Every year, the Plastic Free July campaign encourages us all to think about how we can make sustainable swaps to reduce single-use plastic waste. Whether it’s at home, in school or in the workplace, there are plenty of resources that can be used in place of plastic products which won’t contribute to plastic pollution.
In this month’s blog, we will explore what Plastic Free July is, the companies that are reducing their plastic waste and what DCW is doing to tackle the single-use plastic problem.
What is Plastic Free July?
Founded by the Plastic Free Foundation, Plastic Free July is an annual campaign which is run in, you guessed it, July! Participants take on the challenge of going plastic-free for the entire month. The idea is that new behaviours and habits adopted throughout the month will continue in everyday life beyond July. Weekly emails help participants stay motivated throughout the month and provide handy tips and tricks on how to avoid single-use plastic.
Swaps include switching to reusable coffee cups, using plastic-free toothbrushes, swapping liquid soap for bar soaps and avoiding pre-packaged food, opting for loose items such as fruit and vegetables (source: Plastic Free July).
Why is Plastic Free July important? It’s vital for campaigns such as this to encourage individuals and businesses to assess whether there are sustainable swaps they can make to reduce the use of single-use plastic. In the UK, it is estimated that five million tonnes of plastic is used every year, nearly half of which is packaging (source UK Parliament). Single-use plastic is traditionally hard to recycle so much of this can end up in landfills or pollute the environment.
Three companies which are making sustainable swaps
We’re pleased to see that some of the world’s biggest brands are leading the way when it comes to tackling the problem of single-use plastic. Companies that people know and trust can have an incredible influence on consumer behaviour so it’s important they lead the way in plastic-free initiatives.
Co-Cre8’s Honest Bottle
Plastic bottles are one of the main culprits of plastic pollution. In the UK, approximately 7.7 billion plastic water bottles are used each year with many of these being discarded, polluting our rivers and oceans (source: Water UK).
Our friends at Co-Cre8 wanted to tackle this problem head on and so, the Honest Bottle was born. Contributing to the circular economy, each Honest Bottle is made locally from recycled single-use bottles. Designed and manufactured in the UK, the Honest Bottle is made from recycled materials and can be recycled again when it comes to the end of its life, creating a true circular economy.
The actual bottle is made 100% from recycled material and the only component currently sourced outside of the UK is the silicone lid. However, Co-Cre8 are already in talks with a local manufacturer to ensure the next batch of seals are made in the UK so watch this space (source: Honest).
Popular supermarket Aldi has taken the first step in reducing its single-use plastic consumption by removing all plastic shrink wrap from the multipacks of its baked beans.
Aldi claims the move will save 78 tonnes of single-use plastic from going to landfills each year. If you’re a customer of Aldi, you will notice that the tins now sit separately on the shelves, but you can still benefit from a discount when you buy four tins. So, not only can you still save money by bulk buying, but you’re also helping to protect the environment.
Aldi won’t stop at beans. This summer, the UK’s fifth largest supermarket will trial the removal of the outer plastic wrap for its sweetcorn mini-packs too (source: Circular).
This is a great start, and we hope to see the removal of all plastic shrink wrap in Aldi stores soon.
Back in February, Tesco announced it will ban the sale of wet wipes and baby wipes containing plastic from 14th March 2022, becoming the first supermarket in the UK to do so.
According to The Times, Tesco was the UK’s biggest supplier of wet wipes, with sales of 75 million packs a year. That’s more than 200,000 a day (source: The Times). Banning the sale of wet wipes which contain plastic will make a massive difference, keeping these products out of landfill and away from our sewers, hopefully making a positive difference to the number of sewage blockages which occur. Other retailers have now followed in Tesco’s footsteps with Boots aiming to ban plastic wet wipes from the end of 2022 whilst Holland and Barrett has banned wipes altogether.
What is DCW doing to make a difference to plastic pollution?
It’s positive to see that big brands are acting against plastic pollution, making sustainable swaps when it comes to plastic packaging and plastic products. It’s a sensible move, not just because it is positive for the environment, but to keep their future customers happy too. After all, research from packaging manufacturer and consultancy Duo has revealed that 56% of Gen Z consumers are less inclined to buy from a retailer again if delivery packaging wasn’t sustainable or resourceful. Furthermore, 78% ranked the ability to recycle packaging locally as an important green trait (source: Circular).
We support initiatives that are promoting the plastic-free way of life but recognise that for some, particularly certain businesses, it can be hard to go 100% plastic-free. That’s where DCW can help.
We’re here for those businesses who generate plastic waste but want to recycle it responsibly. You may not be 100% plastic-free, but you can certainly keep the waste away from the eco-system by choosing a Zero to Landfill waste management company.
Our specialist plastics reprocessing plant, DCW Polymers, is based in Exeter and offers plastic recycling to businesses from across the South West. As the only specialist plastics recycling and reprocessing plant south of Bridgwater, our team turns waste plastics into plastic granules which go back into the manufacturing process, reducing the need for virgin plastic products to be made.
The majority of plastic waste goes into the making of new products, keeping single-use plastic in the circular economy so that it never ends up in landfill. Last year, we launched our recycled furniture range, made 100% from plastic collected from businesses across the South West.
The process not only recycles waste plastic into new items, but it saves valuable energy. A sustainable alternative to timber, the recycled plastic furniture is maintenance-free and long-lasting. It’s also much tougher than timber as it is weatherproof, will not rot, splinter or corrode and will never require painting or treating. This ensures that furniture lasts for years and reduces the need for owners to keep replacing it.
We hope you’ve been inspired to take part in Plastic Free July in a bid to reduce the amount of single-use plastic in your household or business. If you would like to find out more about how DCW can recycle your business’ unavoidable plastic waste and contribute to our local circular economy, contact our team on 01392 361300 or email email@example.com.