What is Plastic-Free July and How Did it Begin?
Plastic-Free July is a movement that sees millions of people come together across the globe to reduce their plastic waste and become part of the solution to plastic pollution.
The first Plastic Free July was held in 2011, started by Rebecca Prince-Ruiz and a few people from the local Western Australian Government. It has since become part of the Plastic Free Foundation Ltd, founded by Rebecca Prince-Ruiz, in 2017.
Since the first Plastic Free July in 2011, it has turned into a global campaign, with millions of participants across various countries.
The Importance of Plastic-Free July UK
Plastic-Free July has emerged as a global initiative to address the detrimental effects of plastic pollution on our environment. It is a month-long challenge that encourages individuals, communities, and businesses to reduce their reliance on single-use plastics.
In our modern society, it’s next to impossible to live a totally plastic-free lifestyle. But this movement is not about perfection, it’s about making progress. Even if you can make only one single-use swap to a reusable alternative during the month, it’s a win for the planet.
By participating in Plastic-Free July, you can actively contribute to the preservation of our planet's ecosystems and promote sustainable alternatives. Contrary to popular belief, our individual choices have power.
Understanding Plastic Pollution
Plastic pollution has become a pressing issue worldwide, with devastating consequences for marine life, terrestrial ecosystems, and human health.
In the UK alone, it is estimated that households throw away a staggering 100 billion pieces of plastic packaging a year, averaging 66 items per household per week. And only about 9% of this is recycled.
Furthermore, plastic waste typically takes hundreds of years to decompose, persisting in our environment and causing long-term damage.
How to Get Involved in Plastic-Free July
Reduce Single-Use Plastics
Start by identifying and eliminating single-use plastic items from your daily routine. Replace disposable plastic water bottles with reusable ones, opt for cloth bags instead of plastic ones, and use refillable containers for food storage.
Choose Sustainable Alternatives
Embrace sustainable alternatives to commonly used plastic products. Consider using bamboo toothbrushes, stainless steel straws, and glass containers for storing food. Switch to plastic-free refillable cleaning products with Spruce. By making these small switches, you can significantly reduce your plastic footprint.
Support Local Farmers' Markets and Refill Stores
Frequenting local farmers' markets not only supports your community but also helps reduce plastic waste. By purchasing fresh produce directly from farmers, you can avoid excessive packaging commonly found in supermarkets. Alternatively, visit your local refill store with your own containers and fill till your heart's content.
Where You Cannot Refill, Recycle
Refilling and reusing is best wherever possible. But it’s also important to ensure you understand your local recycling guidelines and sort your waste accordingly. This helps maximize the efficiency of recycling processes and reduces the amount of plastic that ends up in landfills or the environment.
Educate your family, friends, and colleagues about the importance of a plastic-free lifestyle. Share tips and resources on social media, organize community events, or participate in local environmental initiatives. By spreading awareness, you inspire others to join the cause.
The Positive Impact of Plastic-Free Living
Adopting a low-plastic lifestyle yields numerous benefits, both for the environment and your personal well-being. By reducing plastic waste, you actively contribute to the conservation of natural resources, protect wildlife, and mitigate climate change. Embracing sustainable alternatives, in turn, often leads to healthier choices for you and your family, such as consuming fresh, locally sourced food and using non-toxic products.
The brilliant thing about Plastic Free July is that it reminds us how individual action can become collective action, and how that can create real and measurable change. At Spruce, we always say that what the world needs is for everyone to make small changes, far more than it needs a select few to be doing things “perfectly”.
If you are able to take part, it can be worthwhile encouraging your friends, family and neighbours to join you. You can help motivate each other and share newly found tips and swaps.
Together we can help create a world free from plastic waste. Start your journey towards a sustainable lifestyle today by signing up to our newsletter for more tips and tricks to live a low-waste lifestyle!