What is Plastic Free July?
I am writing this post from one person trying their best to another and would really love to share what I’ve learned in the last few months as well as offer some resources that I’ve found helpful along the way.
Photograph by Paulo Oliveira / Alamy
Plastic Free July is a global movement encouraging millions of people to reduce plastic pollution by refusing single-use plastic.
This movement is run by The Plastic Free Foundation Ltd, an independent not-for-profit organization established in 2017 and started in 2011 by Rebecca Price-Ruiz.
Their core values are based on honesty, integrity, inclusivity and the belief that every small change can make a big difference.
In 2019, about 250 million people across the globe took part in Plastic Free July and helped reduce almost 5% of household waste and contributed to a total saving of 825 million kg of plastic waste!
This is a challenge anyone can take part in, whether you are just getting started or trying to reduce plastic within your community.
The goal is to make small changes that will stick with you every day of every month. Will you avoid single-use plastic packaging? Ditch takeaway items? Or will you try and completely cut plastic?
My Personal Challenge
I have made it my goal (outside of Plastic Free July) to avoid single-use plastic and takeaway items in general and will continue to do so.
Why am I not wholly ditching plastic? Because there is, unfortunately, plastic in everything. From my laundry basket to my storage containers holding holiday decorations and photo albums.
So I will not claim to completely ditch plastic altogether, but I will try my absolute hardest to make sure I do not continue to add to our landfills and be more conscious of all my purchases.
I have found these websites, influencers and apps super helpful in my sustainable journey. If you have any resources that have helped you along the way, please leave them in the comments.
Plastic Free July | The Plastic Free July website offers a list of single-use plastics you can quickly ditch, how you can take the next step and the impact of the item (I.e. Coffee cups are not recyclable in most locations. Even ‘compostable’ cups are rarely composted as they require particular facilities and conditions)
Ocean Crusaders | More stats! Because you know...the more you know... Ocean Crusaders offers information on how plastics are affecting our oceans and ways we can make a difference.
Antonia | She is Awake | Beyond creating beautiful content, Antonia is a full-time researcher of the human condition, sustainability, urban planning and human experience. This girl knows what she talking about and shares her knowledge both on Instagram and on her blog.
Kathryn | Going Zero Waste | What I love about Kathryn’s blog is that she not only focuses on zero waste living but also how you will save $$$ doing so! I think this is one element that really sets her apart and although I am trying my best to save the planet, I’m here on a budget and have found this super helpful!
Kristy | Brown Girl Green | Kristy post both original content as well as the best of the best-curated content. I love reading into issues that have never made it onto my radar and Kristy shares just that. From “The Environmental Impacts of Synthetic Hair” to “Why the Circular Economy Could Help With Climate Change in a Post-COVID World”. She has incredibly in-depth information on all her platforms; Instagram, Youtube and Podcast.
Wild Minimalist | The Wild Minimalist is a blog run by a husband and wife duo. They make plastic and waste-free living approachable and realistic. They cover day to day zero waste living and topics I would have never even thought of such as “Is there plastic in tea?”.
I have not given any of these a listen as my podcast list is currently full, but these have been recommended by my fellow eco friends, and I am excited to add them to my playlist!
My Little Plastic Footprint | This app helps you track the plastic items you have given up and calculates your PMI (Plastic Mass Index). The closer your PMI is to zero, the less you contribute. This app also focuses on plastics found in your day to day because, again, small changes make a difference!
Beat the Microbeads | Microbeads and plastics are found in an overwhelming number of cosmetic products. They are hardly visible to the naked eye but are almost impossible for water treatment plants to filter out. The particle ends up in our oceans and a massive contributor to the plastic population. Beat the Micro Beads allows you to filter by country, brand and product and will search the database for and provide you with a rank and list of concerns.
iRecycle | This app helps you sort through your bin and find the proper place to recycle items correctly if you can’t do so at home. iRecycle also allows you to search for any material, from engine degreaser to branches, and will provide you with a drop off location near you, phone number and collection schedule if available.
So, will you take on the Plastic Free July challenge? If so, what will you cut out and for how long?
I would love to follow your journey, so be sure to tag us on Instagram! Also, check out this great Getting Started Guide by Plastic Free July