiative that began on the 1st of this month and aims to raise people’s awareness of the problem of pollution in the oceans and encourage them to change their habits of consumption.
Only in the first decade of the XXI was produced more plastic than in the last 100 years, and by the year 2050, forecasts point to more plastic at sea than fish. To counteract this, there is an international initiative that attempts to reduce the consumption of this petroleum product. Plastic shopping bags, bottles, straws and disposable plastic cups are the suggestions (the so-called top 4) made by Plastic Free July, to start eradicating the plastic of their lives.
Earlier this month, another edition of this international initiative was launched by the Australian government organization Western Earth Carers. It began in 2011 in the suburbs of Perth, Western Australia, but today it involves more than 60,000 people, schools and organizations from 130 countries.
The goal is undoubtedly to promote a lifestyle with less disposable plastic, thereby making people aware of the dangers of overuse. In the website of the initiative it is explained that, although at the beginning of the century. XX plastic has been environmentally important for replacing ivory, tortoise shell, horns and other plant and animal products, its use in durable goods became widespread in the 1960s to the point of including a wide range of disposable packaging which, most of the time, end up in the oceans.
Throughout the month, ideas and tips were proposed to refuse disposable plastic and to bet on more sustainable alternatives. During a day, a week or the entire month, the important thing is to try to actively participate and the compromise can go through trying to avoid 100% plastic, all disposable plastic packaging or just join the top 4. However, the more determined in this struggle they will be able to integrate the challenge into their daily lives, making it a common habit and facilitating the substitution of this material.
In Portugal, the levy on light plastic bags (in force for large commercial areas since February 2015 and for other establishments as of April 2017) has allowed a fall of 71% in the use of bags, including garbage bags, and encouraged its reuse. However, discarding straws, avoiding already packed fruits and vegetables, preferring soap to liquid soap or checking that cosmetics and food contain microplastics are still not recurring procedures nor are people’s everyday habits so early.
“It’s not easy, but it’s a challenge, not a competition,” says Plastic Free July.