Plastic Free July have started a global movement that helps millions of people be part of the solution to our plastic pollution issue, so that we can have cleaner streets, oceans, and beautiful communities. In support of this movement towards a more sustainable world, along with our sister brand, Coconut Bowls, we teamed up with Everperform, an expert performance improvement platform that enables you to measure behavioural patterns and reflect upon data-driven feedback. We used this platform to investigate our plastic-free mindset, where we are able to refuse plastic, when it seems to be unavoidable, and everything in between. The first question, how can we live more plastic free?
“My goal is to be 100% plastic free or as close as possible one day. This challenge has really helped me see my progress and what I need to work on. I chose to do the challenge because I’ve recently been trying to cut down, and I thought the challenge would just motivate me more, which it definitely has”
The challenge with the sustainable transitions that we are advocating for, is that they require mass-scale mindset and behaviour change, perhaps it’s because life starts to feel less convenient, perhaps it’s because planning ahead and focus is mandatory to minimize the inevitable slip up. Although we cannot underestimate just how hard this is, when we are instantly rewarded for taking the easier option through the avoidance of discomfort, we are blowing our whistles to the internal gratification that is associated with feeling that you are doing something for the greater good of the planet. Before we continue making passionate assumptions, let’s explore what the data tells us.
To set the scene, July consisted of 31 days, with amazing eco-conscious people from over 25 different countries, who provided over 30,000 data points, with the same mission; to think and to be plastic-free! The visual below demonstrates the reductions in plastic staples that appear to seamlessly make their way into our lives. With over 90% of people able to refuse plastic straws, 88% of people using reusable drink bottles, 82% using more comfortable and eco-friendly bags, 77% refusing convenient to-go options, and 74% avoiding plastic in their shopping, we are hopeful that we can all follow suit.
The plastic-free shopping is particularly impressive, as we all know just how challenging that can be and it’s why we created our Taste Without Waste collection of sustainable shopping bags. It’s not surprising that only 27% of people reported that they find going plastic-free easy, thus 73% report that it is challenging. We are not surprised at all by this, as we are living in a culture of plastic convenience. The question we now ask, what can suppliers, vendors, retailers, distributors, and government do to make this easier for consumers? Perhaps for those putting convenience and profit ahead of ethical trade, it comes down to 1) consumers demanding better, and 2) demanding better policies and legislation that takes this issue seriously.
“Once again thank you so much for coming up with the challenge. I’ve learnt so much about what I can do to reduce my waste and make the planet a little bit better. I’ve started composting again and I really feel like I’m making a much better contribution to the health of the planet”
With over 51% of people reporting that they feel as though they are making a positive impact by going plastic-free, doing what is within our reach appears to make some people feel better about the environmental crisis. As you can see by the qualitative feedback quoted, these real people, enduring the same everyday challenges that we all do, are starting to feel that they are able to improve their own plastic consumption behaviours. Based on the data, if this community continue their Plastic Free performance for the next 12 months, over 1,007,916 plastic items will be saved from our land and oceans. Even though it’s so common to feel as though we are losing a fighting battle, we want to reassure you that it does make a difference.
“I think this is an amazing initiative and i honestly love being apart of it. I have been making small changes over time, but this challenge has made me fully embrace the change and really open my eyes to how much of a plastic world we are living in”
As a final parting note, when we observe new vegan and plant-based cafes that are eco-friendly offering to-go in only biodegradable materials and reusable natural products like Coconut Bowls and Bamboo Straws, popping up in all the trendy tourist destinations, such as in Canggu and Tulum, do you think that this is because the owners are 100% environmentalist vegans, or because there is a socially-accepted demand? There may be a combination of the both, but the latter is likely a reality. What is consumed matters; what we spend money on thrives, and what we boycott no longer survives.
We wish you all the best on your Plastic Free journey, and hope that the rewards of a little inconvenience pays off by knowing that you are doing good! Thankfully, our friends at Everperform have reassured us that a relatively small group of people doing good, can make a significant difference. And for that, they should be proud.
Thanks to all those who participated in our plastic free challenge, the team at Coconut Bowls, Plantd and Everperform thank you – the planet thanks you too.