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How Joanna began her plastic free journey

A shipping container spill turned wake up call

Joanna had been conscious of the devastating effects of plastics on the marine environment for some time. Her and her family tried their best to be conscious of their carbon footprint; using the return-and-earn facility for recycling and bringing along their own reusable shopping bags.

However, when a shipping container spilled in Port Stephens near their home, it was a very visual and personal wakeup call.

Joanna and her family decided it was time to get more serious about plastic pollution. And so, they signed up for the Plastic Free July challenge.

Finding solutions to single-use plastic waste

The major source of plastic in Joanna’s household was from pre-packaged products. To combat this, she started buying fruit and vegetables from local suppliers. On odd occasions where she did purchase fruit or vegetables from the supermarket, she didn’t buy pre-packaged goods. In many cases, it was as easy as asking herself, ‘What did my nanna do?’

Home baking, wrapping rubbish in newspaper and cooking instead of buying takeaway all made a huge difference. Joanna also began saying no to the big four single-use plastic items – cups, straws, bottles and plastic bags. Her family started buying ‘experiences’ rather than presents that would end up as landfill. Using alternatives to cleaning products such as bicarb soda, clove oil, vinegar and washable cloths also made a significant difference.

Going beyond the Plastic Free July challenge

Since the challenge, Joanna and her family have continued to say no to single-use plastics. The month-long timeframe was enough to change habits on a more permanent basis. She has since discovered that her local bakery and smallgoods shop is more than happy for her to bring her own containers or bags. For a recent garden party, Joanna sourced items such as tableware and glasses from the local recycle centre.

The changes she’s made have been positive and have also allowed her to connect with likeminded people in her community who are also in the search for solutions.

More stories

What did you do for Plastic Free July?

 Please share your story – what you did, the challenges and barriers and your successes. Where possible we will then share this to inspire others in their efforts to reduce plastic waste, grow the movement and amplify the impact.

To find plastic free ideas, take the Plastic Free July challenge

To support our efforts, donate to Plastic Free July

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