Plastic Free July in Action
In this section we share stories about how people undertook and shared the Plastic Free July challenge. For more in-depth stories please visit our Detailed Case Studies page to read more about how people have taken Plastic Free July into their organisations, schools and wider communities.
Individual stories: Amy Cooke, Western Australia
Fifteen year old Amy Cooke was concerned about the number of small plastic bags that people used each day to but their fruit and vegetables. She started making her own and was then asked to present a community workshop teaching people how to make reusable produce bags from recycled net curtains. Amy buys the curtains from op shops and sews them into produce bags which she then sells, the proceeds going to her local community garden. She says I know how important it is to look after our natural environment...in our home, instead of plastic, we use my RE-Bag-it cloth bags for our fruit and vegetables.
Business stories: Keep Australia Beautiful Council Western Australia
Keep Australia Beautiful Council WA had a month long schedule of plastic free morning teas in their office buildings to raise awareness of Plastic Free July. Each week they focused on a different issue such as bottled water, takeaway coffee cups and plastic microbeads. Visiting speakers attended and hands on demonstrations taught people new skills such as making plastic-free personal care products. An outreach program to schools and communities spead awareness across the vast state of Western Australia as far as Cocos Islands which despite its remote location is severly affected by plastic pollution.
School stories: Presbyterian Ladies College, Western Australia
Senior school students from Perth’s Presbyterian Ladies College participated in an Earth Carers course to have an in depth look at their waste. They started by taking a close look at the contents of the rubbish bins at the canteen and then visited their local waste processing facility. The students learnt to make their own toothpaste and deodorant. They also spent a week making beeswax sandwich wraps as a lunchtime activity. The students also successfully lobbied to get sales of plastic water bottles banned from the canteen and the school encourages students to bring their own reusable bottles and provides water fountains around the grounds to refill bottles. More school stories here>>
Group stories: Transition Town Guildford
Transition Town Guilford have regularly participated in the challenge and share it in creative ways. A long table plastic free bring & share lunch in 2016 brought the community together with several short talks. Peter wrote an interesting blog about the impact of the challenge – increased awareness, less in the recycling bin and some less expected consequences: learning new recipes, needing to plan more, and connecting with community by going to the local farmers market. The group held a public screening of the documentary Bag It at the local town hall and challenged the public to go a day or a week without using plastic. Group members then demonstrated how people could make their own produce bags from leftovers such as tshirts, pillow cases and fabric scraps.
Council Stories: City of Subiaco
Staff from the City of Subiaco participating in the challenge encouraged their colleagues to register by giving each participant a reusable coffee cup. Their weekly ‘Coffee Wars' initiative saw a staff member taking all the reusable cups to a local café then the coffees were ‘blind tasted’ and each cafe was rated. Senior Community Development Officer Emma said It has been really fun seeing the barrister and customers response when you rock up with a collection of coloured cups. There is at least one cafe that has given us a cup discount too! Since then the Council's CEO has given each staff member a branded reusable cup. Parks staff now incorporate cleanups in their education programs with schools and community groups and participants are often amazed at how much litter, especially plastics, are collected from local parks which at first sight appear clean.