(Last Updated On: 2023-12-28)

(In support and celebration of #plasticfreejuly.)

Are you one of the lucky ones who remembers when groceries were brought home in paper bags? Or that you used a disposable paper straw or cup instead of a plastic one? Well, I count myself amongst that lucky group of people that lived almost plastic free. Our world today contains so many items made out of plastic, it’s difficult to fathom our lives without it.

But, for the survival of our planet for future generations, this is an issue that must be addressed.




A movement was started down under in Australia that has grown to encompass the world, called “Plastic Free July“. This movement encourages everybody to reduce their use of plastic during the month of July every year, with a view to make it a 365 day practice.

In this post I will be sharing the impact of plastic usage throughout the world plus some ideas on how each one of us can contribute to reducing that impact. As a generation growing up with limited usage of plastic, I’m sure we can help refocus this generation on other alternatives and set an example.

How continued plastic usage affects the world

Single use plastics are the biggest culprit to negatively impacting our environment. What is meant by “single use plastics“?

Single-use plastics, or disposable plastics, are used only once before they are thrown away or recycled. These items are things like plastic bags, straws, coffee stirrers, soda and water bottles and most food packaging. Single-use plastics, or disposable plastics, are used only once before they are thrown away or recycled. In the process of breaking down, it releases toxic chemicals (additives that were used to shape and harden the plastic) which make their way into our food and water supply.

(Courtesy of http://www.plasticfreechallenge.org/)

Just some examples of single use plastics :-

  • Straws
  • Cups
  • Knives and Forks
  • Water Bottles
  • Takeaway Containers
  • Plastic Wrap and Bags
  • Polystyrene cups
  • Packaging Materials
  • Disposable Nappies
  • Plastic trays at the meat market

Here are just some of the lesser known facts about single use plastic pollution from the article 10 Facts About Plastic Pollution You Absolutely Need to Know on the Globalcitizen.org website. Read the full article for more.

 – 73% of beach litter worldwide is plastic.
 – A million plastic bottles are bought around the world every minute.
 – 90% of plastic polluting our oceans is carried by just 10 rivers.




The bottom line is that this type of plastic either doesn’t biodegrade at all or if it does, it takes a very, very long time. During that time, the chemicals and toxins it releases gets into the ground, into our water supplies and eventually into our bodies causing untold harm.

Single use plastics are the biggest culprit to negatively impacting our environment. Join the #plasticfreejuly initiative and make an impact. Click To Tweet

It affects our environment negatively, upsets the delicate ecosystems that exist throughout the world and causes injury, disease and death (in some cases) for both animals and humans alike.

This needs to stop or at the very least, needs to be reduced dramatically and you can help. If each one of us take responsibility and do our little bit, that can make a HUGE impact.

Becoming Plastic Free – Tips from back in the day

Those of us that grew up with limited to no exposure to single use plastics can definitely aid the world with suggestions on how to reduce its usage.

Here are just some suggestions that will already assist in making a sizeable dent in SUP usage, if each one of us makes an effort to implement it. Are there any that you can add?

  • Use homemade grocery bags when you go shopping. Set a new trend.
  • Instead of buying water in a bottle, take a reusable bottle with you.
  • If you are attending events, take your own reusable containers, cutlery and cups with you.
  • Reduce the amount of frozen food in your freezer by buying fresh each day and using it immediately.
  • Remove as much processed, pre-packaged food from your diet as possible. (Links to the item above.)
  • Buy your milk direct from the diary or the milk depot and decant it into glass containers instead of plastic.
  • Try and buy as many items as you can where possible packaged in glass that can be reused and recycled.
  • Insist on being served with paper cups and straws where-ever possible to raise awareness and encourage implementation.
  • Keep you empty glass medicine bottles and reuse as much as possible.
  • Educate yourself on how to make your own toothpaste, soap, household cleaning materials etc to remove the load off the environment.
  • Cook enough food so that you can take your own lunch with you each day in a reusable container.

So in Closing…

There are very many more things that can be done but if each one of us makes an effort to contribute to the whole – it will make a huge impact. Start small but stick to it even after July. Take part in any challenges in your area to become plastic free so that you build up the habit of reducing your SUP usage.

We all agree that using plastic has become a major convenience in our fast-paced lives but unfortunately it comes at a huge cost. This cost is growing daily and the end result will definitely be ugly, both for ourselves and the planet.

I am definitely going to be doing more than I already do so that I can leave a better legacy for my grandchildren and their children to look after the planet that needs to sustain them long into the future.

What is there that you will be doing? I would love to hear from you. Please leave your ideas and suggestions in the comments.

Till next time,

The Name of the author of the blogpost - Ruth Coetzee



Ruth is just an ordinary 50 something granny that loves reading, her electronic devices and expanding her knowledge in many diverse fields. She has an insatiable curiosity, a bucket list that is a mile long, enjoys spending time with family and friends and every now and then "pushes the envelope" by doing things that society says she cannot do. "Says Who?" To her - age is just a number and no matter what society dictates, she believes you can do anything you put your mind to and succeed.