This month has been Plastic-Free July – a global movement aimed at helping people to be part of the solution to plastic pollution and at discouraging the use of single-use plastics.
The Plastic-Free July campaign was started in 2011 by its Founder, Rebecca Prince-Ruiz. It has now grown in size and momentum, and this year it is celebrating its 10 year anniversary – a fantastic achievement!
According to Plastic-Free July’s Impact Report 2020, it is predicted that plastic production will almost quadruple by 2050. While awareness has also massively increased – which is undoubtedly a good thing and has brought with it lots of positive change – according to their report only 9% of all the plastic ever produced has been recycled, meaning that a huge 91% of all plastic is now in landfill or in the environment. There is clearly still a long way to go, then!
Statistics like that can seem a little overwhelming, and to me it almost brings on the classic ‘one person can’t make a difference’ attitude if I think about it too much. But then I remind myself that that’s the exact opposite of the attitude I want to have, because there is so much power in the collective actions of multiple individuals, and if we all make little changes then it will have a huge impact.
I am not claiming to be perfect in the slightest, I sadly still use a lot of single-use plastics, particularly when it comes to the food that I buy. That being said, I’ve certainly become increasingly aware of the problem in recent years and I am trying to make more and more plastic-free swaps in my day-to-day life; I am always opting for plastic-free options for the fresh produce that I buy from supermarkets if they have it available now, I try to always carry at least one reusable tote bag with me (and get annoyed with myself if I forget it!), I am using a local shop that offers plastic-free refills where I can reuse my existing laundry and hand soap bottles, and I'm just generally trying to make plastic-free swaps where I can. I think it’s important for people to feel like they don’t have to be perfect though - and they certainly don’t have to be perfect straight away; that's almost impossible in today’s world! Instead, I think it’s important to celebrate the little choices that really can have a huge impact.
How is Lovethical trying to help?
I knew when I started Lovethical that I wanted to do everything I could to reduce the environmental impact that it would have.
The packaging that I settled on consists of:
- Plain un-dyed brown cardboard boxes
- Acid-free tissue paper
- 100% recycled and biodegradable shredded kraft paper
- 100% paper ribbon (I chose this over using a sticker on the tissue paper so that customers can more easily reuse the tissue paper if they want to)
- 100% recycled business cards that are made from used paper cups, and printed with vegan ink.
Lovethical's packaging is therefore 100% plastic-free, 100% recyclable and 100% vegan.
I also recently added the option at checkout for customers to tick a checkbox to say that they are happy to receive their order with reused packaging, if I have any available. While I cannot guarantee that this reused packaging is 100% plastic-free or recyclable (although it usually is), I would rather reuse it than recycle it myself (think reduce, reuse, recycle).
Again, I’m not claiming to be perfect at all, and I’m so open to any suggestions for improvements or changes I could make if that would improve things further – please do feel free to get in touch if you have any suggestions!
Ultimately, I think that the journey to reducing or cutting-out plastic entirely isn’t about getting it perfect, and it’s certainly not about getting it perfect straight away. Instead, like so much in life, it’s about the little choices we make every day that can have a huge impact. So if you’re striving for plastic-free perfection, try not to beat yourself up about it if you’re struggling to get there, and think instead about the amazing difference you can make (or are already making) just by making simple everyday plastic-free choices where you can.
For more information about Plastic-Free July visit their website by clicking here.
* The 'Stop Plastic Pollution' image was obtained with my subscription to Canva.