4 methods to interrupt up with single-use plastic this July

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Do you know July kickstarts a month-long international problem to take away plastic out of your every day routine?

As an Power and Sustainability Supervisor for Cisco’s Office Assets (WPR) group, I’m captivated with waste discount, particularly the discount of single-use plastics.

Why concentrate on plastic? Half of all plastic produced is designed for single-use functions — used simply as soon as after which thrown away. On prime of that, it’s constructed from petroleum, a kind of fossil gas that contributes to international warming.

Based on the Pew Charitable Trusts, “An estimated 11 million metric tons of plastic waste enter the ocean yearly. With out fast and sustained motion, that quantity will practically triple by 2040, to 29 million metric tons per yr. That’s the identical as dumping 110 kilos (50 kilograms) of plastic on each meter of shoreline world wide.”

Plastic Free July® is a key initiative of the Plastic Free Basis that envisions a world freed from plastic waste. The Plastic Free Basis 2022 Influence Report reveals that final yr’s Plastic Free July had a report 140 million contributors making acutely aware modifications that decreased plastic waste by 2.6 million tonnes — that’s the equal of round 13 thousand blue whales.

Wish to be a part of the motion in breaking apart with single-use plastic? Listed here are 4 options impressed from the Plastic Free Basis on how one can get began, and a few recommendation from Cisco Inexperienced Staff Community members, which is an Inclusive Group for Cisco workers who’re taken with sustainability:

1. When consuming out: Refuse plastic straws and plastic cutlery, convey reusable options as a substitute.

It’s straightforward once you’re consuming out to only settle for a straw or fork constructed from plastic, however it is just used for a couple of minutes after which discarded. Based on the Pure Useful resource Protection Council (NRDC), most plastics find yourself in landfills or within the surroundings, “Single-use plastics particularly—particularly small objects like straws, baggage, and cutlery—are historically laborious to recycle as a result of they fall into the crevices of recycling equipment and subsequently are sometimes not accepted by recycling facilities. Left alone, plastics don’t actually break down; they only break up. Over time, solar and warmth slowly flip plastics into smaller and smaller items till they ultimately develop into what are referred to as microplastics.”

“I’m impressed to cut back plastic waste not solely as a result of it’s the proper factor to do however it’s now a part of my on a regular basis life,” says Inexperienced Staff member Thea Zaralidou from Greece. “I’m motivated by my two younger sons. We’ve got taught them the significance of recycling, reusing and the way this may have an effect on the neighborhood round them. In major faculty, they’ve discovered in regards to the risks of plastics to the wildlife and the seashores right here in Greece.”

Though plastic straws and plastic cutlery are a small a part of an even bigger downside, it’s a great place to begin eliminating single-use plastic out of your life. Request that your drink be served with out a single-use plastic straw or use a paper straw if one is out there. For these with accessibility points or for many who would nonetheless like a straw, strive reusable choices constructed from supplies like stainless-steel or glass. There are even foldable variations you could simply convey with you subsequent time you exit. In relation to plastic cutlery, there are moveable choices for these as properly, normally constructed from stainless-steel or bamboo. In the event you’re ordering takeout, make sure to let the restaurant know you don’t need them to incorporate single use plastic cutlery together with your order.

2. Whilst you’re procuring: Use your individual reusable procuring baggage and keep away from plastic packaging when shopping for objects on the grocery retailer.

Like different single-use plastic merchandise, plastic baggage and packaging don’t biodegrade and are unlikely to be recycled. Based on the New York Instances, “The larger downside arises when individuals don’t get rid of their baggage correctly, and the plastic finally ends up fluttering round within the wild, clogging up waterways and threatening wildlife.”

Reusable procuring baggage are colourful and handy; simply retailer them in a spot you gained’t overlook, like by the entrance door or in your automobile. Select baggage constructed from pure or recycled fibers similar to ethically produced cotton or recycled plastic bottles. Wish to make an even bigger impression with a smaller footprint? You may make your individual reusable procuring baggage from an outdated piece of clothes.

Based on a 2020 evaluate, the majority of plastic waste that’s polluting the surroundings is because of meals packaging plastics. Once you’re looking for groceries, attempt to keep away from pre-packaged, single-use plastic. Decide to purchase free or bulk fruits and veggies as a substitute, and bonus factors should you bag them with light-weight, reusable produce baggage. Most baggage might be thrown straight into your washer after they want a clear. You possibly can take this one step additional with deli and baked items by bringing your individual reusable container.

Inexperienced Staff member Cristobal Sayrols Estrada, from Mexico Metropolis, practices sustainable procuring. “I’ve adopted every day habits to attenuate my use of single-use plastics. I prioritize buying merchandise from regionally sourced grocery shops or markets and consciously keep away from plastic movie and containers,” Cristobal says. “Once I go grocery procuring, I convey my very own reusable baggage and containers to cut back waste. By implementing these practices, I hope to contribute to the discount of plastic waste and defend our surroundings.”

3. Once you’re on the go: Convey a reusable espresso mug and use a reusable water bottle.

A green reusable water cup
Diana’s reusable journey cup

Based on a 2023 report from the UN, “…the world at the moment generates round 600 billion plastic bottles amounting to roughly 25 million tonnes of plastic waste, which isn’t recycled however is disposed of in landfills or as unregulated waste.”

With hybrid work, it may be straightforward to choose up your favourite drink in your means into the workplace, served in a single use plastic container.

Whereas extra individuals are utilizing reusable water bottles lately, many individuals overlook to convey a reusable container after they go to a espresso store.

Paper espresso cups, regardless of the title, have a plastic lining that retains the liquid from dissolving the cup, and are sometimes capped with a plastic lid.

Many retailers are completely happy to fill-up your private container, some will even offer you a reduction for bringing it in. Or should you plan to hang around and work for some time, request a ceramic cup or mug.

Inexperienced group members Sharon Hatego from Kenya and Diana Mehnen from Germany convey reusables on the go. Sharon says, “I at all times carry my water bottle so I don’t have to purchase bottled water. Even my youngsters know this — it’s proper up there with toilet verify earlier than we go away the home.” And Diana carries her personal journey cup for aircraft journey and refill choices — see photograph above.

4. Whereas at house: Keep away from utilizing house items merchandise packaged in single-use plastic.

Based on the Ellen MacArthur Basis, your common bottle of family cleaner is 90% water. Cease paying for water and discover concentrated or refill cleaners to cut back family plastic waste.

Many cleansing merchandise, from window cleaners to clothes detergent, are available single-use plastic containers. Bulk meals shops generally is a great spot to search for options. Many shops help you usher in a private container (or get one on the retailer) and refill your cleaning soap, detergent, and shampoo (to call just some choices). After getting tried this, discover different packaging-free objects out there in-store.

One other choice to discover is concentrated cleansing merchandise. Strive powdered laundry detergent or cleaning soap concentrates. Many of those merchandise work similar to their conventional counterparts when they’re launched to water. Whilst you could not fully remove plastic with these choices, you’ll drastically cut back the emissions, and subsequently fossil fuels, required for manufacturing and transportation of your family cleaners.

Inexperienced Staff member Karen Bruntz from america reduces plastic in her magnificence merchandise as properly. “I exploit shampoo and conditioner bars and solely bar cleaning soap to keep away from plastic bottles,” she says.

Able to break-up with single use plastic? Be a part of the Plastic Free July problem right here.


If you need extra details about what Cisco is doing in regard to our environmental, social, and governance (ESG) initiatives, targets and commitments, our newest impression, in addition to insurance policies and extra disclosures for specialised audiences, please see our 2022 Cisco Objective Report and supplemental data in our ESG Reporting Hub.

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