Ways to live plastic-free this July

Posted by Imogen Searra on 1 July 2019

According to Plastic Oceans, every year a whopping 300 million tons of plastic are produced, 50% of which is single-use plastic. Plastic-free July is a global trend that aims to create awareness about plastic consumption and the detrimental effects of plastic waste on the environment.

Although living a plastic-free life might seem like an impossible task, there are many options available to transform your everyday shopping and consumption habits in order to live plastic-free, or at least reduce your usage.

In South Africa there is a major movement towards living in a more eco-friendly way. From restaurants that no longer offer plastic straws to several grocery stores that are completely plastic-free.

EcoBricking is a simple way to keep plastic out of landfills, the ocean and your home, and is great for when shopping plastic-packaging-free isn’t possible. EcoBricking is also easy to carry on doing once plastic-free July is over.

The EcoBrick Exchange has piloted projects that involve building a school and development center out of EcoBricks. Hotel Verde in Cape Town make EcoBricks with all their non-recyclable waste.

The EcoBrick is a simple solution to turn plastic waste into green construction material. By EcoBricking at home, you can turn plastic waste into thermally-insulated building blocks for schools, housing, recreational structures and as art displays.

What can go into an EcoBrick? Laminated paper, photos and transparencies, polystyrene cups/trays, plastic vegetable and fruit punnets, silvery packets (chips, chocolates, etc.), sweet packets, lollipop sticks, P.E.T. trays, wax paper, dog food bags, straws, plastic cutlery, cellophane, styrofoam, any plastic packaging, and plastic shopping bags are all non-recyclable waste items that can be EcoBricked.

Supporting grocery stores that use zero plastic packaging is another way to go plastic-free this July. By opting to use plastic-free packaging, your plastic waste will decrease significantly.

In Johannesburg, The Refillery in Fourways offers a weigh-and-pay, plastic-free shopping experience. There is also the SEK Collective in Randburg.

In Cape Town, Nude Foods, Spaza Store, Unpacked Pantry and Shop Zero are all plastic-free grocery stores.

You can also shop online at Faithful-to-Nature, Shop Zero and Green Home, all plastic-packaging-free shopping websites that offer a wide range of eco-conscious and ethical products.

Some simple tips for plastic-free living this July:

– Creating a compost heap to avoid sending rubbish to a landfill

– Shopping with a reusable bag

– Carrying a reusable coffee cup with you when you go to get your daily cuppa, rather than purchasing a non-recyclable coffee cup from the café/stall

– Using glass alternatives to plastic packaging, like jars, glass water bottles, glass containers or Tupperware

– Refusing the straw, plastic cutlery and styrofoam packaging

– Using bees wax wrap or cloth wrap instead of cling wrap for packed lunches and leftovers

– Disposing of chewing gum and cigarette butts into an EcoBrick, or giving both habits up completely. Read: Cigarette butts cause more damage than plastic straws 

– Join a local beach clean-up to help rid marine ecosystems of plastic waste

– Stop purchasing plastic toys or gifts for children

– Stop using plastic earbuds and opt for the paper alternative instead.


Image: Pixabay

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