One thing we have learned over the past 12 months is that collective action and individual action are necessary to make a difference. Plastic Free Month is something we have always advocated for. What if we held policy makers and manufacturers accountable?
This list contains a variety of ways you can go beyond voting with your wallet to support Plastic-Free Month. This list also includes amazing individuals and organizations who are laying the foundations for plastic-free change. These are the things we will be doing this month. We hope you might find inspiration to do some!
1. SIGN PETITION FOR A NEW UK LAW TO END PLASTIC POLLUTION
This petition will be a great addition to the Plastic Free campaign. Friends of the Earth campaign for the UK wants to stop plastic pollution from its source. They want new legislation that:
- Now is the time to phase out single-use non-essential plastics
- As soon as possible, commits to tackle more difficult plastics like those in clothing and car tyres.
- Plastics can be used to maintain quality of life and reduce environmental pollution.
You can sign the Friends of the Earth plastic pollution petition and then share it with your friends!
2. CALL #BIGBAGBAN
Planet Patrol has been an organization we have enjoyed supporting for many years. We were a paddleboarder on their clean-ups, and we also had their app handy for when we pick up litter. They introduced the #BigBagBan campaign this year.
This campaign shows how the UK’s 5p bag fee – now a 10p per bag fee – is totally flawed. Their Open Letter explains how big chain stores and supermarkets are avoiding selling disposable bags by using Bags For Life. These bags can contain as much as three times as many plastics! Yet, the UK Government calls the scheme a huge success.
Their petition asks for George Eustice MP to be the Environment Secretary. If you feel the same way as me, you might also want to use their email templates for your MP and email supermarkets.
3. CAMPAIGN FOR PLASTIC-FREE PERIOD PRODUCTS
An activist Ella Daish is holding large period product companies accountable for creating unnecessary plastic. If you haven’t signed her petition to make all period product plastic-free, it is worth doing so. Keep up with her work via her IG!
If you are willing to go that extra mile, you can also share a photo calling for #EndPeriodPlastic. This campaign has been a part of our life for quite some time and we know that the action days make a real difference.
Ella has so far gotten ALDI, Sainsbury’s and Superdrug committed to stopping the production of plastic tampon applicators, thereby saving 17 tonnes annually. Lil-Lets and Morrisons were also encouraged by her to create eco-friendly products!
4. JOIN A CLEANUP
A clean-up is the best way to get involved on a local level. Surfers Against Sewage and Planet Patrol both list clean-ups in their local communities. You can also list your clean-up if that’s what you prefer.
5. SPEED UP THE INTRODUCTION A DEPOSIT RETAIL SCHEME
In 2018, the UK Government promised a Deposit Return Scheme (DRS), for plastic bottles. The scheme’s purpose is to encourage people to return disposable plastic bottles, and to receive a small amount back. This would make a big difference in the UK where we use 38.5million plastic bottles per day.
Unfortunately, the implementation of this program has been delayed to 2024. Surfers Against Sewage has called for Government to implement it now. You can contact your MP via their website.
6. CONSIDER ECO ABLEISM IF YOU GO PLASTIC-FREE
We would be remiss if we didn’t include a note on eco-ableism. This term describes how policies and environmental actions can sometimes forget people with disabilities. Every action we take to make the environment more sustainable has its consequences. Recognizing each other’s differences is essential to intersectional environmentalalism.
Isaias Hernandez recently wrote a great post about eco-ableism. It is important to think about how disposable single-use items might be needed by certain people and to ensure that they are included in our actions rather than being erased.
Take into account the recent ban in the UK on plastic straws. It prohibits businesses from selling plastic straws openly, but it allows for exemptions to straws that are required in a medical setting and when requested. This applies to both our personal statements and actions as well as general campaigns.
7. Check out the PLASTIC FREE AWARD WINNERS
Last but not least, we want to recognize the amazing work that so many other people are doing to reduce plastic waste. These are just a few of the many ways you can support a plastic-free world. The Plastic Free Awards this year showcases amazing people who have taken on unnecessary plastic. There are many people to inspire you, from activists to charities to organizations, so don’t forget to get involved! These are just a few of the many options available.