Ever since Western Australian Rebecca Prince Ruiz started Plastic-Free July with a small group of locals back in 2011, the movement has gone global over 2 million people in 159 different countries working to reduce their use of plastic products for an entire month, and, hopefully, learning new habits they can continue during the rest of the year.
I learned about Plastic-Free July in 2013 and in 2014 brought Plastic-Free July to the Ecology Center in Berkeley, where it has become a regular part of that organization’s annual programming. (See the Ecology Center’s schedule of Plastic-Free July 2018 events here.)
In 2016, Rebecca won a Churchill Fellowship to travel the world learning about solutions to the plastic pollution problem. I was thrilled to meet up with her in California and co-present a workshop on alternatives to plastic to an International group of kids at the POPS (Plastic Ocean Pollution Solutions) Summit that year.
And now this year, Rebecca has turned Plastic-Free July into a full-fledged non-profit organization (The Plastic-Free July Foundation) whose mission is not only to change individuals’ personal behavior but also to scale their impact by sharing solutions and being part of a wider movement for change.
What Will You Do?
- Register for the challenge. It’s not required in order to participate, but do it anyway! When you allow yourself to be counted as a participant in Plastic-Free July, you send a message to the world that the plastic-free movement is large and getting larger. To policymakers and those who decide what kinds of products and packaging will be offered to the public, numbers matter!
- Reduce your personal plastic consumption during the month of July. There are many resources available on the Plastic-Free July website. Or check out my list of 100 Steps to a Plastic-Free Life for help figuring out how to reduce the plastics you might currently be using.
- Join the #breakfreefromplastic movement. Story of Stuff Project notes in its Plastic-Free July action page, refusing single-use plastics is a great place to start but a terrible place to stop. “When individuals choose not to buy or use plastic, they remove plastic from their lives. But what we really need is to eliminate problematic plastic from the economy altogether.” The #Breakfreefromplastic campaign is all about changing the system in order to reduce the amount of plastic offered to consumers in the first place.
Ask Your Questions at the Plastic-Free Q&A!
This Friday, July 6, at 2pm UTC (7am PDT, 10am EDT for those of you in the United States), I’ll be moderating a Plastic-Free Q&A online webinar, hosted by the be Waste Wise collective. Joining me will be Rebecca Prince-Ruiz of Plastic-Free July and Stiv Wilson of The Story of Stuff. I’m hoping for a lively discussion with different points of view on what we need to do to solve the plastic pollution problem. Do you have questions? Register to participate live or watch the video after the fact. Follow @bewastewise on Twitter for more information.
If you have questions you’d like addressed during the Q&A, you can also leave them here in the comments. And please help spread the word about this world-wide event.
Happy Plastic-Free July!