Are you an ostrich, a lemming or a meerkat? What will you ditch and switch for Plastic Free July 2023?

Composite image by Anthea Bareham

Plastic Free July is an initiative of the Plastic Free Foundation, originally started in
Australia in 2011 and which has now spread worldwide. One of its core values is that
“small changes add up to a big difference”.

So, how about resolving to further reduce your ‘consumption’ of single-use plastic packaging? Start with baby steps and gradually build on the small wins. Recycling the plastic does not solve the problem and we simply have to try harder for the planet than just adopting an I’m-doing-my-bit-because-I-recycle-all-my-plastic-therefore-it’s-fine-to-carry-on-using-more state of mind. Sadly this is only playing into the hands of the big companies and in all probability shifting the responsibility onto another country.

Plastic Free Axminster offers many suggestions, via its social media pages and website,
as to how we, the consumers, can show our concern and make a stand, from picking up
‘naked’ fruit and veg, ditching single-use plastic bottles for refillable stainless steel ones,
refusing single-use bags, carrying a reusable coffee cup, to ridding our lives of wet wipes*
by switching to reusable, washable cloths, to name but a few. Head over to our website to
find more simple swaps, or our new instagram account for the ‘Tip of the Day’ once we are in July.

DEFRA, the Department for the Environment, Food & Rural Affairs Committee, called for a
ban on all exports of UK plastic waste by the end of 2027, and for the government to
publish a roadmap this year on how to achieve this. The UK exports around 60 per cent of the
over 2.5 million tonnes of plastic packaging waste it creates. That will be an additional ten million tonnes of it choking the environment before this happens. The committee
heard alarming accounts of British plastic waste being dumped and burned in Turkey,
causing “irreversible and shocking” environmental and human health impacts. The report
is available through this link.

So, for the rest of 2023 and beyond, which characteristics will you adopt with regard to
plastic and our planet? Will it be those of an ostrich (head buried in the sand hoping it will
all go away), a lemming (someone else’s problem and heading for the cliff edge) or a
meerkat (always on the lookout to make eco improvements to a lifestyle)? It is down to
individual choice!

*it is appreciated that there are circumstances, due to some disabilities and medical reasons, when there are few suitable alternatives.