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Marking 10 years of the Plastic Free July challenge

The Plastic Free July Team | 6 June 2020

In June 2011, the Plastic Free July challenge was born from a simple question: 

‘I’m going to go plastic free next month. Who wants to join me?’

Our founder, Rebecca Prince-Ruiz had visited the local waste sorting facility, the same site that all her household recycling went when she threw it ‘away’ in the bin and left it out for the council to pick up every other week.

During the visit, Rebecca saw the amount of rubbish that was being sorted and realized the heart of the plastic waste and pollution problem was in the quantity of the rubbish. Even if some of it was going to go on, this was not the solution.

After that, Rebecca found that filling the recycling bin with packaging no longer seemed like it was doing the planet a favour. Of course, it was better than sending those items to landfill but it would be better to reduce the amount being used in the first place.

This was ten years ago.

Today, 250 million people are all taking their own personal challenges to slowly reduce the packaging in their waste and recycling bins. And we couldn’t be prouder!

How has the challenge has stood the test of time?

  • Purpose – The Plastic Free July challenge is not about the problem; it is about what we can do to be part of the solution.
  • Choice – Challenge participants start by choosing to refuse the one or two single-use plastic that that suit them.
  • Simple swaps – The challenge encourages simple swaps for common items such as reusable cups, water bottles and plastic bags, and refusing to buy produce wrapped in plastic.
  • Long-term habits – Nine out of ten challenge participants end up creating long-term habits that last far longer than the challenge itself
  • Sharing of ideas – Participants have been encouraging family members, friends and community and school groups to sign up and help grow the impact year on year.

As one participant observed: ‘Plastic Free July is merely the drop that starts the ripple effect of change throughout the year – not only in your community, but everywhere you go.’

To mark the 10-year anniversary of the challenge, we are aiming to exceed last year’s record and avoid over 1 billion kilos of plastic waste in 2020.

We have every confidence that the simple actions from individuals, families, schools, and businesses will be able to achieve this goal. Together, we can show that 2020 really is the year of change.

Signing up to the Plastic Free July challenge is the easiest way to be counted alongside the millions of people who are making a difference. Register here and take the Pesky Plastics Quiz today!

Until next time,

Your Plastic Free July team

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What you can do to avoid plastic

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