Guardian Childcare & Education

Plastic Isn’t Fantastic | Plastic Free July

30th June 2017

Plastic Free July

We all probably use more disposable plastic than we should. From coffee cups to plastic bags at the fruit shop to the let’s-just-order-in takeaway containers, these plastics don’t break down and end up becoming permanent pollution.

The Impacts

In Our Oceans

Researchers predict that by 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish. When scientists sampled the ocean in the middle of the Pacific there was 47 times more plastic than plankton… even in water 1km deep! This plastic is consumed by fish and then by us (if you eat fish), and we’re not biologically capable of dealing with plastics. Beyond this, marine animals can’t distinguish between plastic and food and can die of starvation by having stomachs full of plastic.

On Our Health

There are nasties in plastics that are harmful to our health (BPA, phthalates, endocrine disruptors, carcinogens to name a few) and studies on rats proved that exposure to plastics stops the ability to reproduce.

Plastic Free July aims to raise awareness of the problems of single-use plastics and challenges us to do something about it.

What We Can Do

Recycling plastic bags, reusing bottle caps and using rocks instead of laminated name tags.

Simple changes can make big differences. For example, you can…

  • Bring your own reusable shopping bag when doing the groceries
  • Avoid products like veggies in plastic packaging
  • Take a reusable coffee cup to your local café
  • Refusing plastic utensils and straws
  • Reduce using cling wrap where possible
  • Opt for a reusable water bottle

What Our Early Learning Centres Have Been Doing

Examples of laminating alternatives.

Our early learning centres have taken action against the use of single-use plastics in the following ways:

  • River Garden in Melbourne is a plastic bag free centre
  • Richmond in Melbourne has eliminated laminating (there no laminator in the centre). Tree House Ascot Vale is close and Hillside are close
  • Paradise in South Australia did a plastic audit and have educated (and persuaded) the families to phase out single use zip-locked bags for children’s breakfasts and the use of single-use plastic bags
  • Tree House Ascot Vale’s chef Brendan convinced Coles to stop delivering goods in plastic bags
  • Gungahlin in ACT participated in Clean Up Australia Day and took the children out to clean up their local community
  • A number of centres are taking their plastic bags to Coles for recycling!

Are you ready for the plastic free challenge? Find out more via Plastic Free July’s website.

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