Why Plastic Free July is More Than a Hashtag
Updated: Aug 20
July may be nearly over, but that doesn’t mean we need to restart our single-use plastic intake.
Plastic Free July is a campaign and hashtag you may have seen on your social media feed in the past few weeks. Spearheaded by the Plastic Free Foundation, the challenge asks consumers to make pledges that will reduce their plastic use: switching to reusable water bottles, grocery bags, containers, etc.
The initiative founded in 2011 may be directed towards a particular month, but it’s intended to be the jumping off point for a more sustainable lifestyle.
One million plastic water bottles are consumed per minute globally, according to The Guardian. 90 percent of them aren’t recycled.
That number puts things in perspective, showcasing how important it is to eliminate plastic waste for the well-being of the planet and those who inhabit it.
It seems daunting and it should. But Plastic Free July has sought to make that switch easier for people to navigate.
The initial step is making the pledge via their website. You write down where you’ll be practicing it (home, work), what you want to accomplish and for how long (a month, indefinitely).
Changing your lifestyle isn’t easy.
Expect trial and error, but there are many examples available to help you cut your plastic consumption on the site from a personal introductory level, to a corporate level when engaging with businesses and organizations.
The great thing about the initiative is that it’s community based. Over 250 participants have taken part in the challenge and are showcasing their efforts on social media for the world to see.
It’s important for people to read about these stories where communities are making the shift when the facts can be so overwhelming and generate a sense of defeat.
The situation makes me think of a quote from Lynne Cherry, Director of Young Voices for the Planet, who empowers young people to use their voice and their stories in the fight against climate change.
She was talking about how important it is to shine a light on the good things that are happening on a virtual lunch hour we did back with her in June.
“So we have to consider the psychological effects of this dire news, especially climate change, and teach about the science, but about the success stories [too]”.
The numbers are one thing and are important to keep in mind, but they shouldn’t distract from how much you’re helping your community, and planet, by doing something as simple as bringing that reusable cup on your morning Starbucks run.