“Plastic free July is a global movement that helps millions of people be part of the solution to plastic pollution”
Plastic is everywhere and it can sometimes feel impossible to avoid; especially when it comes to single-use plastics (the plastic that we only use for a very short period of time).
Plastic Free July is a month long challenge to help you reduce your use of single-use plastics and watch as these changes spread out around you.
Read on to hear why we love Plastic Free July and how it’s helped Emma and her family significantly reduce the amount of single-use plastics in their lives.
1. You can make this challenge as big or as small as you like
YOU decide what kind of a challenge you are up for. You don’t need to go completely Plastic FREE. It’s all about REDUCING single-use plastics where you can. Every change, no matter how small, is important.
You can choose to target just one or each of the big four, saying NO to plastic bags, bottled drinks, takeaway coffee cups and/or straws for the month of July, or see how much single-use plastics you can avoid.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Choose loose fruit and veg (or BYO reusable produce bag)
- Leave the cling wrap in the draw and instead use lunchboxes, beeswax wraps or a plate or tea towel to cover things.
- Buy some of your pantry staples loose from a bulk store (BYO bags)
- Eat more fresh foods and try to cook a more from scratch
- Can you avoid packaged snack foods for July?
2. It can help others in your household get on board
Feel like you’re the one driving things at home? Always nagging about recycling and turning off the lights? This can be a great way to convince others around you to get involved and take ownership for their actions too.
After all it is only for a month. Are they up for a challenge?
3. A month is a perfect time to make new habits stick
We tend to shop, cook and do so many of our regular things on autopilot. It can be hard to make new habits. BUT focussing in on single-use plastics for the month is a great way to set up some new behaviours. We need to do things over and over again to make them stick. 4 weeks is the perfect time to set things in stone and develop a whole lot of new habits.
4. So many great conversations
Telling others that you are doing Plastic Free July can lead to so many great conversations and help small changes ripple out around you. From chatting with your local butcher or deli staff “I’m doing this thing called Plastic Free July and wondered if I could bring you my own container to use” to the questions that friends and family will ask you.
5. It can be totally FREE
Signing up for Plastic Free July is completely free. While there are some re-usable items that can make things easier, you can also do a lot with what you already have (which is probably the more sustainable option anyway).
6. It is only ONE month!
Plastic Free July is a chance to try things that you might not normally do. Maybe it’s making more food from scratch. Maybe it’s trying a shampoo bar in the bathroom or lining your bin with newspaper instead of a plastic bag. We see the month of July as a chance to push things a bit further than usual. At the end of the month we can reassess and decide what is realistic and manageable to keep doing in the longer run.
7. It can lead to so much more
Plastic Free July is a great chance to see how powerful personal choices can be, and that lots of little, individual actions add up to something pretty big. Reducing single-use plastics is just one little piece in the bigger environmental puzzle.
There are so many different directions you can take – looking at other ways to reduce your environmental footprint, joining a local environmental group or community garden, speaking out about things, introducing ideas into your workplace or school, or learning more about our beautiful world.
You might want to check out the upcoming Living Smart Course. This is a hybrid event run over 7 weeks with a mixture of in person and online sessions and is a great way to delve into living more sustainably while connecting with others.
8. You will be part of something really BIG
You are not alone. Millions of people from around the world participate in Plastic Free July. Signing up and adding your name to the list, adds weight to this global movement. It helps show the groundswell of demand for governments, businesses, manufacturers, suppliers and supermarkets to also do more to reduce single-use plastics.
Every conversation, every person, every action matters.
You are also not the first person to try and figure this stuff out. There are heaps of great resources and places to go for ideas and inspiration. Here are a few of our favourites:
9. Signing up and telling others will help you feel accountable
Anyone that’s done goal setting work before knows there is power in WRITING down your goals and in TELLING others. You are much more likely to stick with something if you’ve made some kind of written commitment. So register for the challenge and take their pesky plastics quiz to get started.
Then we’d love you to share with us your Plastic Free July goals – by commenting on this post.
“I just signed up to Plastic Free July AND for the month of July I will . . . . . . . . . . . . . “
Participating in Plastic Free July over the last 5 years has helped our family to change the way we shop, cook, eat and live. It’s helped the whole household get on board, and reduce the amount we send to landfill. This is because of lots of small changes that we have worked on over time. But we are far from perfect, and far from plastic free!
This year, Plastic Free July is going to be a time for us to reset some behaviours that have slipped, especially during COVID-19. It’s a month to get back to visiting the bulk store, to cooking more from scratch, and reducing some of the less than healthy snack foods that have been keeping us company while working from home.
Good luck – we’d love to hear how you go.
Emma (and family)