Newsletter July 2018
Original Posting July 2018
Welcome to the second month of inspiration, admiration & celebration of all things plastic-free. Thanks for being part of the solution. This month’s theme is Sunshine – so sit back and bask in the glow of making a difference.
Some Straw-some Wins for the Planet
As we all know, the biggest problem with many products is that we use them for a few minutes and then they last forever, and one of the worst offenders are the STRAWS. A few quick sucks and they become trash, and they’re consistently found on beach clean ups around the world. Luckily, a combination of public pressure on governments and businesses has led to a HUGE amount of change. Here’s some of the recent strawtastic wins against the plague of plastic:
- January 2018: A local cleanup group removes over 1200 straws during weekly snorkels on Manly beach – the data is used to influence local council, who is putting a straw ban in place for businesses in the area
- April 2018: British government proposed a ban on plastic straws (& cotton buds), making the UK the first country to ban straws
- May 2018: EU Commission proposed new EU-wide rules banning private use of straws and other single-use plastics
- June 2018: McDonalds in the UK & Ireland announce they’re switching to all paper straws this year
- July 2018: Seattle puts a city-wide plastic straw ban into place
- July 2018: Starbucks announces it will eliminate all plastic straws in all branches over the next year (this move will eliminate about a billion straws a year)
- July 2018: McDonalds Australia pledges to get rid of all plastic straws by 2020
- New York, California, Malibu and several other US cities have plans to implement legislation banning straws by 2020
- Celebrities like Neil deGrasse Tyson, Tom Brady, Russel Crowe and Adrian Grenier have all pledged to say no to straws, and are spreading the hashtag #stopsucking
The change is coming, and the movement is growing every day!! Keep up the strawsome work!
Fun Fact: This year the first ever plastic-free pop-up store opened in Amsterdam, selling entirely plastic free food and beverages. The same company (Ekoplaza - an upmarket supermarket chain found across the Netherlands) also offers plastic-free aisles in their stores.
Plastic Free July
Plastic Free July is winding down for another year, but what an epic month of opening the world’s eyes to plastic pollution. For some of you, Plastic Free July (PFJ) may have been the kicking-off point for your transition away from single-use, for others this may be a totally new thing (& for others, every month is Plastic Free). Either way, it’s inspiring to hear that this July over two million people in 159 countries signed up to reduce their plastic use.
The PFJ initiative started off with just 40 people in a small suburb of Perth, Western Australia in 2011. In 2016 they had about 40,000 people registered, and this year that number exploded to the over 2 million people that are pledging to reduce waste and creating a global and growing awareness of the issue.
Whether or not you registered for Plastic Free July, every day is a chance to start changing some habits. This definitely does not mean becoming a perfect plastic-free human overnight. It’s much easier to throw our trash in the bin or recycling and not worry about where ‘away’ really is. But the change is happening, and the plastic-free snowball is rapidly engulfing individuals and societies around the world.
Plastic Free Town
The small coastal town of Penzance, in Cornwall (United Kingdom) has become Britain’s first plastic free town – uniting the whole community in the fight against single-use plastics.
The certification, issued by UK organisation Surfers Against Sewage, includes five main points such as working with local government, businesses, schools / youth groups and organising events – ultimately working towards behavioural change at every level.
Since receiving the certification, another 330 communities have applied, so far only 29 have received the coveted rating.
The European Space Agency (ESA) has pledged to use their satellites to help monitor marine plastic pollution. By using the satellites currently in orbit around our big blue planet, they will be able to locate the more concentrated areas of marine debris, providing information on ocean currents and plastic quantities which can then be used to tackle the problem.
A technology currently used to identify phytoplankton and water-borne pollution will now help satellites to spot plastic – making the most of special infrared ‘fingerprints’ which are currently used by recycling plants for sorting.
The information collected will be used to put together a global map of plastic pollution, and for now the technology is being perfected with studies in the Mediterranean sea.
And to finish up this month, here’s a little wisdom from the legendary David Attenborough, while speaking about the crossroads humanity has reached and the action needed to tackle plastic pollution:
"For the first time in the history of humanity, for the first time in 500 million years, one species has the future in the palm of its hands. I just hope he realizes that that is the case."
So get out there, use your new knowledge, products & positivity and keep up the fight against plastic pollution. We’ve got this.