Plastics make up an estimated 80 to 85 per cent of marine litter. Once in the environment, they eventually break down into microplastics (small pieces of plastic less than 5 millimetres in size). The risk of microplastics and the toxins they bring entering the food chain is a growing concern.
-Ministry for the Environment.
Well, that’s disgusting. We all know that our overconsumption of single use plastics is problematic, but even with the best intentions it can be difficult and nigh on impossible at times to avoid the stuff.
The fact that a number of our major supermarkets have phased out single use plastic bags can be looked at two ways. One on hand, it is a huge deal that they acknowledged the issue of plastic waste and responded to the call to get rid of them. On the other hand, you can stroll down any given aisle – even the produce section – and find that while single use plastic may have been reduced at checkout, it is so prolific everywhere else that you are hard-pressed to escape a shopping expedition without it.
Plastic Free July encourages a collective endeavour to cutting out single use plastics for the entire month of July. The more of us that take part, the better chance we have of effecting long-term change. If you manage to survive the month with no plastic, share your experience (and your tips!) far and wide. If you struggle – and many of us will – share your experiences so that we can help break down the roadblocks and challenge producers into finding solutions.
We exist in a time where it’s not only nearly impossible to avoid plastic, it is also often expensive to do so. But supply and demand is what drives change, and if we can all send a message that we want alternatives to plastic, the changes can stretch beyond the checkout, into the aisles and beyond.
To help you get started, visit plasticfreejuly.org and take the Plastic Free July challenge.
And while that’s a great starter, here’s a location-specific guide to going waste free in Tāmaki Makaurau/ Auckland: http://therubbishtrip.co.nz/regional-shopping-guide/zero-waste-in-the-auckland-region/
SAY NO TO SINGLE USE.
Kia kaha and good luck!