What is Plastic Free July?

plastic free July

Plastic Free July is an international movement that encourages individuals, communities and businesses to reduce their plastic consumption and adopt more sustainable habits for the entire month of July. Founded in 2011 by the Plastic Free Foundation, this initiative has grown into a popular, global phenomenon, inspiring millions of people to take action against plastic pollution every year.

The Mission and Vision

The mission of Plastic Free July is to build a global movement that will aid in dramatically reducing plastic use whilst also improving recycling schemes. The vision is to see a world free of plastic waste, where individuals and organisations actively participate in working towards solutions to the plastic pollution crisis. By raising awareness and promoting actionable steps, Plastic Free July aims to reduce the devastating impact that plastic is having on our environment.

The Impact of Plastic Pollution

Plastic pollution is one of the most pressing environmental issues of our time. Each year, millions of tons of plastic end up in our oceans, harming marine life and ecosystems. Plastic waste also clogs our waterways, litters our landscapes and contributes to the growing problem of microplastics, which have infiltrated our food and water supply. Latest scientific studies have found microplastics in human umbilical cords, blood and even semen! This is a problem that is out of control.

How to Participate in Plastic Free July

Participating in Plastic Free July is really simple and lots of fun (I promise!) Some of the things you could choose to do include:

  1. Refuse Single-Use Plastics: The core of the challenge is to avoid single-use plastics such as straws, bags, bottles and packaging as much as you possibly can. By saying no to single-use plastics and using what you already own, you will be helping to show to the stores/brands that their packaging isn’t it. Opt for reusable alternatives like cloth bags, stainless steel water bottles, glass containers and so on instead.
  2. Choose Plastic-Free Products: Look for products that use minimal or no plastic in their packaging. Support companies that prioritise sustainable packaging options by shopping with them over unsustainable ones.
  3. Bring Your Own: Always carry your own reusable coffee cups, cutlery and containers when you’re on the go. This small habit can significantly reduce your plastic footprint.
  4. Educate and Advocate: Share your plastic free July journey with friends, family and colleagues. Raise awareness about the impact of plastic pollution and why not encourage others to join the movement too?
  5. Participate in Local Events: Join local Plastic Free July events such as clean-ups, workshops etc. These events can provide support and inspiration as you work towards reducing the single-use plastic in your life.

The Benefits of Going Plastic-Free

  1. Environmental Impact: Reducing plastic use helps protect wildlife, decrease pollution and conserve resources. Each piece of plastic avoided is one less item that could end up harming the environment.
  2. Health Benefits: Many plastics contain harmful chemicals that can leach into food and drinks. By avoiding plastic, you will reduce your exposure to these toxic substances.
  3. Cost Savings: While some reusable items may have an initial cost, they do save you money in the long run.
  4. Mindful Consumption: Participating in Plastic Free July encourages more thoughtful consumption patterns. It helps build awareness of our wasteful habits and helps to foster a more sustainable lifestyle.

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What Plastic Free July Isn’t About

Some can sometimes misconstrue Plastic Free July as a time to throw out all the plastics in their home and replace them with sustainable counterparts, but this is far from the focus of this month. This isn’t about ditching plastics that you will use for years to come, it is not about throwing away that half-used bottle of shampoo or cleaning product, it is about reducing as and where you can. If you wanted to start looking into a shampoo bar this month, that’s great, but use up what you already own first and who knows, that plastic bottle could be used as a refill for something else. If you have a cupboard full of plastic bowls, plates and tubs, these are incredibly handy and need to stay – they definitely don’t want to end up in landfill! This month is about taking small steps to make changes in areas that will work for you and your lifestyle.

Success Stories and Global Participation

Over the years, Plastic Free July has seen some great success stories and widespread participation. From individuals making small changes in their daily lives to large corporations revamping their packaging strategies, the movement has definitely sparked a significant positive shift towards sustainability.

As you can see Plastic Free July is a really impactful event that can, and has helped, people to find ways to reduce their single-use plastic and adopt more sustainable ways. Every effort counts, it doesn’t matter if you only make one change or several, it’s just about giving it a go and trying to help the future of our planet. So, what do you say, will you be joining in with Plastic Free July this year?

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