Take part in this initiative by having an eco-friendly day, week, or month.

By Kelly Vaughan
July 06, 2020
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Over the past few years, many states in the U.S. and countries across the world have banned plastic straws, plastic bags, and other single-use plastic items that are harmful to the environment. While the coronavirus pandemic likely increased your usage of single-use plastics, you can get back on track this month by following a new eco-friendly initiative from the Australia-based Plastic-Free Foundation. The mission of the foundation, which was started in 2011, is to build a global movement that dramatically reduces plastic use and improves recycling. Since its founding in Western Australia, the movement has expanded to more than 170 countries around the world.

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"Plastic Free July is a global movement that helps millions of people be part of the solution to plastic pollution—so we can have cleaner streets, oceans, and beautiful communities," the organizers say on their website. The month-long initiative, which aims to rid the world of plastic waste, is entering its ninth year.

According to Earth Day, humans buy about 1,000,000 plastic bottles per minute; however, only about 23 percent of plastic bottles are recycled within the U.S. alone. Oftentimes, single-use plastics never make it to a landfill or are recycled. "32 percent of the 78 million tons of plastic packaging produced annually is left to flow into our oceans," says Earth Day's website. This is the equivalent of pouring one garbage truck of plastic into the ocean every minute, and yet the number is expected to increase to two garbage trucks per minute by 2030 and four per minute by 2050. This means there will be more plastic than fish in the world's oceans by 2050 unless we take control now.

Where can you make sustainable changes in your day-to-day life to support the movement? The Plastic Free Foundation suggests looking for alternatives to the plastic produce bags offered at grocery stores for fruits and vegetables; avoiding pre-packaged food particularly from the bakery, fish, and meat department; and bringing a reusable coffee cup to cafés. Other ideas include choosing alternatives to plastic bottles of milk and juice, sourcing laundry detergent from bulk barrels, choosing bar soap in place of liquids in plastic containers, and using reusable water bottles.

Learn more about how you can get involved here and share your progress on social media.

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