Here’s a sobering fact: in the first 10 years of this century, more plastic was produced than the entire last century.
And apart from the small amount of plastic which has been incinerated, every piece of plastic which was ever produced still exists on earth somewhere.
This unsustainable and alarming trend has led to some necessary introspection – what are we, as individuals, putting into the plastic waste stream? What is our negative contribution to the environment? It can be hard to measure when we, as consumers, are conditioned to accept a single-use plastic bag for all our purchases, expect our retail items surrounded by plastic packaging, and single-use water, juice, and soda bottles line the walls of every convenience store in America.
This is why a group of concerned folks at the Western Metropolitan Regional Council (WMRC) in Perth, Western Australia started the Plastic Free July Challenge locally 2011. By last year’s challenge, participation had grown to 14,000 individuals, schools, businesses and organizations from 69 countries.
What, exactly, is the Plastic Free July Challenge? The website explains:
The challenge is quite simple. Attempt to refuse single-use plastic during July. “Single-use” includes plastic shopping bags, plastic cups, straws, plastic packaging…basically anything that’s intended only to be used once and then discarded. If refusing ALL single-use plastic sounds too daunting this time, try the TOP 4 challenge (plastic bags, bottles takeaway coffee cups & straws).
- Attempt to refuse single-use plastic during July.
- Remember it’s not going to be easy! It is a challenge, not a competition so don’t worry about being perfect.
- Collect any unavoidable single-use plastic you buy. Keep in a dilemma bag and share it with us at the end of the challenge.
- It’s up to you regarding how long you participate. You might decide to go plastic-free for a day, a week, a month or longer! However long you choose will still make a contribution.
Our Social Media Manager, KT Toomey, is going to try the challenge. Check up on her progress, and her bag of shame, on our Facebook page this month!