A beginner's guide to going plastic free

Want to take part in the plastic-free movement this July but don’t know where to start? Start here!

 

 

‘Plastic-free’ is a hot topic and with good reason, we’re producing extraordinary amounts of plastic every day and we still don’t have an effective way to get rid of it.

Why should we go plastic-free?

Plastic is an important material created to help preserve the world’s natural resources. Unfortunately, plastic is now one of the biggest environmental issues on the planet.

Enough plastic is thrown away each year to circle the Earth four times

Plastic is now so ubiquitous it has been found in the most remote parts of Antarctica.



The real problem with plastic is that it isn’t biodegradable and we don’t have an effective way to get rid of it.

Recycling plastic is great as it prevents plastic from heading to a landfill or the ocean. Producing products made from recycled plastic also requires less energy. However, not all recycling facilities are set up to recycle all types of plastic, and not everyone recycles meaning 8 million tonnes of plastic still finds its way into our waterways every year.

Why is going plastic-free is the answer? In the next minute people around the world will purchase 1 million plastic bottles and 2 million plastic bags – recycling on this scale is not sustainable.

Taking the issue into our own hands and being responsible for our own plastic consumption is a real solution.

How to start your plastic-free journey with the plastic-free July challenge 

If you’ve been thinking about reducing your plastic use or going completely plastic-free – July is the best time to start.

Plastic Free July is an independent, not-for-profit organisation hoping to help millions of people be part of the solution to plastic pollution.

Each year plastic-free July helps break old plastic habits and create new plastic-free ones that will have a long-lasting positive impact on the planet.

Pledge to take part

Step one on your journey to becoming plastic-free is easy – simply visit the Plastic Free July website and pledge your commitment to go plastic free. By doing so you’ll be joining a community of 120 million participants worldwide and will gain access to heaps of tips and plastic-free solutions.

Customise your plastic-free plan


Going plastic-free sounds simple, until you get started and you realise how reliant we are on this manmade material. Some plastic products are far easier to remove from your life than others. The idea behind plastic-free July is to educate and change habits, so if you’re going plastic-free for the first time be realistic. Customise your plastic-free plan and start small. Not sure where to begin? Try targeting takeaway plastic or single-use plastic items first.

Take the pesky plastics quiz

In less than 5 minutes you can help provide valuable information to help Plastic Free July track the trends in household plastic use. The quiz asks you questions about what you do now with regards to plastic. This information will be used to help uncover solutions for pesky plastic items we still rely on.

Think plastic-free at home

 

Plastic contains volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which means bringing a lot of plastic into the home can impact your home’s indoor air quality. Think about the things you do every day at home, for example, do you start your day with a cup of tea? Unfortunately, many tea bag brands contain plastic, opt for loose leaf or plastic-free tea bags instead. You’ll probably throw your tea bag into a plastic bin liner, purchase certified compostable bin liners instead. From cooking and food-related waste to cleaning and household waste, make a list of the plastic items you encounter in your daily routine and actively seek a plastic-free alternative.

Think plastic-free at work


Taking the plastic-free movement to work poses new challenges and benefits. Hopefully, you’ll inspire others to reduce their use of plastic consumption and be able to impact change on a larger scale. Ask questions and learn about the products and services your workplace utilise. If your company procure a single-use plastic item, ask if there is a plastic-free alternative. Make sure your workplace is disposing of waste correctly and recycling where possible. Send an email to invite your colleagues to take part - a bake-off is a great way to raise awareness. 

Think plastic-free on the go

If you wanted to, you could grab your breakfast, lunch and dinner on the go – but if you do, you’re likely to encounter plastic at every step. Be prepared to go plastic-free when you travel and arm yourself with some plastic-free, reusable essentials such as a reusable cup and or drink bottle, container for food, reusable cutlery and shopping bag. Make reusable the norm and show others how easy it can be to reduce plastic use. 

Introduce plastic-free to your community

Social media is a great platform for sharing plastic-free solutions and finding a like-minded community. Whether you’re looking to throw a plastic-free party, seek reusable household solutions or make your bathroom more eco-friendly – interacting with like-minded groups will help inspire and keep you motivated. Organising a clean-up in your local community or taking part in initiatives like Clean Up Australia Day are great ways to get together and make a real difference.

Does going plastic-free actually make a difference?

Yes! When 120 million people across the world do their bit to reduce plastic waste – you’re going to see an impact. Plastic Free July participants contribute to a total saving of 490 million kg of plastic waste each year.

 Will you be taking the Plastic Free July challenge? Share your plastic-free solutions in the comments.

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