Frequently Asked Questions
We receive lots of questions about the challenge. Find out how it started and who we are on our About page. We've set some basic rules but have deliberately left the challenge simple so you can consider the issues and decide how it will work.
Why Plastic Free July?
- Because we are massively increasing our use of plastic and because every piece of plastic that was ever made is still in existence. Recycling is important but it's never going to be enough...we need to REDUCE, REUSE, REFUSE, RETHINK & REPAIR!
How can I go plastic free when everything around me is plastic?
- Don't worry, you can still use your computer, phone, car, etc during July. The challenge is about reducing single-use disposable plastic such as bags, straws, water bottles - you know, the packaging that you use for five minutes but lasts forever.
But I need plastic bags to wrap my rubbish in!
- That's what we thought too until someone showed us the neat trick of lining the bin with several layers of newspaper. Then you can simply wrap it up and put in your outside bin.
I can't possibly eliminate all single-use plastic from my life.
- Remember it is a challenge, not a competition. The challenge is intended to make you think about all the single-use plastic you consume every day. Whatever you can cut out is a job well done!
What do I do about milk?
- Some brands are available in glass or cardboard cartons, just ask your local store or do an internet search for brands. Check out our recipes to make your own soy and nut milk.
How do I get meat, chicken and fish that is not in plastic bags/wrap?
- Ask for it to be wrapped in paper or bring your own container, most shops are happy to fill them.
- It's best to explain what the challenge is about - otherwise shop assistants tend to put their hand in a plastic bag to pick up your produce and then throw the bag away!
What about using biodegradable or other environmentally friendly plastics?
- Single-use plastic is, well, the plastic you use just once and dispose of. The idea of the challenge is to avoid single-use plastic, whatever the material type. 'Biodegradable' and 'environmentally friendly' are terms without a single definition and can have wide ranging meanings. The UN Environment Program says that biodegradable plastics are not the answer to reducing marine litter.
Is foil okay? As in foil around chocolate or chip packets?
- Again, it depends how serious you want to get about the challenge!
- Apparently chip packets are often made out of metal coated plastic film.
- Use the scrunch test to check whether it is aluminium foil. If it springs back when scrunched in the hand it is not aluminum foil and most likely contains plastic!
Are cans okay to purchase? I hear they're often lined with some kind of plastic.
- Apparently most tins and cans are lined with plastic - usually containing BPA.
- There is information on the internet about health concerns with these types of cans. If you want to be completely authentic about the challenge you would keep those tins in the dilemma bag.
- The challenge really does make you realise just how ubiquitous plastic is.
How do I manage if I'm the only one in my household participating?
- Explain what you are doing, and why - it's a good opportunity to start conversations.
- Don't judge, actions really do speak louder than words and maybe your behaviours will rub off on others!
- Just keep any plastic you buy for your dilemma bag.