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Friday 5th July 2019

Plastic free July is a global movement, helping millions of people be part of the solution for plastic pollution. Started in 2011, this annual event attracts millions of people around the globe to take the challenge to refuse single-use plastics.

Our very own Orlaith O’Byrne decided to take the challenge, so we caught up with her to find out how her first week has gone…

I wanted to commit to a month of no new plastic in the hope that throwing myself in at the deep end would help me form better habits around what I buy. I am hoping that by forcing myself to look for alternatives for a few weeks I will be more conscious of my plastic ‘intake’ and better be able to reduce it.’

However, a week in and she is already facing some challenges;

‘Food packaging is definitely the biggest obstacle so far, since most on-the-go lunches are wrapped in plastic. I have already failed! Instead of buying an avocado in a multipack wrapped in plastic, I bought one loose – but it still had a plastic barcode sticker on that I couldn’t avoid.’ 

She has even uncovered some products she thought were plastic free;

‘My portioned sachet of porridge looked like it was in paper – but I soon discovered it was y lined with plastic! It seems that there are lots of things that have hidden plastic elements and I expect I will discover lots more over the rest of the month.’

She does have some advice for others thinking about taking up the challenge:

‘Upon doing some research I have found plenty of shops nearby that sell unpackaged fruit and veg, or grains and pulses in bulk. This means I am making more of my own lunches and eating healthier too. I have found these options to be affordable and it stopped me snacking on unhealthy pre-prepared foods…

…Importantly, not buying new plastic does not mean I have stopped using plastic – all my plastic Tupperware is incredibly useful for preparing food and you won’t catch me trying to source a plastic-free bike pump any time soon. This challenge is not just about avoiding plastic but seeing the value in it too, when it’s used in the right way.’

Will she make it the long-haul?

'I will definitely make the effort throughout the month; however, I doubt I will get away without making any more ‘plastic fails’. Ask me again at the end of the month!’

So, why not join the 120 million participants worldwide and see if you can go plastic free?! Head to Plastic Free July to find out how you can get involved.

Jessica Parrilla

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