Plastic Free July: How to take the plastic free challenge

Single use plastic has become public enemy number one but it's not easy to give it up every day, day in, day out. 

Plastic Free July, the annual challenge to say no to single use, is a concentrated effort to give up single use plastic for the month, with the support of the Marine Conservation Society.

Georgina Wilson-Powell 18 June 2018

In July 2016, over 1,000 people pledged to give up single use plastic for July; there were over 5,000 last year. 

The Marine Conservation Society is hoping that that figure gets a lot bigger this year, post Blue Planet, post local bans on plastic straws and more awareness of how much damage single use plastic is doing, to our oceans, our wildlife and our own health.

The month long plastic free challenge started in Australia back in 2011. Plastic Free July started locally but now stretches to millions of participants in over 200 countries.

So what do you have to do for Plastic Free July?

Simple. Give up using single use plastic - as in plastic you use once and throw away, for the whole of July. That means thinking about not just your takeaway lunch, coffee cups and straws but also food from the supermarket, toiletries in your bathroom and so on.

“This is a challenge that you can make as easy or as hard for yourself as you like” said Dr. Sue Kinsey, MCS Technical Specialist. “But however you choose to do it you won’t fail to realise just how reliant on plastic we’ve become. Some things are really tough to replace however much you want to give up single-use plastic”.

You'll find lots of information on pebble to help get you started, such as how to put together a simple plastic free, zero waste kit here and how to ditch the disposable plastic from your bathroom here.

We also have a guide to the UK's zero waste, plastic free shops here.

MCS has also written a book on living life without plastic: How To Live Plastic Free – a day in the life of a plastic detox(Headline UK).

The book takes you through an average day, giving tips and practical advice on how to remove unnecessary plastic at every opportunity. From getting up to going to bed, you can find out about plastic-free cosmetics, mealtimes, shopping, workplaces, pets, sporting and special events.             

These fashion brands turn plastic bottles into posh fashion

Can you give up single use plastic for Plastic Free July?

Simon Reeve, TV presenter and MCS Ocean Ambassador, said: “Our planet is becoming poisoned by plastic. The vast amount in our oceans has become an environmental emergency as a direct result of our throwaway society. That’s why I’m supporting thousands of people living without single-use plastic this July as part of the Marine Conservation Society’s Plastic Challenge. Don’t just get depressed about plastic - stop using it!”

And he's not the only one.

Our editor, Georgina Wilson-Powell, will be sharing her first week of living plastic free in July on Instagram every day from 1 July. You can follow us here and we will be writing about the experience to showcase the different challenges that living without using single use plastic brings.

We are also making Fridays, Plastic Free Fridays, to share tips and tricks in our Facebook community, the pebble pod, starting this Friday 22 June. Join through the banner below.

Sign up to take part in the Plastic Challenge here.

Meet other people who are living a more plastic free life - in the pebble pod

Georgina Wilson-Powell 18 June 2018

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