Plastic-free July is a yearly challenge that helps millions of people and businesses around the world reduce their reliance on plastic waste.
Koskela's ugly packaging As a business, we are climate action activists and are constantly trying to improve our environmental footprint. Some big changes we’ve made are:
Koskela's ugly packaging
As a business, we are climate action activists and are constantly trying to improve our environmental footprint. Some big changes we’ve made are:
Feeling inspired? Here are 9-feel good actions you can take for plastic-free July.
#1 Ditch single-use plastic from your kitchen, laundry & bathroom
Zero Co Australia is a start-up that is causing a big stir. It launched in 2019 with a Kickstarter campaign and has grown exponentially from there. We can understand why: the company provides a closed-loop service for personal care and home cleaning products.
Order what you like from the website, and it arrives as an empty dispenser (made from ocean, beach and landfill bound plastic) with a refill pouch (made from recycled materials diverted from landfill). You fill the dispenser and return the pouch with a pre-paid satchel they provide. Zero then clean, refill and reuse the pouches.
More than 32,000 households and businesses that have signed up so far. Help clock up those numbers for plastic-free July!
#2 Take 3 For the Sea
Take 3 for the sea is a super practical and simple initiative started by two friends in 2009: Marine ecologist Roberta Dixon-Valk and youth educator Amanda Marechal. Their goal is to encourage people to take 3 pieces of rubbish with you when you leave the beach or waterway to make an instant difference.
This initiative is close to our hearts, as Koskela co-founder and Director: Sasha Titchkosky joined other business leaders and the Take 3 for the sea team on Manly beach earlier in the year to take part in their beach clean-up.
"I was horrified to see first hand just how much plastic is washing up on beaches all over our coastline. Taking part in the Take 3 CEO clean up morning was really eye opening. In only 2 hours and on 1 small Sydney beach 55 CEOs managed to pick up 27,603 pieces of rubbish weighing 87 kgs with more than 20,000 of these being plastic!"
#3 Start or join a co-op
We spoke to a good friend of Koskela's, Phoebe Port, who is a member of a co-op with 8 share houses.
What's been your experience taking part in a home produce co-op?
Our fresh produce co-op has been a very fun and cost-effective way of bringing the most seasonal fruit and veggies into our home every week. The co-op is made up of 8 share houses, with the market run and drop off responsibilities rotating each week on an 8-week cycle. The weekly budget is $200, bringing the total cost per house to $25 a week for fridges and fruit bowls overflowing with fresh produce.
Going out to the Flemington markets early on a Saturday morning allows us to choose the most seasonal produce from local growers. There are no rules or shopping lists, allowing each house to choose what looks best - whether it be Thai basil, daikon radishes, persimmons or green tomatoes - a challenge for us to stay creative with our recipes.
What impact has this experience had on your connection to community?
The co-op community mostly communicates through an online chat forum, meeting up (virtually, during COVID) every so often to discuss budget, what's working and what can change. As for our house, being part of a fresh produce co-op keeps the cooking communal and the kitchen the centre of our home. I think that has been the most significant benefit of the co-op arrangement.
#4 Have your groceries delivered by a sustainable supermarket disrupter
For anyone who has switched to buying groceries online, Pretty Green is your one-stop sustainable supermarket. It started out as a gift store of small-batch, unique Australian products back in 2019. Now, they have created an app where you can shop and order 100% Australian fresh produce and supermarket products with carbon neutral delivery.
If you have not made the switch to buying groceries online consider this: with the Pretty Green app you can have your groceries delivered in timely 2-hour slots from 7am to 9pm, 7 days a week. Choose your preferred slot and they will shoot you a text when we’re 15 minutes away. Also, delivery is free.
By delivering food directly, Pretty Green can drastically reduce single-use plastic. They are also looking at refillable product options and 100% electric car delivery fleet.
#5 Recycle everything!
Power Pickup is a smart recycling business that picks up things that are a little tricker for the average person to recycle such as:
- Soft plastics
- Clothing & textiles
- Other miscellaneous items like books and toys
The subscription is free and includes 2 bags a month of tricky recyclables which they pick up from your door on demand. You can opt in for up to 5 bags a month for $2 a bag. So it’s cost effective and enviro-savvy.
#6 Make your own reusable bags from textile waste
In 2013 Tania and Jordyn started a conversation about plastic. They found out it was overflowing landfills, floating in the oceans, strangling marine life and causing all sorts of trouble. So, what could be done about it?
The answer stared them in the face, from the one million plastic bags being used every minute, the 10.46 million of tonnes of fabric waste created each year, and the willingness and generosity of people from all fabrics of society to do something about it.
They created Boomerang Bags, a platform that supports the diversion of post-consumer material (waste) into reusable bags to replace plastic bags and most importantly, start conversations.
The initiative spread enthusiastically, and is now in over 1100 communities worldwide. Hundreds of thousands of plastic bags have been saved from landfill, and behaviour change went way beyond the bag to other single-use plastics and sustainable living. Not to mention the immeasurable social impact of the conversations, connections and new friendships created in the process!
#7 Share reusable bags at the supermarket
Speaking of reusable bags...have you ever arrived at the supermarket ready for a big grocery shop and realised you forgot your reusable bags? The bags major retailers sell for 15c each are made from thick plastic that is feared to cause even more environmental havoc than the plastic bags of yesteryear, especially when so many people still consider them single-use.
Councils and shopping centres are supporting bag share initiatives that remedy our occasional forgetfulness. The idea is that collection bins are placed in convenient locations, and you can borrow bags when you forget your own and return them on your next visit. This scheme is a no brainer, so if your local council is not onboard, lobby them to do so!
#8 Give your waste a second chance!
ShareWaste is a virtual matchmaker, connecting people who have an excess of food scraps with nowhere to compost to others in their neighbourhood with ample composting space or hungry gardens and worms. This handy site is community driven, and not only helps turn your compost into garden gold but create a thriving community of neighbours helping each other out.
#9 Support Numbulwar Numburindi Arts
This one will warm your heart. Aboriginal artists from Numbulwar Numburindi Arts have devised a novel way to clean up their coastal environment in the Northern Territory.
Abandoned fishing lines, known as ghost nets, wash up on Numbulwar’s shores and artists collect and process them to create bold, bright and brilliant fibre art. Frighteningly, ghost nets account for about 40% of all ocean plastic. Numbulwar baskets divert this plastic away from the oceans, keeping nets clear of vulnerable sea life.
Koskela exhibited the fibre art of Numbulwar Numburindi Arts in May, and some pieces are still available! The bags and jewellery in particular are beautiful pieces of wearable art with a powerful embodied message.
Like these ideas? Let us know if you give any of them a go, or tell us what other actions you will be taking for Plastic-Free July in the comments below.