Posted on July 05 2021
No plastic for an entire month. That's the Plastic Free July® initiative. So what's important about it? Why does it make sense to live plastic-free? In this article you will find facts as well as interesting details about the topic. Additionally, we explain what plastic and fertility have to do with each other.
There are situations where plastic can make sense, for example when it comes to food waste, i.e. to keep food fresh. However, there are already alternatives here, such as packaging made from sugar cane waste. Favoring these alternatives would make sense: in Switzerland alone, 1 million tons of plastic are consumed per year and 5000 tons of plastic are released into the environment annually..
Plastic is everywhere
Of the 1 million tons of plastic we consume in this country, 780,000 tons are waste, i.e. they are only used once. The rest is in long-term use, for example in building construction. Plastic is not just packaging waste. You can also find it in vehicles, households, agriculture and in electrical items. The used waste is burned to 90%, says a study on behalf of the federal government from the year 2020 on the subject.
The invisible plastic
While macroplastics are visible and can be easily removed, the invisible microplastics pose a big question mark for human and environmental health. This is because, depending on the plastic, it can take up to several hundred years to decompose on its own. Macroplastics can be well addressed by combating littering and creating awareness among the population and the industry. Microplastics, on the other hand, consist of small pieces of plastic under 5mm in diameter.
Plasticizers reduce fertility
We cannot see the very small pieces of plastic with the naked eye. Especially when it comes to plastic from packaging and everyday use, caution is advised. This is because plasticizers, also known as phthalates, are found in many items such as toys. Phthalates are suspected of influencing the hormone balance in humans. According to the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH), this has already been confirmed in studies involving animal experiments, as fertility was reduced by the microplastics in the animals' bodies. The plasticizer is not chemically bound in the plastic and thus gets into the water (e.g. from PET bottles), into the food (e.g. from cling film) and onto the skin (e.g. from cosmetics).
But how can we use less plastic? What can a plastic-free July look like? You can find lots of ideas at Plastic Free July® as well as from us on Instagram throughout the month. In addition, we offer you plastic-free alternatives like the TreeBags and TreeShoppers as well as the different TreeBottles. We hope the content inspires you and you too can give up plastic here and there. Happy Plastic Free July!