Why joining Plastic Free July is going to fight our climate crisis

*Updated from original post, 2019

It's July! For us, this means setting an example to you (our amazing customers), all the things we will do to reduce our plastic consumption. This is because July is the month where millions of people from around the globe (and brands) pledge to reduce their plastic consumption and join the Plastic Free July movement. What we'd like to discuss here, is why so many people join this movement. 

To do that, we need to dig deeper to get to the cause of Plastic Free July ...

The Climate Crisis - yes, it's real.

Whichever way you swing the data, there's no getting away from the fact that we're in the midst of a climate crisis. So why isn't it dominating our everyday lives? When it comes to the fight for survival, there are no grey areas. It's black and white. We MUST cut down our emissions. With everything we know, why don't we hear about it, see it on the news, or get inundated with advertisements about it? 

Still think we're pulling your leg that we're in the midst of a climate crisis? Watch this.

How has it got to the point where it takes the voices of children to raise the alarm? (familiar with the Schools Strike for Climate Change movement?) Whichever way you look at our situation, if anyone was seriously dedicated to slowing down the speed of which we're warming up this planet - they would have done it by now, and we wouldn't be writing this post. 

Climate change encompasses not only rising average temperatures but also extreme weather events, shifting habitats and wildlife populations, rising seas, and a range of other impacts. All of those changes are emerging as humans continue to add heat-trapping greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, changing the rhythms of climate that all living things have come to rely on.

In 2018 the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) stated that by 2030 we had to half our global emissions if we were to stay under the 1.5% mark of total warming. At the rate we are producing emissions now, we are due to hit 1% at the beginning of 2020. The world as we know it won't last until 2030 if we continue to behave the way we do now!

    So how do we make real change within our everyday lives to counteract the climate crisis? Read on! ...

    Plastic Free July

    Plastic waste contributes to 3.8% of global greenhouse gas emissions. To put that into perspective, 3.8% is almost double what the aviation industry produces (yes, i'm talking planes here!). If plastic were a country, it would be the 5th highest emitter in the world!

    At 380m tonnes a year, we produce 190 times more plastic than we did in 1950. If the demand for plastic continues to grow at its current rate of 4% a year, emissions from plastic production will reach 15% of global emissions by 2050. 

    Started by a small team in Australia in 2011, the Plastic Free movement is now a global campaign that calls for a world free from plastic waste. Millions of people take part each year, and many successfully commit to living plastic free far beyond the month of July. Plastic Free July participants:

    • reduce their household waste on average by 76kg per household per year (7.6%)
    • cut their use of recyclables (disposable packaging) on average by 28kg per household per year (5.6%)
    • contribute to a total saving of 490 million kg of plastic waste each year

    In reducing your plastic consumption you are reducing your plastic waste. In turn, this reduces the volume of greenhouse gasses emitted (methane and ethylene) as plastics degrade when exposed to sunlight. It's not a huge change, but it is an easily actionable change we can all make right now!

    Measure it

    For those of us that like to measure our impact, you can use this handy plastic footprint calculator to measure your consumption and its impact. The results are enlightening - we recommend you screenshot the final stats page and pin it on your fridge as a reminder!

    Join in and have fun!

    This July (and for as long as we can afterwords) our Duffle&Co team is taking the Plastic Free challenge. We'll update you about our progress (keep your eye on stories) and we want you to join us! Start your Plastic Free July journey with us here. There's heaps of tips and ideas to get your friends, colleagues and family involved. You could even turn it into a competition! 

    Let us know how you get on with your Plastic Free July challenge, and tag us in your pictures using #wearyourvalues and @duffleandco. We're all in this together. Good luck!