If the idea of implementing waste-reduction strategies in your household has been ticking along in the back of your mind for a while now, or you love a themed monthly challenge such as No Meat May or growing facial hair in November – then Plastic Free July is for you!
Plastic Free July is designed to help people refuse single-use plastic and improve recycling practices. The challenge continues to drive positive change through simple solutions that help communities live more sustainably for example using reusable cups, water bottles and plastic bags, and refusing to buy produce wrapped in plastic.
On a larger scale, Plastic Free July challenge aims to kick-start long-lasting solutions and influence business and governments to take action to:
• Improve recycling: Follow local recycling guides and put items in the right bin. Petition governments to require businesses to use recycled plastic in their products and packaging.
• Embrace a circular economy: Encourage businesses and organisations to move away from the concept of ‘take, make and throw away’, towards a circular economy that promotes recycling and the reuse of materials.
• Extended producer responsibility (EPR): Push businesses to own the product management lifecycle. This involves producers considering the end-of-life of the products they sell and making it easy for customers to dispose of products thoughtfully. Container deposit schemes are a good example of this – they reduce beverage container litter by an average of 40% and increase recycling too.
So, where to start? The website www.plasticfreejuly.org has a pesky plastics quiz that can help you identify how plastic sneaks into your home and then it is as simple as committing to not using one source of single-use plastic for the month of July. Still buy bottled water? Challenge yourself to bring your own refillable bottle when you go out. It’s easier to focus and succeed at making one change at a time and by the end of the 31 days it will have become a habit! And don’t doubt the impact your small change can have – as Zero Waste Chef Anne Marie Bonneau has famously said, “We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.”
You can use the action picker chart to help you select what you want to tackle – download from the website or print out this copy we’ve included and pop it on your fridge to keep you on track.
You can officially register through the website to receive tips during the process and you can track your journey on social media by tagging @PlasticFreeJuly in your posts and using the hashtags #PlasticFreeJuly and #ChooseToRefuse.
My challenge for Plastic Free July, which is one I have been wanting to implement for some time but I just can’t seem to get organised enough to make it work, is to avoid buying meat packaged on plastic/foam trays. Time to start remembering to bring the glass containers I specifically bought for this task a while ago, being more consistent with meal planning so I know what and how much I need, and being more intentional about where I purchase my meat from, instead of just grabbing something pre-packaged from the big supermarkets because it’s more convenient.
If you are inspired to join in Plastic Free July I would love to follow along – you can tag the NVN @northernvalleysnews to your Facebook and Instagram posts or use the hashtag #northernvalleysnews or #nvwastewatcher.