Plastic Free July – a month to be aware of

How did you fare in Plastic Free July?

We are becoming accustomed to months being dedicated to certain causes, such as November Movember (in aid of prostate cancer) and Stoptober October (to give up smoking). And this month of July is no exception, as the global challenge to reduce single-use plastic has been at the top of the sustainability agenda. The aptly named ‘Plastic Free July’ (which comes from an on-going initiative in Australia) gives us lots of information on how to reduce plastic waste during the month of July. It’s an issue which has hit the headlines this year – with more than eight million tonnes of plastic being dumped into our oceans every year. With Dorset set along one of Britain’s most beautiful coastlines, the county has a big job to do to help. Nationally, people are now getting behind the Facebook campaign to pick up three pieces of plastic every time they visit the coast.

Packaging accounts for just over 40% of total plastic usage. Also, over 100 billion plastic beverage bottles are sold in the U.S alone each year. Annually, approximately 500 billion plastic bags are used worldwide each with a “working life” of just 15 minutes. The hashtag – #choosetorefuse is dedicated to Plastic-free July’s aims, and has seen lots of people leaving their plastic waste at the supermarket for the managers of supermarkets to dispose of.

Litter Free Coast and Sea (Dorset and East Devon) has done some great work for the month and held their own Plastic Free Day (3rd July) where it set up a campaign for participants to have a Zero Waste Lunch. The idea? That individuals, teams and schools cut down on single-use plastic to find alternatives that are more sustainable.

Another initiative is Win on Waste® sessions, which are run in Canford Heath, Creekmoor, Kinson and Southbourne via Ideas to Action. Once a month, local residents save specific items from their waste (e.g. milk bottle tops) and donate them at a given venue. Approximately 70 people take part and more than half a dozen good causes benefit each month. The charity works with venues that use recycling waste for specific purposes. We Need That is a directory that includes over 35 charities, playgroups, faith groups and children’s centres all looking for items to use.

As well as more providing more film screenings of A Plastic Ocean, local outfit Creative Dynamo Ecotainment also took part in the pledge to reduce waste. On its Facebook page, it promoted the pledge through Story of Stuff’s webform to sign up to the Pledge. Bournemouth has also dedicated itself as a plastic-free zone, with a social movement to remove plastic from the town.

We hope that you were able to take part in Plastic Free July and if you are still looking for ways in which you can reduce your own plastic use, take a look at our tips here.