KokuaNews_icon Kōkua Blog

#PlasticFreeJuly is Here!

July 15, 2019
By: Mara Pyzel

It’s July which means summer is in full swing! School is out, temperatures are up, and everyone is flocking outdoors! It’s time for barbecues and beach days, providing plenty of opportunities to go plastic free! Kōkua Hawaiʻi Foundation, along with Plastic Free July, invite you to join us in making this summer season the most waste-free yet! #PlasticFreeJuly challenges you to make a commitment to go plastic free for a day, week, month, or a lifetime! If we each commit to making a small change, we can collectively reset some of these staggering stats:

  • 8.8 million tons of plastic ends up in our oceans annually.
  • Single-use plastic packaging makes up 42% of all plastic produced.
  • If we tied them together, all the plastic bags in the world would circle the globe 4,200 times!
  • On average, a plastic bag is used for 12 minutes before being thrown away.
  • Over 250 different types of animals are known to have ingested or become tangled in plastic.

Sources: 5 Gyres; Plastic Free July

But plastic pollution doesn’t stop there. Scientists are rapidly discovering that plastic food packaging is also polluting our bodies:

  • 1,500+ scientific studies have proven multiple chemicals are leaching into food wrapped in plastic. There are potentially between 40,000-100,000 chemicals leaching into food from plastic. 
  • Of water taken from 11 different bottled brands, 93% of the samples were contaminated with microplastics.
  • Plastic chemicals like BPA disrupt your endocrine system, adversely affecting your hormones.
  • Phthalates and other chemicals typically found in plastics have been linked to obesity, heart disease, and cancer.

Sources: National Center for Biotechnology Information; Unwrapped:The Health Risks of Plastics & Food Packaging June 2019 conference

So this #PlasticFreeJuly and beyond, commit to one small change (or more, for you go-getters out there!) and contribute to making a big impact. Below are some ideas for reducing your single-use plastic consumption.

SNACKS WITH SKINS

When planning a beach day or family picnic, pack snacks that are naturally pre-wrapped. Bananas, lilikoʻi, lychee, and apples make great on-the-go snacks, generating nothing but compost. ((For more info on composting, see our ʻĀINA How-To Guides.)

BULK UP
Other healthy snack options can be bought in bulk and eaten with (clean) hands. Nuts and dried fruit are plate- and utensil-free, generating no individual waste. Sandwiches and wraps are also great plate-free foods.

BYO (Bring Your Own...)
Let’s face it - some of those mouthwatering summer classics like coleslaw or baked beans need a little more support. If your favorite picnic or barbeque treat requires plates, utensils, or napkins, go for a reusable, washable option. (We like Preserve and To-Go-Ware products.)

HYDRATION STATION
Fill up from the tap or a water station. This can save you $1,236 a year! Before leaving the house, you can pop some cucumber slices or lime wedges in your reusable bottle and sip delicious, naturally flavored water all day long. It’s guaranteed to taste better than those microplastics! If you have a 5-gallon water cooler, fill it with ice water and bring it along for a long day at the beach, canoe races, soccer field...anywhere! This no-frills water station will quench the entire family’s thirst, one refill at a time.

CAFFEINE WITH A CONSCIENCE
But first, coffee...in a reusable mug! Just as you bring your own bottle along on all your outings, do the same for your morning brew - tea too! In addition to contributing to the landfill, those paper(ish) takeout cups contain plastic in their lining that is best to avoid, especially when sipping a heated beverage, which accelerates chemical leaching.  

KEEP IT CONTAINED
Pack it all to go in reusable food storage containers. If you can, choose styles made from glass, steel, beeswax, cotton, or other natural fiber. Stashing your stainless steel or bamboo straw in your bag or car can also help reduce waste as well as your exposure to chemicals.

Going plastic free may require a little bit of prep, but you’ll soon find that repetition quickly becomes habit. The next thing you know, your awareness will begin educating others - without even meaning to! By simply sticking to your plastic free commitment, people around you will begin following suit. What began as a ripple will soon become the wave change needed to make a world of difference.

Get more ideas on Greening Your Event here.

Visit our store for all the reusable essentials: straws, mugs, cups, totes, and more.

Comments