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Seventh edition of Plastic Free July

Amsterdam/Australia, 1 July 2018 A small and local initiative to live without plastic during the month of July has developed into a worldwide movement with 2 million people in 159 countries. The number of participants has doubled every year. And 90% of the participants continue to less use plastic. Organisations and companies can also participate in Plastic Free July. At the moment, 2000 companies are already participating. Plastic Free July is a big success and the inspiration for the May Plastic Free initiative in Belgium.

Plastic Free July is an independent not-for-profit foundation, whose vision is a world without plastic waste. It is a global grassroots movement that aims for the dramatic reduction of plastic use and to improve the recycling of the plastics that are still used.

Everybody can get involved in the challenge; just go to the site of Plastic Free July. A toolbox, with ideas and examples to reduce your plastic use, is also available on this website. Because reducing your plastic consumption is much easier than you think.

 

Photo credit - Cassar Photography

Life without Plastic: Small steps can make a big difference!

Photo credit - Cassar Photography

After reading the facts about the tons of plastic polluting our oceans and the consequences for the environment, animals and our own health, you might think:  “Can one person really make a difference on such a big issue?”

The woman who does and is a true inspiration is the Australian Rebecca Prince-Ruiz. The day I meet her she is visiting the Plastic Soup Foundation. The visit is part of the Winston Churchill Fellowship, an award she won. It allows her to investigate initiatives around the world, which take action against the plastic problem. Rebecca is on a big journey, which started small in the year 2011.

The beginning of the journey

In 2011 she visited a recycling facility and discovered that recycling is a very complex process and most of the plastic (if it is even recycled), is recycled only once. As soon as she returned home she started thinking about her own products: “How did I get this in the first place? How could I have done something else?”

She decided it was time to make a change. The next day she went to work and told her colleagues: “For the whole month of July I won’t use any single-use plastics!” More than 40 of her colleagues and volunteers decided to join in and the first Plastic Free July was born. Since that day it has grown exponentially. In 2015 over 36.000 people from 85 different countries joined the challenge and this year it is expected to be even bigger.

Life after July

After that first July Rebecca’s life changed. At first she found it very difficult. “There is so much plastic in your life. Step by step I changed my way of living. You have to think ahead!” She grabs her bag and pulls all sorts of items out: bags for fruits, bread and muesli, a bottle for water and waxed cloth (to use instead of plastic wrap). “I used to go to the supermarket, but now I go to the fresh market. For fish and meat I bring my own box and milk we get in glass bottles. I’m used to it now, but with children it can be a compromise.” She smiles. “My daughter only likes yoghurt from the supermarket. You have to pick your battles wisely!”

Small steps

For those starting with Plastic Free July, she has some advice: “In the beginning you can be discouraged easily. I wouldn’t start with everything at the same time. Have a look at the plastics in your life. You could start with going through your garbage and change one or two things. Small steps can make a big difference!


This blog was posted earlier on In the fresh air, a blog by Marielle Nelissen. If you want to read more from Marielle, click here.