This July you can be a part of the plastic pollution solution!
Plastic pollution is a global environmental crisis that poses significant threats to our planet and its inhabitants. In an effort to address this issue, the “Plastic-Free July” campaign was born. This month-long initiative encourages individuals, communities, and organizations worldwide to reduce their plastic consumption. And as a result, helping us all to take steps towards a more sustainable future.
Understanding Plastic Pollution
Plastic pollution has reached alarming levels, with devastating impacts on our ecosystems, wildlife, and human health. It is estimated that around 11 million tons of plastic waste end up in our oceans every year. This plastic pollution endangers marine life and contaminates the food chain.
The Plastic-Free July Movement
Plastic-Free July is a global campaign that was initiated in 2011 by the Plastic Free Foundation, a non-profit organization based in Australia. The primary goal of this movement is to raise awareness about the plastic waste crisis and inspire individuals to take action by reducing their plastic consumption. The campaign encourages participants to refuse single-use plastics for the entire month of July, aiming to create lasting behavioral changes beyond the designated time frame.
July was chosen as the month for this campaign due to its strategic timing. It allows individuals and communities to begin their plastic-free journey during the summer months when plastic waste tends to increase significantly as a result of outdoor activities, picnics, and vacations. By raising awareness and promoting sustainable alternatives, Plastic-Free July empowers participants to make informed choices and adopt long-term sustainable habits.
Actions taken by each of those individual participants add up to make a huge impact — participation in this challenge spanned 177 countries! Only 9% of all plastic ever produced has been recycled – and therefore 91% is now sitting in a landfill. Worldwide efforts like Plastic Free July help spread awareness in hopes of curbing our planet’s exponential increase in plastic use.
The solutions promoted by Plastic Free July can have some significant environmental benefits.
- They help prevent pollution from the extraction of raw materials for plastic production (such as oil spills or pollution from plastic pellets).
- Limit energy needs and greenhouse gases related to producing new materials.
- Reduce the amount of waste that goes to landfills or incinerators.
How to Participate in Plastic-Free July
Participating in Plastic-Free July is open to everyone, regardless of age, location, or background. Here are some basic steps you can take to join the movement:
Set goals: Start by identifying your plastic consumption habits so that you can set realistic goals for reducing or eliminating certain types of plastics from your daily life.
Refuse single-use plastics: Be mindful of items such as plastic bags, straws, bottles, cutlery, and packaging. Opt for reusable alternatives like cloth bags, stainless steel straws, and refillable water bottles.
Spread awareness: Share your participation in Plastic-Free July with friends, family, and colleagues. Encourage them to join you and raise awareness about the impact of plastic pollution.
Choose sustainable alternatives: Seek out products with minimal or plastic-free packaging. Therefore supporting local businesses who prioritize sustainable practices and offer eco-friendly alternatives.
Educate yourself: Stay informed about the environmental consequences of plastic pollution. Learn about recycling programs, waste management systems, and innovative solutions to tackle plastic waste.
Inspire others: Share your experiences, challenges, and successes on social media platforms using the hashtag #PlasticFreeJuly. So that your journey can inspire others to make positive changes as well.
Benefits of Participating
Participating in Plastic-Free July not only contributes to a cleaner environment but also brings about several personal benefits:
Healthier lifestyle: By reducing your dependence on single-use plastics, you limit your exposure to harmful chemicals found in plastic products, thereby promoting a healthier lifestyle.
Cost savings: Embracing reusable alternatives can lead to significant cost savings over time, as you reduce your need to purchase disposable plastic items repeatedly.
Community engagement: Plastic-Free July provides an opportunity to engage with like-minded individuals, join local events, and collaborate with organizations that advocate for sustainable practices, fostering a sense of community.