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Plastic Free July

By Wendy Baker, Benalla Sustainable Futures Group

Plastic Free July is an international initiative developed by a Perth council to raise awareness of the amount of plastic in our lives. The challenge is to refuse single use plastic during July.

Some of you may think it is too difficult to stop using plastic. It is. Plastic is ubiquitous and it is made to last a very long time.  It is packaged around our food. Some would even say it has started to become a part of our food.  It is in our make-up and personal hygiene products. It is in our clothing.

However, if we put in a little thought and effort we all can reduce our usage of plastic. I have been concerned about the impact of plastics on the environment for years.  This concern was heightened on a recent trip to Sri Lanka where I was totally disheartened by the rubbish on the beaches, in the ocean and on the streets. Waste reduction is a global responsibility.

Some ideas to aid in this challenge would be to:

  • take your own shopping bag or pack your shopping in a box
  • either reuse or refuse produce bags
  • purchase products packaged in cardboard, paper or glass
  • avoid cling wrap – use a plate, clean shower cap or fabric covers over your leftovers/bowls
  • opt for refills and bulk purchases
  • ask for meat to be wrapped in paper or take your own container to the butchers
  • BYO coffee cup and support cafes that reduce the price of a takeaway coffee if you BYO
  • refuse plastic straws
  • say ‘NO’ to bottled water
  • line your rubbish bin with newspaper
  • pick up the plastic litter
  • ask yourself if you really need that new piece of clothing – consider clothes swaps with friends or an op shop purchase

Continue the challenge if travelling:

  • take your own reusable coffee cup and water bottle
  • purify the local tap water with tablets or a UV water purifier
  • take your own snacks, earphones, and reusable cutlery

Think- Reduce, Reuse, Refuse, Rethink, Repair.

If we are all a little wiser with our purchases and consumption habits, a cleaner and healthier environment will follow.

For more ideas and to accept the challenge go to www.plasticfreejuly.org

Choose to Refuse.