How to Honor Plastic-Free July

How to Honor Plastic-Free July Energy Federation Incorporation EFI | Energy Federation Incorporation

Plastic-Free July is a holiday that spans the entire month of July each year since it began in Australia in 2011. This holiday has now grown to an annual event in over 150 countries worldwide and has developed into a non-profit organization -The Plastic-Free Foundation - which works tirelessly year-round in an effort to ultimately see a world free from plastic waste. This independent, non-profit organization was established in 2017 and adheres to its core values of honesty and integrity, a focus on providing solutions, authenticity and collaboration, and the belief that small changes can create an impactful difference. People should participate in this holiday in order to become more aware of plastic usage and waste reduction. Furthermore, people can become more informed on the recycling process and what happens when plastic is introduced to the recycling system.

Participants in this event avoid using single-use plastic items such as plastic straws, cups, water bottles, and plastic bags and instead use reusable items such as glass jars and cups. Participants are also encouraged to use more sustainable products such as reusable tote bags and metal containers for storage and travel. So far Plastic Free July participants have reduced their household waste on average by 176 pounds per household per year, cut use on recyclables (mainly disposable packaging) on average by 61 pounds per household per year, and contributed to a total savings of over 1 billion pounds of plastic waste each year.

At EFI, we believe it is essential to use our planets limited energy resources wisely, and we assist people in these efforts by providing high-quality conservation products and services at affordable prices; all while communicating practical, objective-based information. We’ve compiled a list of five common plastic household items that can be replaced with more practical, reusable items to help you participate in Plastic Free July.

  1. Plastic Coffee, Soft Drink, & Water Bottles

Several recent reports have noted that globally, humans purchase a million plastic bottles per minute and nearly 91% of these bottles are not recycled. This is one of the most common plastic pollutants and they are typically made from polyethylene terephthalate, a plastic which takes 400 years to naturally decompose. Instead of purchasing plastic bottles or cups, try purchasing a reusable bottle for water and other non-carbonated drinks and a travel mug for coffee. Not only will these bottles keep your drink cooler or hotter for longer; but it also will reduce plastic waste emissions significantly.

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  1. Plastic Toothbrushes

The average toothbrush is recommended by dentists to be replaced every three months which equates to 4 toothbrushes per person per year. It is estimated that between 580 million to one billion toothbrushes end up in landfills annually in the United States each year. Recently companies have begun creating toothbrushes with more sustainable materials such as bamboo. Bamboo brushes are biodegradable and can be thrown in a commercial composting bin (with the bristles removed). The bathroom is one place that is commonly overlooked when people try to make more conscious choices about plastics in their home and the toothbrush is just one place to start.

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  1. Plastic Straws

Plastic straws are one of the most detrimental plastic products in our environment. Some scientists estimate that there are 7.5 million plastic straws polluting shorelines within the United States, and anywhere from 437 million to 8.3 billion plastic straws on shorelines around the world. They are rapidly becoming banned around the globe however it is still estimated that around 500 million straws are used in the United States per day. Many companies have now offered solutions to this issue such as metal straws which can be washed and reused daily, and also creating straws of materials such as bamboo which are biodegradable. Next time you find yourself in a restaurant where your waiter or waitress asks first if you want a straw with your drink, try saying no!

  1. Plastic Bags

Although many states and towns have begun to ban the use of plastic bags, there are still many states which have not begun the litigation process. One way to reduce the need for plastic bags is to carry your own reusable shopping or tote bags, and then to use these at retail locations for purchased items. As a society, we use a plastic bag nearly every 12 minutes per day and nearly every one of us has a place in their home where an immense amount of plastic bags are stored for future use. The need for these one-time-use bags could be easily replaced with a few reusable bags, especially considering how many low-priced reusable bags are available on the market.

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  1. Plastic Sandwich Bags and Plastic Wrap

Each year the average American uses nearly one pound of plastic sandwich bags, a number which might not seem that high until it is put in perspective. One pound of plastic sandwich bags equates to nearly 600 bags, many of which ultimately end up in oceans across the globe. Instead of using single-use plastic sandwich bags try switching to stainless steel food containers or even cloth sandwich bags; both of which are offered by numerous brands. Switching from plastic sandwich bags will not only help save the environment but also help save you money!

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Although Plastic-Free July solely spans the month of July, it is important for consumers to make more eco-friendly decisions throughout the year in order to reduce the total volume of plastic waste. Although change starts with very small decisions, a small change can end up making a big difference when it comes to the environment.

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