Author: Kerry Adams | The Planet Mark
Plastic-Free July: Kerry’s Blog

Plastic-Free July: Kerry’s Blog

The ‘Plastic-free July’ challenge is simple – refuse single-use plastics during July.  

Back in 2011, Rebecca Prince-Ruiz from Perth Western Australia decided to go plastic free for one month. As she came across many challenges, from packaging to ingredients, she knew she had to do something. And from there, a global movement was born! 

So, what is a Single-Use Plastic? 

The most common single use plastics are straws, carrier bags, food packaging and bottles/take-out cups and lids. They are designed to be used and disposed of immediately, sometimes in mere minutes. Most of these plastics end up in our oceans, ingested by marine life and ultimately entering our food chain, with 1 in 3 fish caught for human consumption containing plastic. By 2050, it is anticipated that there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish, now that’s a scary thought! 

What can I do? As an individual  

We at The Planet Mark invite you to join the challenge and to refuse plastic throughout July (and beyond!) by finding new habits and solutions to the plastic revolution! From refusing a plastic straw when dining out (now that restaurants are opening again!), bringing your own reusable shopping bags or even shopping at your local Zero Waste shop. There are some easy, quick wins to be made! 

Speaking of Zero Waste shops… 

These environmentally friendly shops are becoming more and more popular not only in the UK, but worldwide! Over the past two years, over 200 zero waste shops have opened in the UK with a goal to cut out plastic packaging by encouraging shoppers to fill up their own containers and jars with produce. It also encourages us to only buy what we need, and therefore also avoiding food waste. Win win! 

These shops operate in a 5 step process; Weigh your empty container, Fill with your chosen produce, Weigh again, Label with price, Pay at the till, Simple!  

You can find your local Zero Waste shop by clicking here. 

The businesses on this site must fulfil at least one of four key objectives to be featured on their website: 

  • Package-free products or products with reduced packaging 
  • Sustainable production 
  • Waste reduction 
  • Promoting reuse and repair 

Here are some other ways you can reduce plastic consumption at home and be part of Plastic Free July! 

  • Investing in metal drinking straws 
  • Trying out Bees Wax Wraps in place of cling film 
  • Growing your own produce
  • Bring your own cup!
  • Switch from liquid soap to bars – Go one step further and buy products that don’t contain Palm Oil that contributes to deforestation like this one from The Planet Mark member soap & co.

What can I do? As a business?  

At The Planet Mark, we help organisations measure and reduce waste using one single metric – carbon dioxide. The programme helps businesses of all sizes measure and reduce the carbon emissions associated with their waste, energy, water, travel and procurement. On average, certified businesses make a 12% carbon saving per employee through reductions in these areas.  

Here are some of things you can do to start cutting your waste related carbon: 

Waste audit conducting a review of your current methods of handling waste will help you to identify what improvements can be made and ultimately gain further value from your waste materials and achieve maximum recycling levels. 

Engage your waste contractor – they can assist with your waste audit and allow you to create a robust waste management scheme. 

Employee engagement programmes – why not appoint waste and recycling champions to help spread the word and engage the wider team on new initiatives? 

For more ideas and information on how to get started, click here for our recycling and waste toolkit and join our “Tackling single-use plastics” webinar!