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Plastic Free July with Jo Hand of Giki

Our London Studio has been working with social enterprise Giki on the recent launch of Giki Zero, a new platform that empowers people to live a more sustainable lifestyle. To mark Plastic Free July 2020 we asked our brilliant client Jo Hand, Co-Founder of Giki and sustainability advocate, to share some insight into why this month is important, and some useful advice and steps that we can all take to reduce our environmental impact…

JoHand_Giki

A walk through the supermarket aisles can sometimes feel like going plastic free is just a distant fantasy, while recent images of Covid related face masks and gloves washed up on beaches remind us of damage caused by single use plastics.

But there are, of course, many benefits to plastic: it is tough, strong, cheap and provides good protection. The trouble with plastic is that it just doesn’t decompose. If the author Jane Austin, born in 1775, had been able to buy the odd ready meal in the 18th century, her single use plastic packaging would still be in existence today! In fact, every bit of plastic that has been made is still around, unless it’s been incinerated.

The good news, though, is that there are some examples of ‘better plastics’ that are widely recyclable and made from recycled material, but these can be quite hard to find. There are also many more plastic free or very low plastic solutions appearing and being used for everything from veg boxes to bakeries, zero waste shops and local markets.

So Plastic Free July is an excellent opportunity to take stock of our plastic use and, while going ‘plastic free’ might feel a little over ambitious, taking small steps to reduce your plastic usage can be quite straightforward. And once you’ve found the right steps for you, it’s easy to make them part of your lifestyle.

Plastic pollution is one of the environmental issues we cover in Giki Zero, which helps everyone understand, track and lighten their footprint on the planet. We have partnered with Design Bridge to bring a fantastic user experience to Giki Zero and, thanks to its beautiful and intuitive design, it is really accessible to everyone. Whether you’re just starting out, or you run your own sustainability network, there is always something more to do.

As part of Plastic Free July, in Giki Zero we’re highlighting lots of steps that you can choose from to help lighten your plastic footprint on the planet. Here are a couple of steps that have become particularly popular during lockdown, and our research shows that ¾ of UK adults intend to continue with their new lockdown friendly eco steps in the future, too.

Where do I start?

Spring clean your bathroom
The most popular plastic busting steps in Giki Zero today are all about the bathroom. You can switch from shower gel to soap, or wash your hair with a bar of shampoo. These are easy to do, help reduce plastic waste, and might also save you money too.

Got milk?
Try a switching to glass bottles for your milk. If you have access to a local milkman, it will be delivered straight to your door and means no more waste from plastic milk cartons.

Shop local
It is usually much easier to avoid plastic by shopping at your nearest market or farm shop than in a big supermarket. This can also help local businesses get up and running again after lockdown, so you are also doing something good for your local community.

Feeling fishy
One of our tips that people find the most surprising is to seek out sustainable fish. Not only is this excellent for helping to preserve fish stocks and balance within our oceans, but a lot of plastic waste in the ocean is actually discarded fishing gear, especially the larger pieces. Buying fish that has been sourced sustainably helps avoid this.

Say goodbye to bottled water
And of course one of the easiest steps is to avoid single use plastic water bottles. A bottle of water may take just seconds to drink, but it will take 450 years to decompose. In the UK alone, we buy enough plastic water bottles to wrap around the entire Earth’s circumference every single week! Opting for a reusable water bottle and filling it yourself can also save you money in the long run.

Big thanks to Jo for sharing these tips with us, there are plenty more available with Giki Zero – and if you do sign up, we’d love to hear how you get on.

You can learn more about our collaboration with Giki Zero in our case study, and you can find more resources for reducing your plastic use at plasticfreejuly.org.

Lead image by Karina Tess on Unsplash.

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