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Tripod's Guide To Plastic-Free July

At Tripod, we tend to not get too involved with social media proclaimed “days or months” typically started by big businesses looking to have a conversation about something somewhat associated with their business (21-July which has been declared National Hot Dog Day...). But we do support a few special days/months/holidays that we think further the cause of protecting the wellbeing of people and our planet, including Plastic-Free July.

For the record, in the past you’ll find we’ve mentioned: International Women’s Day, United Nations World Environment Day, and, our own prodigy, Green Wednesday.

In today's day and age, most people are aware that plastic is bad for the planet., they just don't know how bad and what they should be doing about it. Also, the science is largely in the developmental stages to understand how microplastics in food and water are affecting human health.

In this post, you'll read about:

  • Plastic education
  • Tips to reduce your plastic use
  • And, the icing on the cake, our Plastic-Free July Pledge (we're giving one pledger free coffee for life)

 

Starting with the latest point, our Plastic-Free Pledge

We believe that change starts small and grows, like a ripple that builds to a wave. So today, we're asking you start your ripple by taking our Plastic-Free Pledge.

To reward you for doing the right thing? We’re giving one community member who makes the pledge and takes action free Tripod Coffee for life. You’ll find further instructions on the pledge page.

Take our Plastic-Free Pledge

 

Plastic 101

Plastic Explainer Image

 

Plastics are made from fossil fuels and uniquely do not break down back into nutrients in any reasonable period of time or conditions — we’re talking 500+ years most of this stuff stays in our environments. When they do break down, it’s actually more like they break into smaller pieces, never fully decomposing into a carbon end state.


Plastics also have a quality scale and decrease in scale as it is recycled, the bottom of this food chain being soft plastics like grocery bags or the wrapper of your favourite petrol station chocolate treat.

How did we get to this plastic filled world?

Plastic is cheap, strong, works well as an adhesive, can be coloured, moulded and shaped easily, is easy to clean, and can be recycled.


The downside of plastic
1. Plastic is made from finite resources: oil
2. In landfill, plastic breaks down into microplastics, which pollute then contribute to soil and ocean pollution, and ultimately is ending up in our drinking water and foods
3. Plastics are killing our wildlife; a plastic bag floating in the water looks nearly identical to a sea turtle's favourite jellyfish snack
4. Plastic is difficult to recycle because it varies in material composition and quality - only 13% is recycled*
5. The long-term side effects of humans ingesting plastics is largely unknown. While scientists are discovering more and more plastics in human drinking water and food, the science on its effects to the human body is up for debate....being said, it will be hard to argue that anyone wants to live with microplastics in their bloodstream, stomach, and vital organs.

Some scary stats on plastic
-Over half of marine mammals have consumed plastic*
-Australia is responsible for 130,000 tonnes of ocean plastic a year*
-Humans consume at least 50,000 particles of mircoplastic a year - that’s about a credit card a week!*
-A staggering 91% of plastic DOESN’T get recycled - 84% is sent to landfill*

What you can do about your plastic use:

Tip 1: Choose reusable
Bring a KeepCup or equivalent to your local cafe, use stainless steel water bottles, and say no to single-use straws and cutlery.

Tip 2: Let your food go naked
Buy your fruit and veg without any plastic wrapping, use mesh produce bags, and bring your own bag to cart out your groceries.

Checkout the bulk food shops such as Naked Foods, Scoop or Sourced, to find packaging free goodies from olive oil and laundry detergent to rice and dried strawberries (personal favourite pick is the dark choccy bullets).

Tip 3: Cut the cling wrap
Use foil, beeswax wraps, reusable food containers, or, my personal favourite, use a bowl or plate to cover the food. Foil is recyclable if it’s bunched into a little ball. Cling wrap is not recyclable. Beeswax wraps are all natural, all compostable, and completely reusable.

Tip 4: Recycle properly
It’s unfortunately not as straight-forward as it seems. Learn more details about your council's recycling program by looking at your bins and reviewing your council's website.

Your local Coles or Woolies might even have a soft plastics recycling system where plastics that can’t get processed at normal facilities get a home in a special recycling facility.

Some quick recycling tips: 

1. All food containers need to be cleaned out thoroughly to be recycled
2. Shreds or broken glass/paper/plastic will not be recycled
3. You need to bunch aluminium into a ball to recycle it
4. Tissues, paper towels, and dirty pizza boxes can't be recycled
5. All e-waste needs a seperate pick-up: computers, tablets, old phones, batteries, kids toys with electronics


Tip 5: Plastic-free coffee!
If you buy beans, find a local cafe or roaster that you can take a glass container to for a refill. Unfortunately, most coffee beans come in a soft plastic bag that may or may not be recyclable through RedCycle.

If you’re a pod person, use Tripod’s 100% compostable pods for your daily coffee - just make sure to opt-in for our Pod-to-Plant™ returns program so we can turn your used pods into nutrient-rich fertiliser for NSW farmers. 😊

BONUS Tip: Get your DIY on!
From skin care to cooking your own hummus, use this month as an excuse to try making instead of buying wrapped in plastic. For DIY inspo, read our post Five Zero Waste DIY Experts Worth Following.

Plastic and Tripod Coffee

The coffee pod industry is known for the waste associated with single-use pods that primarily are sent to landfill. We present all of those pod drinkers with an option to drink pods and have zero waste.

In most ecommerce businesses, plastic plays a part in the products, as well as in the shipping and logistics processes (plastic bags, packing peanuts, and tape).

Tripod is nearly 100% plastic free. Our coffee pods are made from plant-based, Australian Certified, bioplastic and we offer a range of easy composting options for customers, and we don’t use any plastic in our shipping process (tape, containers, etc).

Currently, the only non-compostable plastic we use is the lids on our newly launched Three Capes Specialty Coffee, with the idea that the jar and lid can be reused. We’re in the process of transitioning the jar lids to an aluminium option (which has a higher carbon footprint but is more easily recycled in council collections).

Check our sources:

https://www.abc.net.au/triplej/programs/hack/world-health-organisation-report-says-water-full-microplastics/11436168

https://www.environment.gov.au/system/files/resources/a327406c-79f5-47f1-b71b-7388407c35a0/files/national-plastics-plan-2021.pdf

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/326144

https://www.wwf.org.au/news/blogs/plastic-in-our-oceans-is-killing-marine-mammals#gs.508rav

https://plasticoceans.org/humans-eating-plastic-over-40-pounds-in-a-lifetime/ 

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/article/you-eat-thousands-of-bits-of-plastic-every-year

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/article/plastic-produced-recycling-waste-ocean-trash-debris-environment