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Plastic Free July

Updated: Aug 6, 2021

All month long, we'll be honoring Plastic Free July. Beginning as a grassroots movement in Australia in 2011, Plastic Free July has spread globally to raise awareness about our plastic pollution problem.

Did you know that…

  • Enough plastic is thrown away each year to wrap around the Earth four times.

  • More than a truckload of plastic is dumped into the oceans every minute.

  • There will be more plastic in our oceans than fish by 2050.

  • 1 million marine animals are killed by plastic each year.

  • 500 billion plastic bags are used worldwide each year, and each bag has an average working life of only 15 minutes.

  • Plastic straws take 200 years just to break down into tiny pieces.

  • In the USA, 94% of tap water samples contain plastic.

  • 50% of all plastic produced is for single-use purposes, used for just minutes and then thrown away.

  • Less than 9% of all plastic gets recycled.

That's why Plastic Free July is intended to encourage consumers to reduce their reliance on single-use plastics, reduce overall plastic pollution, and push for lasting solutions to the plastics crisis. Join 326 million participants across 177 countries in refusing single-use plastics in July and beyond. Making a small change today will enable us to enjoy cleaner streets, oceans, and more beautiful communities.

Below we’re sharing some of our favorite practices for refusing single-use plastics, and we encourage you to choose at least one item from the list that you can commit to doing. Choose more if you can or add others in as you adopt a plastic free lifestyle.

  • Avoid as much plastic packaging as you can

  • Choose loose fruit and veg rather than those in a bag

  • Begin bulk food shopping (i.e.: pasta, rice, spices, etc.)

  • Choose loose leaf tea or brands with plastic free bags

  • Bring your own reusable shopping bag or use a cardboard box

  • Shop at the meat, deli and fish counters

  • Refuse plastic straws, bring your own bamboo, silicone or metal one

  • BYO reusable utensils or support vendors who use compostable alternatives

  • Enjoy your to-go coffee in your own reusable cup

  • Store leftovers in containers or use beeswax wraps

  • Choose recyclable glass bottles over plastic ones

  • Swap liquid soap for bar soap

  • Choose reusable alternatives to balloon and glitter parties such as bunting, pom poms, and lanterns; dried leaves or flower petals are a great natural substitute for glitter

  • Commit to buying less or purchasing second-hand

  • Choose reusable diapers instead of disposable ones to save as many as 6,000 diapers per child from the landfill

  • Refill your existing tubes such as shampoo bottles with a DIY version; look for local workshops or online tutorials such as those on the Plastic Free July YouTube Channel

  • As a teacher, you can make a big impact in your classroom by engaging in plastic free crafts and activities while discussing waste with your students

  • As a business owner, you can choose to encourage a plastic free workplace and/or make corporate sustainability a core value

For more information, resources, tips, and tricks on how to reduce single-use plastic waste, join the Plastic Free July Challenge.

Remember, Plastic Free July is a mindset for every month, not just July. Every straw, plastic fork or toothbrush makes a difference. Choose to refuse. Start little. Start today.

“No one can do everything, but everyone can do something. And sometimes, big ideas make a big difference.” - Dr. Sylvia Earle

“We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.” - Anne Marie Bonneau aka The Zero Waste Chef

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