Plastic is a useful and valuable material, but the global ‘disposable culture’ of using once and disposing of plastic is contributing to an environmental crisis.
Contemplate this: Virtually every piece of plastic ever manufactured still exists in some form today and plastic production has been projected to increase by 40% increase in the next decade.
The Plastic Free July movement aligns with and helps organisations implement the UN Sustainable Development goals and aims to empower a social change to cut the demand for single-use plastics. Reducing waste and recycling is significantly more energy efficient than piling up landfill or trying to extract plastic waste from our oceans, streets or surrounding environment.
To officially launch the 2019 Plastic Free July challenge, the Plastic Free Foundation has released new Ipsos data revealing over 120 million people took part in Plastic Free July in 2018, with many committing to plastic reduction far beyond the month of July.
For the first time, global data shows the real, collective impact to the plastic waste crisis when people make personal decisions to reduce their plastic footprint together.
Last year nearly 500 (490) million kilograms of plastic waste was avoided as challenge participants cut their use of disposable plastics by 5.6%. Furthermore participants reduced their household waste by nearly 10% (7.5%) – significantly avoiding landfill waste and lowering the risk of plastic polluting the environment.
Rebecca Prince-Ruiz, founder of Plastic Free July challenge and one of the world’s leading plastic waste experts praised challenge participants: ‘The growing movement of people refusing single-use plastic sends a signal to business and government that expectations are changing. Every person has the power to influence their environment and Plastic Free July has been critical in empowering people to connect their purchase choices to the plastic pollution problem – in other words “turning off the tap”‘.
The challenge has grown from a humble office initiative to one of the world’s most popular environmental movements with participants in 177 countries. It empowers people to choose to refuse single-use plastics in their lives and has been adopted by businesses and organisations who want to move away from the concept of ‘take, make and throw away’, towards a circular economy that promotes recycling and the re-use of materials.
‘One change can go a long way. The Plastic Free July challenge has encouraged millions of people to take small, daily actions and create long-lasting habits that minimise single-use plastic. In doing so, we can stem the flow of plastic waste into the oceans by taking positive actions upstream on land and in our homes,’said Rebecca Prince-Ruiz.
The 2019 theme of Plastic Free July is Your Challenge, Your Way. To be part of the Plastic Free July movement and learn more, visit www.plasticfreejuly.org.