It is finally July and with that, most of us would know that the Plastic Free July challenge has also started today! If you are not sure what Plastic Free July actually is, it is a global movement that helps millions of people be part of the solution to plastic pollution – so we can have cleaner streets, oceans, and beautiful communities.
Started out by Rebecca Prince-Ruiz in 2011, the movement has since inspired over 120 million participants in 177 countries to make small changes collectively to make a massive difference in the world. It provides you with resources and ideas to reduce single-use plastics waste in your everyday lives.
Well if you are looking to try out Plastic Free July (“PFJ”) and are not sure what to expect, here is how you can make the best out of it (based on our experience)!
Take the chance to start anew
The first step is to reflect on your current lifestyle habits as only you would know how sustainable your lifestyle is. With that, identify which areas you want to make a change and make a list of actions and commitment you intend to take. PFJ serves as the opportunity for you to create a new lifestyle and to do that, it is taking baby steps to change your habits. After all, based on the 21/90 rule, it takes 21 days to build a habit. Take this chance, with the start of a new month, to commit to being a conscious being on the environment.
Not too sure what steps to take? Some simple actions you can start off with first – refusing plastic bags, saying no to plastic straws, bringing your own cutleries out for lunch. These are all small steps you can take to help the environment.
Be kind to yourself and those who are starting their own journey
Like all other humans, it is never easy to start a good habit or break a bad habit. So while embarking on PFJ, never be harsh to yourself or to those around you who are all on this journey. Acknowledge the fact that you might make mistakes once in a while and let yourself be okay about that! Take it as an opportunity to reflect on what went wrong and then improve from there.
If you are someone who already practices a zero or low waste lifestyle, encourage those who are trying their best! If they need to borrow a set of reusable, why not lend it to them? This might also be a chance to share with others why you are going on this journey and encourage them to try it out!
Be aware that plastic is not an evil thing
With PFJ being more popular and the harmful effects of plastic being known, there is a chance that most of us view plastic as the enemy and using it is a sin. However, we too need to acknowledge that it is not plastic we are after, but instead, it is the act of mindless consumption that we are trying to correct. After all, plastic packaging may be beneficial in reducing food waste and removing plastic entirely from our food supply may not be the best solution when it comes to protecting the environment and conserving valuable resources.
The whole issue we are trying to point out is the act of consuming without thinking about how our actions will impact the environment as a whole. Whether it is purchasing a new piece of clothing or a new mobile phone, we need to be aware that every action we take has an impact on the environment, one way or another. Plastic pollution is one of the effects of our mindless consumerism in which we have just started to witness the drastic impacts.
So, take this chance to open your eyes and be aware of all the environmental issues affecting our world. Acknowledge that. Know it. Face it. Take actions to combat it.
Come together as one to make a change
The whole essence of PFJ is to make a collective difference when individuals come together. It is the time when people come together to share what they strongly believe in and to fight for Mother Earth. It is the time when you do this as a collective and help each other along the way. But it does not just stop there.
Yes, with many individuals, you can make waves of change. However, with organisations and corporations coming onboard, the change made can be much more substantial! So, take this opportunity to also encourage and drive systemic change to transform the way we currently lead our lives.
Being plastic-free does not only take place in July, instead July is when you start your own journey and start being not merely plastic-free, but as a conscious consumer.