Plastic Free July – where it all began


July 17, 2017


Did you know that Plastic Free July originally began in 2011 with only 40 households in Perth?

Plastic Free July began as an initiative by the Earth Carers Waste Education team at the Western Metropolitan Regional Council in Western Australia. It started from a personal, life-transforming insight Plastic Free July co-founder Rebecca Prince-Ruiz had when she visited a Material Recovery Facility.

During the trip, Rebecca found the sheer volume of recyclable materials, along with the required sorting effort overwhelming. Her attitude towards recycling, as she recounts on the Two Hands Project blog, went from a feel-good moment to questioning, “why do I have this in the first place and how could I have avoided it?”

And so Plastic Free July was born. The initial action was simple – buying no plastic packaging. In the six years since, the pledge has grown from simply banning plastic packaging to encouraging the stop of all single use disposable plastics.

A key part of Plastic Free July is that there’s no real way to “fail”. It’s about raising awareness and making conscious decisions to avoid single-use plastic. Plastic Free July grew from 40 households in 2011 to 35,000 pledgers in 2015 and to over 1 million people from 130 countries in 2017. Its popularity and growth highlights the increasing awareness and realisation that we all have a part to play in making a sustainable future possible, beginning with simple decisions such as banning the bag, to making healthier food choices and increasing business sustainability rates.

Waste is one of the final frontiers of sustainability, and while Cleanaway is putting a plan in place to recover and reuse as much as possible, reducing the amount of waste produced should be a priority too. Plastic Free July challenges us to rethink our consumption patterns and the waste generated from that consumption.

It’s not too late to sign up for Plastic Free July and take the pledge. Don’t forget to share your journey with us on Twitter and Instagram with the hashtags #sustainablefuture and #plasticfreejuly.