Plastic Free July: looking back and looking forward.
Updated: Aug 1
Here we are at the end of July, the month in which those who are eco-conscious flag up the need to cut down on single-use plastics with the use of the hashtag #plasticfreejuly. Does this campaign make a difference and does it matter anyway?
A year ago, I wrote a blog on this subject and I'm not going to repeat myself here because what I said then is as relevant now as it was then, and you can read it here. However, I think a bit of an update is good!
The problem of waste plastics polluting the oceans and waterways of the world, breaking down into minute fragments that are then ingested by marine life and get into the food chain is still relevant and should be of concern to us all. This alone is a reason to reduce our dependence on single-use plastics and other plastic-based products that break down into microplastics with everyday use.
Amongst these items are those green washing-up sponges which I now avoid, and instead use products from The Seep Company which are plant-based products and are sustainably produced. The company also has a blog that gives lots of useful tips for eco-friendly living.
In my previous blog, I mentioned that I was using solid soap and shampoo bars rather than handwash and shampoo in plastic bottles. I admit to having been wary of using the solid shampoo having read articles about how long it takes for the hair to get used to this but I was delighted that this wasn't my experience and have since learnt that those issues only occur if the "shampoo" is soap based. The one I use is from The Chapel Soap Company and I have found it's great! I think I wash my hair more thoroughly with it and certainly don't need to wash my hair as frequently, so it lasts for ages and my hair feels healthy and (I think) thicker. I have recently also started using a deodorant from the same company which, like their other products, is made from ethically produced ingredients and packaged in cardboard.
The need to reduce our use of plastics and not be over-reliant on recycling is of even more importance this year as we become more aware of the increased price of energy. Although the cost to our household budgets is a concern, the requirement to reduce the use of fossil fuels worldwide is essential for the sake of the planet. Recycling takes power and our waste plastics can't be shipped overseas without considerable use of oil. So reducing our consumption and reusing goods and materials as much as possible should be seen as the way forward.
Small, independent businesses are often in a position to be able to create new items from reclaimed materials without the consumption of lots of power. Moreover, their products will often be made to last! I am delighted that I'm not alone in being a bag maker who produces new bags from upcycled or reclaimed fabrics, and there are increasing numbers of small businesses that are making use of reclaimed materials. Here is a small selection of the unique bags that I currently have available that are made, predominantly, from upcycled fabrics:
You can see and purchase more of my creations by visiting my Etsy shop.
It is my hope that an increasing number of people will take the message of #plasticfreeJuly on board and reduce their use of plastics and help to protect our precious planet. Please share this blog if you agree!