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What are you doing in July – Plastic Free July?

What are you doing in July – Plastic Free July?

By Ewa Meyer, Renew Hunter Branch Convenor.


This month, millions of people around the world are taking steps to refuse single-use plastic. Last year, participants avoided 2.6 million tonnes of waste! It doesn’t matter what choice you make – or switching to reusable cups and avoiding plastic packaging. What’s your step?

Community champion – in Canada, Kirsty Symmons downloaded and shared free Plastic Free July resources for an initiative in her hometown. Discussions, DIY solutions, and insightful seminars helped the community reduce single-use plastic. Businesses put up posters and cafes offered discounts for people choosing reusable coffee cups with the local newspaper sharing the story.

Corporates taking a step – team members from Endeavour Group gathered to learn about the plastic pollution problem and share solutions in their personal lives and their workplaces.  The teams are energised and excited to take their small step together starting this July, including Endeavour Group CEO, Steve Donohue.  View Steve’s pledge here.

Good News Stories – in Tahiti, Claire is switching to bar soap, Sabrina in South Africa is using a reusable kit and and businesses like Six Senses Yao Noi in Thailand are taking part by avoiding plastic straws. 

In Aotearoa New Zealand, Wanaka Wastebusters held a community workshop to make the reusable produce bags they are giving away at a local supermarket today as NZ becomes the first country in the world to ban single-use plastic produce bags.

Switching to betterMelanie in the USA says ‘I’m taking the plastic free step of using a bamboo toothbrush versus the plastic toothbrush. One of the main reasons I switched is that the American Dental Association estimates that one billion plastic toothbrushes are thrown away in the US every year’.

By sharing your step online and tagging @plasticfreejuly #SmallStepsBigDifference, we can encourage others to join in and be part of the solution to plastic pollution. WHAT’S YOUR STEP?

Plastic Free July (PFJ) has developed into a worldwide event, giving us all an opportunity to challenge ourselves to get out of those old habits and comfort zone we have become so accustomed to. There are some exciting projects this year organised by the PFJ team. You can do as much or as little as you like – every little piece of plastic counts.

Started in 2011, this community idea has developed into a global movement for sustainability. Focussing on July, but changing habits that will hopefully last a lifetime – here are some ideas.

1. Be a part of the PFJ campaign video. Let’s show that ‘every individual choice is making powerful impact and we want to inspire others to join in. Together, we can show the world how these steps make a big difference.’

So grab your camera and get someone to video you holding a plastic alternative – tell us where you are and why you are making this plastic-free step. Submit your 45 second video by May 31. More info here.

2. How about organising a Plastic Free Morning Tea? By sharing food, fun and conversation, we can all learn from each other and be inspired. You can hold one at work, home or out in the community and it’s an easy way to create new habits and kickstart bigger changes. More info here.

3. Other ways to get involved this July and beyond!

Curious to know what people have done for Plastic Free July? Read inspirational stories from participants reducing single-use plastic waste at home, work, or in their community. Pick something you might do and go for it! See what others do.

VIDEO – How Boomerang Bags killed our addiction to single-use plastic bags

  • Avoid using cleaning products packaged in single-use plastic.
  • Swap liquid soap for bar soaps and avoid single-use plastic.
  • Bring a reusable coffee cup or dine-in at your local café. We started well but have slacked off on this one!
  • Start a group of people doing something for Plastic Free July.
  • Students & parents – bring Plastic Free July to your school. eg. In the school canteen find easy alternatives to single-use plastic.

4. The PFJ website has heaps more ideas and resources for us to use. Why not take a look, register your interest and take the challenge. The tips and tricks in PFJs weekly emails during July help keep people motivated during the challenge. People also enjoy reading stories from other participants across the global network. Enter your details here to get the latest plastic-free ideas.

5. What are we are doing (so far) in Port Stephens? Join us on a tour to a plastic re-manufacturing factory and see that IT IS worthwhile recycling your plastic. If you live in the lower Hunter, come join us and look Behind the Scenes at Resourceful Living’s factory in Kurri Kurri on Sunday 2 July. More info and bookings here.

Plastic Free: The Inspiring Story of a Global Environmental Movement and Why It Matters by Rebecca Prince-Ruiz and Joanna Atherfold Finn.

‘I’m going plastic free next month, who wants to join me?’ When Rebecca Prince-Ruiz asked her colleagues this question in 2011, she had no idea that a decade later it would inspire a global movement of 250 million people in 177 countries to reduce their plastic use. Plastic Free tells the incredible story of how a simple community initiative grew into one of the world’s most successful environmental movements.

And we’re very proud to say that co-authoring this inspirational book is Joanna Atherfold Finn, a Port Stephens local. Jo is also a regular writer in What’s on in Our Backyard – Port Stephens No.1 Website & Magazine For Families. Check out Jo’s article on how families can get involved in Plastic Free July. Read it here.

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Published: 21 May 2023