Plastic Free July with Tegan Gibaud
Hi there! I’m Tegan and I’m in my final year of a BSc in Biodiversity and Ecology and have a great interest in climate change mitigation and adaptation. I am passionate about accessible sustainability, slow fashion and slow beauty, elevating small and sustainable businesses and using my privilege to uplift those without. I hope to share a few thought-provoking insights into Plastic Free July.
Plastic Free July developed in 2011 as a key initiative of the Plastic Free Foundation. This campaign has continued to be globally recognized and even win awards. Plastic Free July serves as a purpose for us as the general public to analyze our relationship and dependence on one-use plastic. While I believe it is not the responsibility of the general public to solve global issues such as the pollution crisis, I believe we, as consumers, still have a part to play. The United Nations Environmental Programme states that 400 million tonnes of plastic waste is produced every year and Plastic Oceans states that 10 million tonnes is dumped into the ocean every year. These exorbitant amounts are difficult to even understand sometimes. To put this into perspective, it is estimated that by 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean compared to that of fish, measured in mass. This shocking information was presented in a report from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation in partnership with the World Economic Forum, where it was predicted that oceans will contain an estimate of 937 million tonnes of plastic and 895 million tonnes of fish by 2050.
So how do we mitigate this as the general public? In a capitalist economy, we ‘vote’ with our money. Supporting small businesses that consider sustainability and aim to reduce their waste is one way of doing so. There has been a rise in what is termed as “The Green Consumer”. The Green Consumer Theory describes the phenomenon of which younger generations of consumers are aware of their environmental impacts and their obligation to protect the environment which leads to more sustainable consumption and the support of ‘greener’ companies. Shopping at local, perhaps low-waste stores such as Nude Foods and Shop Zero are a foolproof way of reducing your Plastic Footprint, which is the amount of plastic one contributes to the world’s plastic waste. Actions to reduce one's Plastic Footprint, will differ from person to person. The point of Plastic Free July is doing what you can as an individual to reduce your one-use plastic use and implicating it in the long term.
Plastic Free July: https://www.plasticfreejuly.org
United Nations Environmental Programme: https://www.unep.org/interactives/beat-plastic-pollution/
- Tegan Gibaud | Sustainable Content Creator and Scientist