Plastic-Free July: Small Steps Towards Sustainable Living

Posted by Mandy Abel on

"We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children." Native American Proverb

Plastic-Free July is a worldwide initiative that urges individuals and communities to minimise their plastic usage and embrace sustainable living practices. In today's world, plastic pollution poses a significant threat to our oceans, wildlife and the delicate balance of our ecosystem. Plastic-Free July empowers us to take action, reduce plastic waste and work towards a healthier, more sustainable future.

Plastic is a versatile and convenient material, but its durability and resistance to decomposition have led to significant environmental problems. The toy industry, in particular, has a significant role to play in addressing plastic waste. Plastic toys are a large contributor to the global pollution problem - often ending up in landfill when they break beyond repair or are discarded in favour of the latest new trends. This wasteful cycle perpetuates environmental harm and contributes to the mounting plastic waste problem that our planet faces.

Sustainable Toys and Fairplay's Commitment

To us, sustainability encompasses much more than just the environment; it recognises that people are just as important as planet. By choosing toys made from natural materials, we contribute to fair trade practices and prioritise the well-being of our artisans. Ethical manufacturing ensures safe working conditions, fair wages and a healthier environment for everyone involved in the production process.

We choose to work with producers who use sustainable materials that can be regenerated at the rate they are consumed, such as FSC wood, bamboo and wool. Our products are also crafted to order, which ensures waste is minimal and there is little social or environmental impact.

Here's a few reasons why this is beneficial:

  1. Toys made from natural materials like wood, organic cotton or recycled materials have a significantly lower environmental footprint compared to plastic toys. Natural materials are also biodegradable, reducing waste and pollution.

  2. Natural toys are designed to be open-ended, durable and long-lasting, minimising the need for replacements. These toys can be repaired (unlike their plastic counterparts) and when they eventually reach the end of their life cycle, they can be easily recycled or composted.

  3. Natural toys are free from harmful chemicals often found in plastic toys. They provide a safe and toxin-free play environment for our tamariki.

By choosing brands who work with natural and recycled materials we are valuing both the craftsmanship and well-being of our artisans. Image Credit: Olli Ella

Progress Not Perfection

Embracing a plastic-free lifestyle is not about perfection but rather making mindful choices every day. It's being aware of our consumption habits and seeking alternatives that align with our values of sustainability and environmental stewardship.

While the problem of plastic pollution may seem daunting, it's essential to remember that every individual action counts. By collectively making small changes in our daily lives, we can create a significant impact and inspire others to join the movement.

We've put together a few tips for reducing our plastic consumption - it's our recommendation to choose just one new action to prioritise for July. This allows you to focus your efforts, prevents overwhelm and provides an opportunity to make a meaningful impact.

Bring Your Own Reusable Bags, Bottles and Utensils
Make it a habit to carry reusable essentials wherever you go. Bring your own durable shopping bags, water bottles and utensils made from materials like stainless steel or bamboo. Keep them in your handbag or car and you'll be able to minimise the use of disposable water bottles and single use cutlery.

Choose Bar Soap and Shampoo Bars
Replace liquid hand soap and shampoo in plastic bottles with bar soap and shampoo bars. These alternatives usually come packaged in minimal or plastic-free packaging.

Try DIY Cleaning Products
Make your own cleaning products using simple ingredients like vinegar, baking soda and essential oils. By avoiding store-bought cleaning products in plastic containers, you can reduce plastic waste and minimise exposure to harmful chemicals. If DIY isn't an option for you, find out if there are any local refill stations in your area.

Opt for Loose Leaf Tea
Instead of purchasing tea bags that often contain plastic, opt for loose leaf tea (or look for plastic-free tea bags). Use a reusable tea infuser or strainer to brew your favourite blends (even better - choose fair trade tea!). It may take a little longer to make but it definitely tastes better (I have been drinking loose leaf tea since 2006 when I first met my English husband - he had to show me the 'proper' way to make it and I've never looked back!)

Support Local Farmers and Farmers Markets
Purchase your fruit, vegetables and other grocery items from local growers or farmers markets. This reduces plastic packaging and also supports local businesses, as well as decreasing the carbon footprint associated with long-distance transportation.

Borrow Instead of Buying
Before purchasing items that you will only need temporarily such as tools, kitchen appliances or books, consider borrowing them from friends and family or your local community groups online. This reduces the demand for new products and decreases plastic packaging waste.

Plastic-Free Parties and Events
When hosting parties or events, avoid using disposable plastic plates, cups and cutlery. Instead, choose reusable or compostable alternatives - borrowing from friends and family is a great way to do this.

Eco-Friendly Gift Wrapping
Instead of using traditional gift wrap which is often finished with plastics and can't be recycled, get creative with eco-friendly alternatives (check out our journal post if you need some ideas!)

Plastic free parties and events don't have to cost the earth - Image credit: Curated Content

"The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it." Robert Swan 🌱

Let Plastic-Free July serve as a catalyst for change - motivating us to embrace eco-friendly choices, including waste reduction in the toy industry, as we work towards a more sustainable and plastic-free future.

It's important to acknowledge and celebrate the progress made, no matter how small it may seem. Together, we can choose sustainable options for playtime and living, promote responsible manufacturing practices and ensure a healthier planet for generations to come.

At Fairplay, we believe in sustainable playtimes and are passionate about promoting ethical and eco-friendly choices. You can read more about our values here. Image Credit: Tara Treasures

Psst! We are giving away two $50 store vouchers to celebrate Plastic-free July! You can enter on Instagram or Facebook - click through to see the entry criteria and t&cs ♻️

← Older Post Newer Post →

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published