Plastic-Free July in Croydon

Plastic-Free July in Croydon — the challenge

Posted by Admin on 18 May 2014

How much plastic have you used today? And how much of it was “single-use”, designed to be thrown away once you’d finished with it?

Plastic-Free July is an international challenge to give up single-use plastic during the month of July. It started in Australia but now happens all over the world — and this year, for the first time, we’re doing it in Croydon.

The problem with plastic

Plastic is a big problem environmentally because it doesn’t break down naturally — so once it’s produced it’s with us forever, whether in landfill, as litter on our streets, or floating around in the sea and washing up on beaches.

Why give up plastic items entirely when some of them can be reused or recycled? Reusing is better than throwing away, it’s true — but you can’t reuse everything, and it doesn’t stop new items being produced.

Another problem is that plastic recycling isn’t like recycling paper or glass. There are many different types of plastic and a lot of them can’t be recycled at all. Even when plastic can be recycled, there are restrictions on what can be made out of it. So pretty much every time a plastic item gets recycled, it’s downgraded to a lower quality category, and eventually it’ll end up in landfill.

What we can do about it

The challenge covers all plastic items that are made to be used once and then thrown away. So we’re not just giving up carrier bags but also plastic packaging, cling film, takeaway tubs, plastic bottles, plastic straws, and all the rest.

This might seem impossible; and yes, it would be very difficult to cut out single-use plastic entirely. But the idea behind the challenge is to make you more aware of the plastic you consume, and show you where you can cut down your use.

On this site, Croydon resident Kake will share thoughts, questions, ideas, and progress reports about taking the challenge in Croydon. If you’re interested in joining in, please get in touch!

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