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How July became the global month of action to end plastic waste

The Plastic Free July Team | 7 July 2022

Global month of action to end plastic waste

Concerned by the plastic problem, many of us didn’t wait for bans to decide to stop using plastic bags when we go shopping. Participants didn’t stop buying coffee in plastic cups because businesses stopped selling them to us. 

Instead many of us saw plastic pollution caused by everyday items in our own lives and decided to make a change ourselves.

We may have questioned whether our small actions would make a difference. We haven’t met each other but the ‘many’ of us taking these seemingly small actions grew to ‘millions’ refusing single-use plastics at home, in schools and at work and as the size of our community grows, the impact gets bigger and bigger. Millions of people around the world refusing single-use plastics at home, in schools and at work and showing others new ways to reduce their plastic footprint too. 

As the size of our community grows, the impact gets bigger and bigger. Individuals create Facebook groups, community beach-cleans and invite more people to get involved.

Plastic Free July is a personal challenge yet it has become a major milestone on the global calendar – the month of July now synonymous with taking action to end plastic pollution.

Each July, local municipalities and community groups host events, workplaces hold Plastic Free Morning Teas, libraries host practical workshops and schools have waste free lunches. 

Senators and CEOs are getting involved too, brands and regulators responding to the groundswell of community engagement. 

This July, we celebrate unprecedented legislative and regulatory action across the world, from Washington D.C to Delhi, Perth to Portugal marking what has become the month of global action on plastic waste.

A few highlights from 1st July include;

  • In the USA, Senator Whitehouse and Senator Jeff Merkley announced a resolution to mark July as ‘Plastic Pollution Action Month’ to highlight the urgency of addressing the threat that the plastic pollution crisis poses to our health and planet. 
  • In India, the federal government announced a ban of 19 single-use or disposable plastic items that they identified to not be very useful but have a high possibility of becoming waste. The ruling takes immediate action on the produce, import, selling and use of these plastic items.
  • Our home state of Western Australia saw action to strengthen the existing ban on lightweight plastic bags to include all plastic shopping bags with handles as well as disposable plastic utensils, disposable plastic foodware without lids and expanded polystyrene food containers and trays and helium balloon releases. In South Australia a ‘BYO Containers Bill’ was passed – making it easier for retailers to allow customers to use their own reusable containers to take away food.
  • In Portugal, world leaders attended the 2022 United Nations Ocean Conference and agreed to adopt an action-oriented Political Declaration to save the ocean from existing and future threats, including marine pollution. 

Plastic Free July is proof that decisions to reduce plastic pollution made by individuals are not a drop in the ocean but a ripple that grows into a wave and can help turn the tide on the plastic problem. Changing our behaviour and the growing shift away from single-use plastics is leading the way for systemic change and we congratulate the governments and brands that are responding by taking action.

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What you can do to avoid plastic

Want some tips to find out how you can reduce plastic waste? The good news is, anyone can get involved. You can start out small, or really challenge yourself. Get inspired!

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