In July this year we’re joining forces with WWF SA and challenging all our readers, friends and partners to join the Plastic Free July movement and refuse the top 4 single-use plastic items for the entire month. With plastic pollution being one of the top threats faced by the ocean today, we think you’ll agree that it’s time we all step up and make a few small, easily attainable changes.
Join us in saying “no thank you” to single-use plastic bags, takeaway cups and cutlery, water bottles, and straws in July (and beyond!) … You’ll be amazed at how easy it is, and how good it feels, to be a little bit less dependent on single-use plastic.
Plastic Free July is a worldwide movement and you can register your intention on the campaign website at plasticfreejuly.org.
You have the option of choosing to refuse or avoid all single-use packaging, to target takeaway items (like plastic bags, bottles, straws and coffee cups) or to go completely plastic-free. How far you choose to go is up to you!
What we’re doing for Plastic Free July
- We're running an awesome ecobrick competition - you can win an awesome R18 500 hamper filled with experiences, upcycled items and single-use plastic alternatives!
- On 31 July we are hosting Home to Ocean - a night of inspiration and connection around the issue of single-use plastic in the sea.
- Keep an eye out for our special “Plastic” Creature Feature every day at 4pm at the I&J Ocean Exhibit.
- Keep an eye on our blog and our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts for great #ChooseToRefuse alternatives and information about plastic throughout the month of July.
- Please share your experiences and challenges with us on social media (simply tag us by using @TwoOceansAquarium on Facebook or @2oceansaquarium on Twitter or Instagram), or use the #ChooseToRefuse hashtag. We want to know what you find easy, difficult and downright impossible about breaking the plastic habit.
- Little ones visiting the I&J Children's Play Centre in July will be making awesome arts and crafts out of recycled material. And the entertaining puppet show Keep the Beach Clean (as well as its accompanying children's book, available in Afrikaans and English) speaks directly to the use of plastic and how it can affect our environment.
3 July is International Plastic Bag Free day
Coinciding beautifully with a month devoid of plastic, is International Plastic Bag Free Day on 3 July. This is part of a global initiative to eliminate the use of single-use plastic bags. Here at the Aquarium, our own Rethink the Bag campaign is also doing just that!
July is a great time to join the Rethink the Bag campaign by:
- Refusing single-use plastic bags
- Signing the petition to ban the bag in South Africa
- Making a pledge on our website
- Joining the Rethink the Bag campaign on Facebook and Twitter; and
- Asking all your friends and family to do the same!
Why all the fuss about plastic?
Estimates are that by 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean, by weight, than fish. From the tiniest organism to the largest ocean behemoths, plastic poses a threat to all organisms in the ocean. Over a million seabirds are killed each year due to plastic pollution and with over 51 trillion pieces of microplastics in the sea, microscopic plankton are feeding on plastic which causes the plastic to enter the food chain… Our food chain.
Here at the Aquarium, we regularly experience, first-hand, the damage that plastic pollution can cause. Bob the green turtle is just one of our iconic examples: After months of rehabilitation here at our rehab-and-release facility, Bob pooped out a pile of balloons and plastic bags. (Bob has not returned to good enough health to be released back into the wild, so you can see him in our new I&J Ocean Exhibit).
Did you know?
- Animals (marine and terrestrial) often mistake plastic bags for food. Once ingested, the animals die from intestinal blockages and starvation.
- Plastics break up, and do not degrade. The chemicals leached from plastic have a compounded toxic impact on the food chain.
- Plastic bags also block sewage systems, which leads to flooding.
- Eighty percent of all marine litter is plastic.
- Plastic bags can last between 500 and 1 000 years before they break up.
So … what will you #ChooseToRefuse?
Join us, make the pledge and become part of the solution. Together, we can stop the plastic tide. Start today, implement in July, then keep going … Every little bit helps.
Go to the Plastic Free July website and register your intention:
- To avoid all single-use plastic packaging;
- To target takeaway items (like plastic shopping bags, plastic bottles, straws, and takeaway cups and lids); or
- To go completely plastic-free.
Remember to talk to us about your challenges and to show us your failures and victories. That way we can all learn from each other and support one other on this journey. If you have a comment or question, tag us @2oceansaquarium and use the #ChooseToRefuse hashtag. We want to know what’s easy, what’s difficult and what’s downright impossible about breaking the plastic habit.
In 2016, for Plastic Free July, four Two Oceans Aquarium staff members took up the challenge to refuse all plastic for an entire month. They faced many ups and downs as they tried to cut out plastic from their daily lives: they felt more connected to the food they ate, but also experienced "plastic paralysis" – the fear of shopping due to overwhelming amounts of plastic packaging. A plastic-free choice was almost always more expensive, but there were opportunities to get creative, and many "a-ha" moments. The plastic-free journey also got people together, sharing their worries and their solutions.