Saturday, 10 July 2021

Plastic-free July

Plastic Free July 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. 

Why is plastic bad?

Plastic is basically made from natural gas and crude oil, which are both fossil fuels, and its creation process significantly contributes to carbon emissions. Plastic bags pose a great threat to marine life and birds, as it is often mistaken for food, which leads to poisoning, choking, entanglement and blocked intestines - all of which usually result in death. Plastic does not biodegrade. Unless recycled properly, plastic will remain on our sideroads, beaches, and oceans for well over 500 years. Compare this with the average plastic bag use of 25 minutes. Not more than 9% of plastic is recycled globally. Malta has the lowest recycling rate in Europe, at 19% compared to 56% of Germany.

We need to move away from this throw-away society that we have sadly been accustomed to. It is killing the planted and killing us, too. Either through pollution, new diseases, or even by plastic consumption. Studies reveal that humans are consuming a horrifying amount of plastic. A 2019 joint study quantified that a human on average eats the equivalent of a Lego brick of plastic every year. Even scarier, microplastics, which are tiny plastic particles smaller than 5mm, are even present inside human placentas, which researchers say is a matter of great concern.

So what do we do?

It is not easy to live without plastic since it is the primary packaging for almost everything, but there are many different actions we can take to fight the plastic problem. Here are some ideas:

* Refuse plastic straws and plastic cutlery

* Take reusable bags with you when you go shopping

* Get hold of a reusable water bottle and always carry it with you

* Install a water filter at your home

* Pack your lunch in reusable food wraps and containers

* Avoid snacks and supermarket shelf-products with excessive plastic packaging 

* Switch to reusable metal razors and bamboo tooth-brushes

* Choose return & refill schemes to buy food items such as nuts, pasta, and legumes, but also washing liquid, body wash, and shampoo

* Write to your favourite brand and ask them to ditch the plastic! You can find a sample letter here

* Support local businesses that are plastic-free

* Join the Wave of Change, a local non-profit organisation raising awareness about marine pollution. Last month, its founder Neil Agius broke a world record for the longest swim (124.4km) from Linosa to Malta, in 52 hours, in an attempt to encourage more people to take action. You'll need to pick up 6 pieces of plastic trash, snap a picture and post it on social, and ask 6 friends to do the same. 

* Take the worldwide Plastic Free July challenge. Enter your details here to take the challenge and get inspired by the latest plastic-free ideas. Together we can make a difference and be a part of the solution. Join 326 million people worldwide!

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