A global movement aims to empower people and communities to shift away from single-use plastics in their lives.
12 July 2020
(This post is part of the Plastics theme for 2020)
While 2020 has been a challenging year, marked by the Covid-19 pandemic and its effects, this is also a good time for us to reflect on our actions and their effects upon the environment. As the Earthzine Plastic theme for 2020 continues on, in this article we take a look at a global movement to reduce the use of Plastics - Plastic Free July.
This environmental initiative that began in Perth, Australia in 2011 with 40 participants has since grown into a global campaign attracting millions of participants from across the world. This year’s organisers are aiming for even more people to sign up to refuse single-use plastics and be part of the Plastic Free July challenge.
Entering its tenth year in 2020, Plastic Free July is a global movement that empowers individuals, communities and businesses to choose to refuse single-use plastics in their lives. The challenge helps millions of people take small, daily actions to create long-lasting habits that minimise single-use plastic. In 2019, the theme was Your Challenge, Your Way.
Plastic Free July is asking people and organisations to choose a challenge that suits their lifestyle, whether that’s switching to a reusable coffee cup for the month, or choosing to refuse fresh produce in plastic packaging.
People can choose to take the challenge in many ways, including
- avoiding plastic packaging,
- refusing disposable takeaway cups and containers,
- remembering to ‘BYO’ water bottles and food containers,
- cleaning up litter and
- choosing natural alternatives to plastic.
The founder of Plastic Free July, Rebecca Prince-Ruiz, is urging people to be part of the challenge by avoiding single-use disposable plastic throughout July and sharing their ideas and success on the website, in social media and with friends.
“Everyone can make a difference to reduce plastic pollution by refusing the single-use plastics we encounter every day – stopping the problem at the source,” says Ms Prince-Ruiz, who travelled the world in 2016 as part of her Churchill Fellowship to discover the most effective ways of tackling the plastic pollution problem.
“By being part of Plastic Free July, participants can choose one single-use plastic to avoid. The most popular choices are switching from plastic wrapped to loose produce, and choosing to refuse straws and plastic water bottles. It’s all about noticing your plastic purchases and choosing better alternatives.
“It’s a personal challenge that’s part of a global effort for our oceans, for cleaner streets and for the planet.”
How can you participate in Plastic free July?
- Sign up for the challenge and take steps to further reduce single-use plastics
- Find Plastic-cleanup related activities near you and participate
- Watch videos or hold screenings to spread awareness
- Spread the word on reducing plastics on social media and other places using badges and posters.
About Plastic Free July challenge
Plastic Free July is designed to help people refuse single-use plastic and improve recycling practices. The challenge continues to drive positive change through simple solutions that help communities live more sustainably for example using reusable cups, water bottles and plastic bags, and refusing to buy produce wrapped in plastic.
From humble beginnings in 2011, the award-winning Plastic Free July campaign is the result of years of hard work. Started by Rebecca Prince-Ruiz and a small team in local government in Western Australia, and is now one of the most influential environmental campaigns in the world. Millions of people across the globe take part every year, with many committing to plastic reduction far beyond the month of July.
On a larger scale, Plastic Free July challenge aims to kick-start long-lasting solutions and influence business and governments to take action to:
- Improve recycling: Follow local recycling guides and put items in the right bin. Petition governments to require businesses to use recycled plastic in their products and packaging.
- Embrace a circular economy: Encourage businesses and organisations to move away from the concept of ‘take, make and throw away’, towards a circular economy that promotes recycling and the reuse of materials.
- Extended producer responsibility (EPR): Push businesses to own the product management lifecycle. This involves producers considering the end-of-life of the products they sell, andmaking it easy for customers to dispose of products thoughtfully. Container deposit schemes are a good example of this – they reduce beverage container litter by an average of 40% and increase recycling too.
About Plastic Free Foundation
The Plastic Free Foundation is a global not-for-profit organisation which delivers the annual Plastic Free July challenge and works with communities to achieve a world without plastic waste.
The Foundation was established in 2017 by Rebecca Prince-Ruiz and operates across the globe. The Foundation is a registered charity with the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission (ACNC) and the Charities Aid Foundation of America (CAF). As a registered not-for-profit, donations will help the Foundation to continue to help millions of people and organisations across the world make change.
To be part of the Plastic Free July movement and learn more, visit www.plasticfreejuly.org.
You can find Plastic free July on Instagram as well.
Image credits: The Plastic free july poster and badge have been obtained from https://www.plasticfreejuly.org