The Plastic Free Foundation started its Plastic Free July campaign in 2011 as a global initiative encouraging individuals to refuse single-use plastics wherever possible for the month of July, and even beyond.
“It’s important to participate in Plastic Free July, as so many plastics are manufactured to be single-use and disposable which is a product design flaw for multiple reasons when striving toward sustainability and Zero Waste,” explains Zero Waste Sonoma’s Executive Director, Leslie Lukacs.
Rebecca Prince-Ruiz, the founder of the Plastic Free Foundation, along with her small local government team in Western Australia, started Plastic Free July with the vision of a planet free of plastic waste. The initiative has gained momentum over the past ten years and is considered one of the most influential environmental campaigns in the world.
The first way for participants to engage in the movement is to join the 326 million others from 177 countries, and pledge to take the challenge. According to a 2020 IPSOS survey, Plastic Free July participants:
• Reduce their household waste and recycling by 46 pounds per person per year (almost 5 percent)
• Contribute to a total saving over 2 trillion pounds of plastic waste each year
• 8.5 out of 10 people made changes that have become habits/a way of life
Another way for individuals to contribute to Plastic Free July is to plan a litter cleanup where plastic film, plastic food packaging, and expanded polystyrene foam make up three of the top five most littered items in the U.S. (along with cigarette butts and broken glass). Participants are encouraged to document their beach, river, or neighborhood cleanup using the Clean Swell smartphone app, or by taking a photo holding their bag of litter. Those who do so are eligible to receive a prize at the “Story of Plastic” film screening on July 30.
The third way to engage this month is to attend the “Bye Bye Plastic” webinar from 12 to 1 p.m. on July 19 where several local experts will share their own endeavors in the zero-waste space. They will also provide tips on how to phase out plastic from daily life, and help answer questions from the public.
Finally, Plastic Free July will conclude with a 7 p.m. event at the SOMO Village Courtyard in Rohnert Park. Sonoma County businesses and organizations actively supporting zero waste will be tabling before the “Story of Plastic” film screening begins at 8:20 p.m. This event is free and open to the public, but guests should bring chairs or blankets to sit on and remember that outside food and beverages are not permitted.
Please visit PlasticFreeJuly.org to take the pledge and learn more.