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2022 Global Reach and Impact

The Plastic Free July Team | 28 November 2022

We’re delighted to share this years’ results in our Plastic Free July Impact Report 2022, including the efforts of participants, businesses and governments around the world helping to end plastic waste as they ‘choose to refuse’ single-use plastic every day.

The theme for Plastic Free July 2022 was ‘Turning the Tide’, describing the concerted global efforts required to tackle the scale and urgency of the plastic pollution crisis. 

Global engagement 

In 2022, Plastic Free July was marked worldwide by a record 140 million participants making conscious changes and reducing their waste by 2.6 million tonnes – that’s the equivalent of around 13 thousand blue whales. 

We saw an ever-increasing participation from schools, councils, businesses, partners organisations and government agencies. This global trend is strong: 87% of people support policies and action to reduce plastic waste. 

Plastic Free Foundation has played an integral role in championing this public voice by positively influencing global policy development through research, engagement, behaviour change and advocacy efforts. 

Global action 

On 2 March 2022, in Nairobi, United Nations Member States endorsed a historic resolution to commence a global treaty to end plastic pollution by the end of 2024. It will address the full plastic lifecycle: from extraction, to production, design, use and disposal. It was an honour to attend the UN Environment Assembly as an Accredited NGO, to represent the millions of participants in Plastic Free July. 

“I am deeply impressed by the broad network of activities Plastic Free July set up…triggering sustainable behaviour in so many people. Every individual decision, every little step counts – and together they form collective action that has a strong and clearly measurable direct impact”, Jennifer Morgan, State Secretary And Special Envoy For International Climate Action For The Federal Republic Of Germany 

In the lead up to the Assembly, Plastic Free Foundation partnered with Ipsos to undertake a global survey to understand public opinions on actions to combat plastic pollution. The Foundation partnered with WWF-International to analyse and publish a report on global public opinion on a plastic treaty. 

Our research found that nearly 90% of people surveyed – over 20,000 adults across 28 countries – believe that having a global plastics treaty will help to effectively address the plastic pollution crisis. This shows an extremely high level of public support for a legally-binding global agreement to combat plastic pollution.

WWF Rising Tides infographic for the plastics treaty

“Our collaboration with the Plastic Free Foundation and Ipsos has been absolutely critical to ensuring that people’s views on a plastic pollution treaty are put clearly on the public record… this research to explore people’s expectations of a treaty is more important than ever, and provides a strong public mandate for governments to negotiate a comprehensive and ambitious treaty by 2025.” Elena Khishchenko, Head Of Global Campaigns At Wwf-International 

The ‘Rising Tides’ report received significant media attention, with over 1,000 mentions totalling a reach of 1.8 – 5 billion readership, including major wire agencies, Reuters, AFP, and EFE. 

Global recognition 

Another 2022 highlight was the recognition Plastic Free Foundation received by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Action Awards. 

We were selected as one of two finalists for the ‘Mobilize’ award, from over 3,000 applications from 150 countries, as initiatives that mobilise, inspire and connect people to drive action towards a more sustainable future. 

It was inspiring to meet the eight other category finalists aspiring for a healthier planet at the Ceremony at UN Bonn in Germany in September 2022. 

This global recognition shows the collective power of individual action, and the difference we can all make for a low-waste, sustainable world. The next two years are critical to turn the tide on plastic pollution: our community, corporates, and governments all must play in creating a healthy future for our children and the planet. 

Please feel free to read the report for detailed stats, media coverage, and stories of change from just a few of the millions of people of Plastic Free July participants together helping to end plastic waste so we can all enjoy a healthy planet.

View the full Impact Report 2022 here.

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What you can do to avoid plastic

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