Plastic Free July isn’t a celebration; it’s a challenge! When you join the global movement that has moved over 120 million people in 177 countries into action, you inspire others around you to limit their reliance on single-use plastic.
Why you should take the challenge
You may know single-use plastic as disposable plastic. We’re talking about straws, water bottles, plastic bags, coffee stirrers, food packaging, and plastic spoons and forks. Use them once, and they go straight into the bin – out of sight, out of mind.
Unfortunately, the plastics we dispose of don’t stay out of sight for long as only 10-13% of plastic items are recyclable. The rest ends up in landfills or find its way into the ocean. According to PlasticOceans.org, more than 8 million tons of plastic end up in the oceans each year. Half of the 300 million tons of plastic produced each year is for single-use purposes. Single-use plastic is used for an average of 15 minutes before being thrown away, and then it sticks around to pollute the planet for hundreds of years with toxic chemicals such as Bisphenol A (BPA).
When enough people in the world think their use of disposable plastics is insignificant, we’re left with a shocking amount of toxic plastic pollution that kills wildlife, endangers the environment, and contaminates communities with its toxicity.
If we’re not part of the solution, we’re the problem.
Little changes in your everyday life can make a significant impact on the environment. Our favourite thing about Plastic Free July is how participants share their tips and tricks on how to avoid single-use packaging or go completely plastic-free. Here are some inspiring ways people are making habit changes to fight plastic pollution:
1. Refuse plastic straws
The next time you order your favourite iced chai latte, tell the barista to serve it to you without the single-use plastic straw. Why don’t you need it? Because you now bring a sustainable alternative with you everywhere you go.
Know you’re going out and ordering from an establishment known to serve cold drinks with plastic straws still? Don’t leave home without your reliable stainless steel or bamboo straw. There are also glass, paper, or biodegradable straw options.
2. Stop buying bottled water
Did you know that one million plastic bottles are bought every minute around the world? We’re talking about half a trillion by 2021 with only a fraction of those bottles getting recycled. Sure, bottled water seems convenient, cheap, and portable. However, that convenience comes at a cost. Each time you choose bottled water, you’re contributing to the hundreds of million tons of plastic each year that may take over four centuries to decompose.
Skip the plastic water bottles and use a reusable, non-plastic water bottle instead. There are many options, such as stainless steel, BPA-free, bamboo, or glass.
3. Carry a reusable coffee cup
Did you know that 99.75% of coffee cups don’t get recycled? To make coffee cups both heat- and leakproof, they’re manufactured with a mixture of paper and plastic. While that sounds innovative, it means that disposable coffee cups are effective at giving you your caffeine fix, but they get rejected for recycling.
The next time you order a cup of coffee, hand them your reusable coffee cup or flask. You never know, but you might even enjoy a discount. Many cafes already reward customers who have gone green and help fight plastic pollution.
4. Avoid plastic at the supermarket
Supermarkets are filled with the unnecessary use of plastic – from wrapping bananas in plastic to packing fresh fruit in a Styrofoam tray with cling wrap. Supermarkets and food manufacturers will make changes when consumers demand them. If there are any petitions to ban plastic packaging in your supermarket; sign them.
Wherever and whenever possible, choose the unwrapped produce. Don’t use those plastic produce bags for loose fruit and vegetables; use a sustainable bag instead. You may be surprised by how cool the meat, fish, and deli workers are when you tell them not to pack the meat and fish in plastic because you brought your own reusable container. And when you checkout, let the bagger know you brought reusable bags to carry your groceries home.
Let’s pretend it’s Plastic Free July year-round.
Going plastic-free is a journey. Just because July is over, it doesn’t mean you have to go back to using plastic or stop making small changes. The beautiful thing about Plastic Free July is that once you experience a month of cutting back on plastic use, you realise how doable it is. Start by minimising the use of the most prominent plastic pollution culprits – those pesky single-use plastics.
Reducing your plastic footprint is easier than you think. Hand your reusable coffee cup or flask to the barista when you order your skinny latte. Ordering takeaway? Let the restaurant know you don’t want disposable cutlery delivered with your food order.
We get that you may not be ready to break up with plastic entirely, but if you really pay attention, you’ll realise there are opportunities all around you to refuse plastic in your life.
How does OORR participate in Plastic Free July?
At OORR, we are passionate about our coffee, our cycling, and our planet. We participate in Plastic Free July in many ways. And we’ll continue doing our part all the months of the year. Here’s how:
By producing recycled products.
Here’s just one example: In our recycled Polyester, by Unifi, there are three steps to manufacturing the yarn from post-consumer PET bottles. To make virgin polyester, you have to start by mining the oil – and it takes nine steps. So far, we have saved the equivalent amount of carbon emissions produced by a car driving SYD to PER and back again. That’s only including our fabric production, and we’re just getting started.
Recycling also reduces landfill, ocean pollution, energy use, and chemical waste.
By using carbon-neutral shipping.
All of the OORR products are shipped within Australia using our carbon neutral shipping partner, Sendle. Trackable, more convenient, easier, and cheaper than Auspost. Check them out!
By planting trees.
OORR commits to planting five trees for every garment we sell. This acts to combat deforestation, and the resulting forest removes more carbon from the atmosphere – plus it provides employment for local communities and restores habitat and biodiversity.
OORR also donates 50% of profits to charity partners. Velokhaya helps children in marginalised African communities by training them to become athletes. Rainforest Rescue purchases at-risk land to prevent it from being developed, and they plant trees to restore cleared land up in the Daintree.
We work SUPER hard to make all of this happen because we really do care about the future of the planet – but the power ultimately lies with you. Every little bit counts!