Plastic Free July at Kids College Childcare
More than 120 million people all across the globe are choosing to refuse single-use plastics this July. Plastic Free July is a global movement that helps millions of people be part of the solution to plastic pollution – so we can have cleaner streets, oceans, and beautiful communities. Will you be part of Plastic Free July by choosing to refuse single-use plastics? No matter who we are or where we live we can all take part and by starting with one item to avoid or one reusable to remember for this month we can start to change our habits and make a difference. Take the challenge today. Alone we are a drop, together an ocean. Every small change has a big impact. Being part of Plastic Free July will help you to find great solutions for reducing plastic waste.
See how you can get involved at plasticfreejuly.org/get-involved
The zero-waste movement goes on every day — but if there’s any time to get started, it’s now. For the entire month of July, people all over the world will take part in Plastic Free July, a global challenge to reduce personal consumption of single-use plastic. The prospect of not using any plastic for an entire month may sound impossible — and unfortunately, it pretty much is. But that’s not meant to be discouraging.
It’s meant to show that Plastic Free July isn’t about perfection (and neither is the zero-waste movement), so don’t let the fear of not being perfect hold you back from trying. Instead, it’s all about reducing plastic in a way that works for your lifestyle — while still challenging yourself, of course.
Plastic Free July first began in Australia in 2011. In 2017, the campaign’s founder Rebecca Prince-Ruiz and a group of people from her local government formed a non-profit called The Plastic Free Foundation, which is the official organization that runs Plastic Free July. In 2018, a total of 120 million people participated — and 90 percent of those participants made permanent habit changes beyond July,
On Plastic Free July’s website, people can take a pledge to participate in a variety of ways. You can pledge to observe the challenge for just one day, one week, the entirety of July, or for July and beyond. You can also pledge to reduce your plastic in a few different ways: you can avoid single-use packaging, you can avoid the “big four” (more on that later), or you can aim to go completely plastic-free. Additionally, you can pledge to making these changes on a personal level, at your work, at your school, at an upcoming event, in your community, or anywhere else you are involved.
Basically, Plastic Free July doesn’t have to be an intimidating phrase, and if the month helps open your eyes just a bit more to the plastic pollution epidemic, you’ll be able to consider it a success. And single-use plastic is a pretty significant problem at the moment, meaning there’s no better time to get involved.
Plastic is not biodegradable — it is either downcycled into new plastic (but only 9 percent of plastic actually gets recycled), it sits in a landfill emitting methane, or the sun breaks it down into microplastics. And considering the impact that plastic pollution and drilling for fossil fuels has on the environment, it’s so important to focus on reducing plastic use on Earth as much as possible.
Before the plastic boom in the 1960s, people all over the world got along just fine without single-use plastic — so we can in 2019, too. Plastic Free July’s website is full of tips for getting started, on maintaining a plastic-free habit, and on instituting changes in your community.
Here are five of our favourite tips for reducing your plastic use this Plastic Free July.
1. Tackle the Big Four
According to blogger Kathryn Kellogg from Going Zero Waste, a great place to start is with the Big Four: plastic bags, water bottles, straws, and coffee cups. These changes are all much easier than you think — it’s just a matter of replacing your existing habits with new habits. Make it part of your daily routine to pack a tote bag, a reusable water bottle, a reusable straw, and a reusable coffee cup on any day where there’s a chance you’ll buy something or need a coffee. Instead of looking at this step and saying “I’m no longer going to use those items,” think, “I’m going to pack these reusable alternatives every day.”
2. Look at Your Trash
Once you’ve mastered the Big Four, you’ll be more than ready to reduce waste in other areas of your life. It may sound icky, but next time your trash cans are full, take a comfortable seat on the floor and look through the contents.
See a ton of takeout containers and utensils? Start bringing your own containers to restaurants to pack your leftovers or to pack a takeout order, and carrying around a set of reusable utensils. Notice a ton of baby diapers and wipes? Consider investing in cloth diapers and reusable wipes. Notice a lot of food packaging? Acquaint yourself with a grocery store’s bulk section, or start centering meals around produce and other foods that are typically sold plastic-free. See a lot of plastic shrink wrap or plastic baggies? Use a reusable alternative like wax wrap, Stasher bags, or good old Tupperware containers.
For the record, Plastic Free July has nothing against using reusable plastic that you already have, such as Tupperware or a Nalgene bottle. What we need to focus on is reducing single-use plastic — something that is used once but stays on the planet forever. That said…
3. Go Beyond Single Use
As you begin to master replacements for single-use items, take things a step further and look at other items you regularly buy that typically come packaged in plastic. For example: toothpaste, dish soap, ketchup, online shopping orders, lotion, and sponges. There’s a plastic-free alternative out there for everything.
One of the best ways to reduce your plastic use in the upstream (aka the plastic you don’t see) is by eating less fish. According to a study published in Scientific Reports, fishing nets account for at least 46 percent of ocean plastic in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, with most of the remainder consisting of other fishing paraphernalia, such as eel trap cones and oyster spacers. So by eating plant foods instead of fish, you are lowering your environmental impact and your contribution to ocean plastic.
4. Go Beyond Yourself
Plastic Free July’s website encourages participants to spend some time in July on reducing plastic in their communities — whether that’s at your place of work, your school, your neighbourhood, your gym, your apartment building, or anywhere else you frequent. Because while committing to drinking your morning coffee from a reusable mug every morning is great, getting your office’s kitchen filled with mugs so that all of your coworkers can drink from reusable coffee cups is even better.
5. Spread the Word
Step outside your comfort zone this month by talking about Plastic Free July with your friends, family, coworkers, barista, and that stranger in the grocery store who’s staring at your reusable produce bags with a confused face. Keep a positive attitude, and tell people in your life how excited you are to be reducing your contribution to plastic pollution this month.
You can also spread the word on social media using the hashtag #PlasticFreeJuly.
Kids College commitment to recycling
We have a beautiful art atelier where we collect and make use of all different types of offcuts, plastic bits and assorted goodies. We keep our paint in glass jars to use in our art atelier under supervision. We also run plastic free in our kitchen cooking in our kitchen and our children and staffing team are encouraged to use reusable drinking bottles. Kids College is proud to be the only childcare centre working with Artist Vee in her mission to protect our beaches from single use plastics. We have enjoyed many wonderful moments of inspiration with Artist Vee and we loved making our fish and our huge turtle.
Support Kids College to recycle
Please remember to bring in all your odds and ends for us to recycle and use at Kids Colleg
In the past we have created many wonderful creative designs. A few of our favourites include our fish, our robot and our huge turtle.
Kids College Bread Tags for Wheelchairs challenge for Plastic Free July
This year for Plastic Free July we have chosen our Kids College challenge to collect bread tags for the Bread Tags for Wheelchairs initiative. We have put up a collection tin for the bread tags in our entrance foyer and are asking everyone to bring in their ones from home or business as well as continuing to bring in any plastics and boxes too.
The Bread tag story
Collecting bread tags enables us to provide wheelchairs that change the life of disabled people in need, as well as keeping the tags out of landfill to help to preserve the environment.
Bread Tags for Wheelchairs was started in South Africa in 2006 by Mary Honeybun. It is a community program where individuals and organisations collect bread tags, which are sold to recyclers. The money raised pays for wheelchairs for the less fortunate which are purchased through a local pharmacy. Currently about 500kg of bread tags are collected a month in South Africa, funding 2-3 wheelchairs.
We have been collecting bread tags nationally in Australia since September 2018 and now have more than 100 collection points across the country. In February 2019 we started local recycling through Transmutation – Reduce, Reuse and Recycle in Robe, SA, where our tags are recycled into products such as door knobs and bowls. Tags from some states are still sent to South Africa where a plastics company called Zibo recycles them into seedling trays
These humble bits of polystyrene can make a real difference so get your friends, family, school, workplace and church involved. Ask school tuck shops and boarding school kitchens, child care centres, aged care facilities, hospitals, cafes and fast food outlets to collect for you – they get through a lot of bread!
All the information and signage for collecting or setting up a public collection point is on our website : www.breadtagsforwheelchairs.co.za (Aussie info is at the bottom of each page), as well as our FAQ which may be helpful.
First Wheelchair funded by Aussie bread tag collection
A big milestone – the first wheelchair funded by Aussie bread tag collection. Bryan has leukemia and is very weak. His wheelchair will improve his quality of life by allowing him to get out and about more. Thanks to everyone who has collected many or a few bread tags – they all add up!
Environmental Art: How Artist Vee an amazing Perth Artist transforms waste into a masterpiece! By Diamond Interiors Thank you to our very own Artist Vee for the inspiration and dedication she has to keeping our oceans clean.
In celebration of Australia’s Plastic Free July we are kicking things off this month with an exploration of environmental art with the help of our dear friend, Virginia (view her incredible environmental artwork and nature photography on her Instagram profile: Perth Beach Eco Artist).
Virginia creates the most spectacular and colourful works of art, completely out of discarded plastic and rope she finds washed up on her local beach; it truly is quite confronting to see these masterpieces, so full of life and colour only to realise that this was ALL found on a beach – definitely food for thought!
Bursts of colour and a playful nature – This piece is entirely made up of discarded pieces of plastic found on Perth’s beaches.
The idea of being able to create something so beautiful and thought provoking out of something as horrid as waste that’s destructive to our environment and marine life is truly an amazing thing. Van Gogh for example, suffered through depression and hardships and yet, his work is full of beauty, love, hope and life. Swirling bursts of colour are used to represent his world: A world full of wonder and imagination. I see similar themes in Virginia’s work – creating beauty out of something that is not in itself very beautiful at all, encouraging thought and representing hope for a better, cleaner future.
Finding inspiration from artists around the world, Virginia uses her art as a way of sending a message across to our younger generation, showcasing her work at local schools as well as online through social media to draw attention to the cause. Every single piece of plastic that has ever been made is still around, still intact – It has not disintegrated and only a portion of it has been incinerated. Quite a sobering thought isn’t it?
‘I saw another UK artist’s work and it blew me away; The colours and the whole idea. I have lived very close to the beach since I was 12 but I never really thought of Perth’s beaches as having plastic on them. Like a lot of people though, I wasn’t really visiting the beach in the winter months. I didn’t even think I would find any plastic when I first started looking last year!
Now when people see my work they can’t believe that all of these pieces of plastic were found on the beach. Since doing this I’ve become more involved in realising what the plastic and rope do to the marine life. Every time I pick up a piece I think “That’s one life saved!”. – Virginia
Virginia’s art form has no rules – She uses discarded plastic, tin cans and sea rope all found on her local beaches to create intricate collages, putting each piece together as if constructing a free-flowing jigsaw puzzle (which she is also known for referring to as “Pizza Layering!”) Not a single piece is ever cut to shape or coloured, further minimising waste – It is very clear that she is one very creative individual! Personally collecting each and every piece each day in Winter, Virginia also encourages others to collect any bits and pieces they find on the beach which she can then use to create her art, thus spreading her message to us all to take a minute and tidy up!
Virginia’s colour combinations are especially striking! She loves featuring bright, bold colours reminiscent of the 80’s, creating a celebration of colour every time a life is saved by removing that one piece of plastic or rope from our oceans!
Made entirely our of discarded plastic pieces, these pieces definitely show off Virginia’s creative flair – 80’s pop to the max!
Virginia has shared with use a few of the ways she has made changes around her home to help reduce the amount of waste produced: Swapping out our plastic toothbrushes for example, with eco-friendly Bamboo toothbrushes. Shopping for environmentally friendly options in fashion is another great idea as well as keeping an eye out around the home for anything that can be up-cycled into something new rather than sending it to landfill. There are heaps of Facebook groups out there for example, with a focus on DIY projects to inspire our creative side!
The message presented in Virginia’s incredible work is a powerful one: The beauty of her artwork is a stark contrast to the horrible effects discarded plastics, rope and tin have on our environment, especially with regards to our marine life. By finding ways to re-use and recycle our waste, we can all look forward to a much better, brighter and of course, much CLEANER Earth!
Virginia is an Australian Artist based in Perth. Her mission is to increase awareness of environmental issues through her art and encourages us all to do the same!
As we’ve explored in this post, all her work is completely made of waste such as plastic, tin and rope found across her local beaches – An incredible way of cleaning up Australia’s beaches while creating something beautiful along the way! Virginia recently received an Environmental Award from her local Council.
Quote from Kids College Philosophy
‘We also embed sustainability and recycling at Kids College to support our place in our modern global climate of environmental responsibility.’
National Quality Standards
3.2.3. The service cares for the environment and supports children to become environmentally responsible.
6.2.3. The service builds relationships and engages with its community.
Kids College Family
At Kids College we work each day embedding our values and philosophy into each facet of what we do. We continually improve our practices by critically reflecting and engaging in meaningful relationships with our community and for this we need your support and input. Make sure to follow Kids College Childcare on facebook, watch for our regular emails and keep an eye on our Kids College website. Share in our vision of creating the very best childcare where children experience love, laughter and learning every day. You can reach us on [email protected]
With love, laughter and learning from your friends in the
‘village it takes to raise a child’
Teacher Jen and the Kids College Childcare family