Plastic Free July: 3 reasons why you need to take the challenge

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Plastic Free July – the yearly challenge that sees millions of individuals worldwide commit to reducing their use of plastic throughout the month of July – kicks off in just four days’ time.

Rebecca Prince-Ruiz, founder of the Plastic Free Foundation, launched Plastic Free July back in 2011 from her hometown of Perth, WA.

What began as a humble challenge amongst Prince-Ruiz and a small team in local government has now stretched across the globe, with over 120 million participants from 177 countries taking part in Plastic Free July in 2018.

New Ipsos data revealed last year’s Plastic Free July prevented 500 million kg of plastic waste entering landfill (and our oceans), and the increase in participation rates highlights the public’s growing concern over the plastic pollution crisis.

“The growing movement of people refusing single-use plastic sends a signal to business and government that expectations are changing,” says Prince-Ruiz.

“Every person has the power to influence their environment and Plastic Free July has been critical in empowering people to connect their purchase choices to the plastic pollution problem – in other words ‘turning off the tap’.”

Prince-Ruiz says that signing up to Plastic Free July can lead individuals to adopt plastic reduction habits that last long past the month of July.

“One change can go a long way. The Plastic Free July challenge has encouraged millions of people to take small, daily actions and create long-lasting habits that minimise single-use plastic,” she says.

“In doing so, we can stem the flow of plastic waste into the oceans by taking positive actions upstream on land and in our homes.”

Prince-Ruiz has urged individuals to pressure their local retailers to take steps to reduce their plastic usage in stores.

“My local large supermarket now... just because they've had so much pressure and feedback from my community, they actually have so little produce wrapped in plastic now,” says Prince-Ruiz.

Need a reason to cut back on your use of single-use plastic? Here are three…

1. Plastic bags break up into micro pieces that easily blow into nature and, if mistaken for food and ingested, can be fatal to animals. By choosing to refuse plastic bags, you can save around 500 plastic bags per year from entering our oceans and landfill.

2. Avoiding plastic-wrapped fruit and vegetables reduces the pressure on recycling systems. It also reduces unnecessary waste and saves precious resources.

3. Single-use straws are used for a few minutes then discarded, where they’ll remain in the environment indefinitely. They are lightweight and easily blown down drains and into waterways, rivers and oceans.

Keen to find out more about how you can reduce your use of plastic? Check out these articles:

And sign up to the Plastic Free July challenge, today.