A plastic free ocean: Start with PLASTIC FREE JULY

Here at SWOX, we are dedicated to fight for a clean ocean. A combination of trash and chemicals make for a deadly environment for all organisms in the water. Marine pollution by chemicals is caused by runoffs and spills. Trash ends up in the ocean via rain and wind through streams and storm drains, if it’s not properly disposed of or managed. When we speak of trash, we mainly think of plastic and single-use plastics in particular.

Every year 8 million metric tons of plastic end up in the ocean. This is equal to a big garbage truck dumping out a complete load of plastic trash into the ocean every minute of the day. And the night. Every day of the year. If that sounds a lot to you, keep in mind that these are only added on top of the about 150 million metric tons that already are in our ocean. This number includes bigger sizes of plastic trash as well as microplastics. Plastic poses a huge risk to marine life by either entanglement or ingestion. Via ingestion is even ends up back in our very own system eventually, whenever we consume seafood of almost any kind.

what can we do TO FIGHT plastic marine pollution?

Sadly there is nothing substantial that can be done to reduce the amount of garbage that is already in the ocean at the moment. The same is true for single-use, non-recyclable plastic on land for that matter. If we continue with our current behavior, in 30 years there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish. The only option we have is to stop using plastics, especially single-use plastics, all together, immediately.

Graphic: NOOA

With that in mind, a group of international environmentalists introduced “Plastic Free July” in Australia in 2011. Last year, the award winning campaign included a record-breaking amount of 250 million people in 177 countries. The really stunning part of the campaign though is, that 9 out of 10 people made changes that have become habits in their every day life now – Arrrr, those habits!

This year, we want YOU to be part of it!

This is how plastic free july works

All you have to do is pledge with us to avoid or reduce the use of plastic for the month of July.

“Cigarette butts, bottle caps, straws, cups, plates, single-use bags, food wrappers and plastic bottles are the items we find most during beach clean-ups, so it’s pretty obvious who’s the problem – we all are. Flip the switch and be part of the solution for plastic pollution”, says Maximilian Jagsch Co-founder and CEO at SWOX.

Read more about plastic pollution

The “Plastic Free July”-challenge website provides great ideas for the just-getting-started first-timer to participants, who really want a challenge this year and everybody in between. No matter, if you are challenging your household, your work-space or your school, there are so many ideas and helpful advise on how to reduce and eliminate the use of plastics.

First, you will have to get started somewhere after signing up on the website. A great place to start is in your trashcan. What’s in there? Famous @plasticfreemermaid Kate Nelson, who hasn’t used single-used plastics for a decade, calls it a “trash audit” when you just hold onto a day’s or better week’s worth of your personal plastic trash. Once you see all your plastic trash in front of you, you are able to make changes more effectively and adjust your own behavior (check out Kate Nelson’s book “I quit plastics”).

That all said, going completely “plastic free” can be overwhelming and oftentimes not possible for financial or structural reasons. We want to encourage you to go step by step and don’t give up for not being perfect.

At the moment, oftentimes hygiene standards have to be put above zero-waste efforts. During this pandemic however it’s even more important to raise awareness about plastic trash. Bulk-item stores are not letting you bring your own containers and some stores won’t even let you bring reusable shopping bags inside. Too many masks and gloves end up in the ocean right now. Trash that otherwise gets picked up on the beach by a fellow surfer or ocean lover, gets washed away, because we’re too scared to touch it.

Know before you go is true one more time: Be prepared when you go shopping, know the rules, pack everything in your cart, bring a reusable pair of gloves for your next beach (forest stroll, hike to your favorite peak)…..