In mid-2014, the world was taken by storm by the onset of the Ice Bucket Challenge. The challenge encouraged people to dump a bucket of water or ice on a person’s head, or yourself. It was started to promote awareness of the ALS disease. The world has come a long way since then. Today, the most important challenge in making rounds globally is the #PLASTICFREEJULY challenge. It is a worldwide campaign that originated in Australia in 2011 and led by the Plastic Free Foundation.

Although the name suggests ‘plastic-free’, that is not what the challenge is about. We all know how much the entire planet depends on plastic. The challenge has acquired a huge following because of the way it remains true to the cause and practical. It hits you hard with the fact that getting rid of plastic completely isn’t going to happen, no matter how much we try. But at the same time, it doesn’t try to hold us back with the truth. Instead, it encourages every single person to contribute even in the smallest way possible.

The challenge primarily requires people to reduce the consumption of single-use plastic. Climate change and environmental issues need to be addressed and acted upon right now more than ever. Temperatures are soaring at an all-time high and there are millions and millions of non-recyclable plastic waste in the oceans and all over landfills across the globe. It’s always ‘Better Late Than Never’. Scientists are saying that it’s still not too late to begin sustainable practices. They are claiming that there are a few more years left before the damage we’ve done to our planet becomes irreversible.

Starting this July, let us all come together to save our earth. Let’s switch to environment-friendly alternatives whenever possible and do our best to reverse the damage. Here’s how every individual can play their part.

– Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

This phrase has always been relevant. If you think about it, though this is the bare minimum we must do, it is the most important one too. Applying this principle consistently is such an effective practice.

So how do you reduce your plastic consumption? Of course, by using it again. When you buy stuff, stop buying plastic covers along with it. Bring your own reusable bag. Ditch plastic straws and use reusable straws instead. On any day, reuse every possible stuff you can, be it water bottles, coffee cups, take out containers, clothes, stationery or even your furniture. Stop buying new stuff unless you really need it. Not only does it save your money in the long run, but it also leads to less consumption, which leads to lesser waste.

– Say no to plastic diapers and sanitary pads

Replacing plastic diapers and sanitary pads with washable/ reusable diapers, tampons, menstrual cups, panty liners, etc can significantly reduce the waste generated by these non-biodegradable items. These alternatives are not only cheap and effective, but they are also healthier options for your body.

– Educate yourself and educate others

Read, research, listen to podcasts. Find out facts and statistics and try to come up with creative solutions. Even if you can’t, don’t be ignorant. Form a community, promote awareness on the importance of this issue, and educate other people. Together, there is so much we can achieve.

Let’s go beyond the challenge and keep up with our sustainable practices each and every day. We may not be able to achieve zero-waste, but with every little effort we make, there’s a huge change happening. Don’t give up just because you don’t see immediate results. You need to accept that change is a process, and it takes time. In less than 6 months, we’re stepping into a new decade. Let this be a new beginning.

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