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Plastic free July is a global movement that helps millions of people be part of the solution to plastic pollution.

'An understanding of the natural world and what's in it is a source of not only a great curiosity but great fulfilment' - Sir David Attenborough

Plastic Free July began in 2011 in an attempt to raise awareness on the growing plastic pollution problem. The movement has grown exponentially in the last 10 years with around 326 million people joining in last year!

The zero-waste movement goes on every day, but if there's any time to get started, it's now. For the entire month of July, people all over the world will take part in Plastic Free July, a global challenge to reduce personal consumption of single-use plastic. The prospect of not using any plastic for an entire month may sound impossible, and unfortunately, it pretty much is. But that's not meant to be discouraging. It's meant to show that Plastic Free July isn't about perfection (and neither is the zero-waste movement), so don't let the fear of not being perfect hold you back from trying. Instead, it's all about reducing plastic in a way that works for your lifestyle, while still challenging yourself, of course.

By now we all are aware of the plastic problem. Plastic stays on Earth without biodegrading, it clogs up animal’s stomachs and pollutes our waterways and motorways. If we don’t change our ways, by 2050 there could be more plastic, by weight, than fish in the sea. And similarly as concerning, less than 10 per cent of all plastic ever produced has been recycled; this has got to stop.

Awareness is growing, and the movement has now gained traction from large corporations. Supermarkets in the UK have pledged to go plastic-free by the end of 2023, with some, including Waitrose, also committed to making sure all own-label packaging is widely recycled, reusable or home compostable by this date. This is a huge step from these large businesses and we can only hope others follow suit.

What can you do to help?

It all starts with a thought, which leads to action, which makes change. Sometimes our busy, hectic lives can take over, and as we always have done we reach for the more 'convenient' things. If we take the time to stop and plan a little better, live a little more consciously our oceans, animals and earth would thank us for it.

Heres a few really easy swaps you can make -

  • Most take away coffee cups are lined with plastic, find a reusable alternative and carry it around in your bag.

  • Refuse single use tampons and pads, there are so many amazing alternatives from menstrual cups to reusable pads, period underwear and more.

  • Go plastic free with your dental care, try a bamboo toothbrush and plastic free toothpaste.

  • Ditch plastic party decorations like balloons and banners. Popular decorations that can be reused time and time again, include bunting, tassels, tissue pom poms, lanterns, fresh flowers, and more.

  • Choose to refuse groceries that use single-use plastic packaging. Instead find your local bulk store and stock up there, don't have one nearby try and pick choices with no/less plastic.

  • Switch out single use bathroom products, there are so many options from shampoo bars to eco friendly razors.

  • Before you buy, stop and think about the low or no waste waste options. It all starts with a thought.

Where to start

Don't worry if you feel overwhelmed on where to start, what change to make first. The best piece of advice we can give you is to just start.

Social media has been given a bad reputation over the last few years but we think it can be a great tool for finding things like you local eco friendly shops and bulk food stores. If you aren't on social media just do a little google search and find out whats in your area. There are also many online plastic free shops too that stock things from reusable water bottles to plastic free bbq's and stationery.

Share useful information on social media and engage with eco friendly brands to help spread their message. Plastic Free July's website encourages participants to spend some time in July on reducing plastic in their communities, whether that's at your place of work, your school, your neighbourhood, your gym, your apartment building, or anywhere else you frequent. Because while committing to drinking your morning coffee from a reusable mug every morning is great, getting your office's kitchen filled with mugs so that all of your coworkers can drink from reusable coffee cups is even better.

You could get involved in a beach/park clean up, or even better organise one yourself! Step outside your comfort zone this month by talking about Plastic Free July with your friends, family, coworkers, barista, and that stranger in the grocery store who's staring at your reusable produce bags with a confused face. Keep a positive attitude, and tell people in your life how excited you are to be reducing your contribution to plastic pollution this month.

Always remember one person can make a difference, all you have to do, is start.

Will you take the challenge this Plastic Free July? #plasticfreejuly


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