So many people, including myself have been inspired to reduce their plastics after watching David Attenborough’s ‘Blue Planet’. The extent of problem can feel overwhelming at times but the global campaign, ‘Plastic Free July’, provides some fantastic resources and tips on how you can do you bit, from pledging to carry a re-useable coffee cup, to taking your own carrier bags shopping and buying loose fruit and veg. There are so many benefits to reducing single-use plastics: we can have cleaner streets and oceans and protect our wildlife, but what about the health benefits?
It is easy to view the environment and our health as separate but human health and planetary health are deeply inter-connected. We are reliant upon healthy eco-systems and a stable climate to provide us with the very foundations of life: clean air, water and food. Taking action to reducing single-use plastics will help to:
- Reduce emissions; 99% of plastics are made from fossil fuels. If plastic production and use grow as currently expected, by 2030, these emissions could be equivalent to the emissions released by more than 295 new 500-megawatt coal-fired power plants. Climate change presents numerous threats to human health.
- Reduce to toxicity of our air and water.
- Protect our wildlife, soil and food sources.
- Reduce our exposure to toxic chemicals contained in single-use plastic products.
- Cut down on processed foods, which often contain large amount of plastic.
Reducing plastics is therefore a win-win situation for both our planet and our health. Despite this as we all know, changing our behaviour is not easy! Many of the strategies we use to change our health behaviours can also help you to reduce plastics. For example, take small steps- don’t try and change everything at once, set a realistic goal and plan ahead. Don’t strive for perfection but do what you can, when you can.
My pledge this #PlasticFreeJuly is to start using my reusable coffee cup again, a habit that slipped during the lock-downs. What is yours? For tips and inspiration visit Plastic Free July