By the time you read this Plastic Free July will almost be over but that's not a good reason to stop what you chose as your challenge this year. Perhaps you didn’t realise that Plastic Free July was a worldwide programme to encourage people to have a serious look at how they could cut down on the amount of single use plastic in their life?

If you did challenge yourself to give up one of the big 4 – plastic bottles, plastic shopping bags, plastic straws or plastic coffee cups – good for you . However, as the month draws to an end why not add to your victory but choosing another single use product to stop buying? Did you know that 50 % of all the plastic manufactured worldwide is single use plastic ? Used once for a few minutes and then ends up in the landfill or ocean for hundreds of years .How ridiculous is that ! Our recycling recovery rates vary between 7 and 14% so cutting out these single use items from your life is seriously the best way to go.

If you have got these big 4 items out of your life there is certainly a million other places to look to cut down . What about kitchen storage containers ? Don’t buy any more plastic ones if you already have as harmful chemicals leach out into the food inside. Slowly but steadily replace with glass or stainless steel containers in your kitchen . If you have a choice of peanut butter, for instance ,in the supermarket in glass or plastic always choose the glass option. Glass is inert and can be recycled endlessly whereas plastic can't.

Another idea would be to use bars of soap instead of plastic containers of liquid soap. Even buying liquid soap in bulk and refilling small glass containers to reduce the amount of plastic used would be an advantage and you would save money by buying in bulk. Have a look through your bathroom cupboard and see what products are not really needed or could be replaced with a more environmentally friendly alternative. Choose items made from bamboo,glass,cotton ,hemp over plastic or synthetic fibres.

Fiona Matthes
Facebook. Rethink Single Use Plastic
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