How our team got involved in Plastic Free July

Over the past month, you will have seen a number of articles from two of our Consultants, Jodie Yates and Rebecca Moseley, full of shocking facts about single-use plastics and useful tips on how you can reduce your use of them to not only save you money, but also the planet! We've put together a roundup of all of this month's blogs, as well as some inspirational examples of how our Socitm Advisory colleagues have changed small things to reduce your use of single-use plastics over the past month.

Consultant Rebecca Moseley has made some washable face masks from old fabric

Did you know... if every person in the UK used one single-use face mask each day for a year, it would create 66,000 tonnes of contaminated plastic waste?

We kick started the month by looking at something that has affected all of our lives over the past few months - face masks! Now that face masks are an essential item to have, especially if you want to go shopping or use public transport, using single-use plastic masks daily will have a devastating effect on the planet, with tonnes of these face masks ending up on landfill or in our oceans - and they can take up to 500 years to decompose!

The easiest way to help? - Make your own fabric face masks. It's much simpler than it looks, and there's some great tutorials you can follow in the original blog here.

Client Services Director Kamelia Singh has recently bought stainless steel straws to replace plastic ones for her children

Did you know... plastic bottles could outweigh fish in our oceans by 2050?

The second of our blogs looked deeper into the impact of these single-use plastics, particularly on our oceans. The most common of this type of plastic found dumped on our beaches or streets, or in our oceans are plastic water bottles, takeaway coffee cups and plastic straws.

With the average Londoner purchasing 175 plastic bottles every year and the average plastic straw used for use 20 minutes yet sticking around for 60 years, this is having a shocking impact on our environment. There are simple things that can be done though! Purchasing reusable versions of bottles, cups and straws made from stainless steel, glass or aluminium are easily found and very economical. Take a look at some more great alternatives in the original blog here.

Graphic Designer Rachael McKenzie also uses stainless steel alternatives to plastic straws at home

Did you know... LED bulbs use 90% less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs and last around 25 - 30 years?

The third blog in our series saw some great tips on how we can make more eco-friendly and sustainable choices in our homes, with great tips to go alongside using less single-use plastic and make even more of a positive impact on the planet. Why not try growing your own vegetables or selecting the unpackaged food options in your local supermarket on your next visit?

Simple things like using LED or energy saving lightbulbs as opposed to traditional incandescent lightbulbs not only saves you money on your energy bills, but also means that less lightbulbs are ending up on landfills. And it's not just lightbulbs that can save you a few pennies on your bills - there are a number of renewable energy suppliers growing in popularity in the UK offering great rates that allow you to reduce your carbon footprint. You can find out more about these in the original blog here.

Consultant Martin Wilkinson has been using Lush shaving cream for their reusable pots and a metal razor

Did you know... every plastic toothbrush ever made still exists on the planet?

In week four we looked deeper into plastic usage in the home, travelling to the bathroom to dig out some of the main culprits - particularly toothbrushes! First produced in the 1930s, and with a decomposition time of 400 years, every single plastic toothbrush that has ever been made still exists somewhere on the planet; but there are some great alternatives you can use to stop 300 toothbrushes per person going to landfill, like bamboo alternatives.

There's also small changes you can make with non-plastic items in your home, like using soap bars rather than body washes and shampoos that come in plastic bottles, or using a metal safety razor rather than a plastic disposable one. Take a look at some of the ways you can transform your bathroom in the original blog here.

Did you know... humans consume around 52,000 micro-plastics a year, and that number increases if you regularly drink from plastic bottles and cups?

Although we are aware of the plastic that is filling up our supermarket shelves there are more sinister health implications that come from coating our food in plastic. A recent study highlighted that humans are ingesting ever increasing amounts of micro-plastic particles and these may start to have noticeable health effects.

Going completely zero waste overnight is an unrealistic goal, however there are small changes you can easily make to kick start your journey. In the final blog in our series, we travelled to a different room in the house - the kitchen - and introduced some great tips for reducing your single-use plastic easily.

Graphic Designer Rachael McKenzie uses reusable bags to purchase fruit and vegetables from her local supermarket

The easiest things to do to reduce your plastic use in the kitchen starts outside the home, however, in the supermarket. When you go to the supermarket or your local food store, a lot of items are packaged in plastic wrap or offer plastic bags to put loose fruit and vegetables in. You can always choose not to use the plastic bags and just buy the food items loose, however if you do like to have a bag, supermarkets now offer reusable alternatives.

One of the biggest culprits in the supermarket is the plastic carrier bag. Despite an 86% reduction in the number of single-use carrier bags used in the UK since 2016, there is still a large number that are purchased. And even the long-life bags aren't as good for the environment as we have been led to believe - these can often contain much more plastic than an average carrier bag. Why not try packaging your shopping in cardboard boxes or making your own reusable bags from fabric?

Consultant Rebecca Moseley has a suite of cleaning, cooking and bathroom products that are plastic free

There's also some great alternatives you can use in your home as alternatives to plastic cutlery and cooking utensils, and even leaning products - take a look at some of these in the original blog here.

Thank you to everyone who has taken part and read our Plastic Free July blog. Be sure to continue the good work and find out more about how you reduce your plastic use on the Plastic Free July website.

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