If you’ve been thinking about reducing the amount of single-use plastic in your life, July is the perfect month to start doing it.

The Plastic Free July challenge offers tips and advice to help you reduce single-use plastic waste in your everyday life.

Global statistics about pollution

According to the United Nations:

  • In 2021, over 139 million tonnes of single-use plastic was used worldwide. That's an extra 6 million tonnes from 2019, or an extra kilogram of plastic per person used.
  • Of the 7 billion tonnes of plastic waste generated globally since the 1950s, less than 10% has been recycled.
  • We produce about 400 million tonnes of plastic waste every year.
  • It is estimated that by 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish by weight.

Plastic Free July facts

According to Plastic Free July’s Impact Report 2022:

  • An estimated 140 million globally people took part in Plastic Free July in 2022.
  • Participants reduced their waste and recycling by 18 kg per person per year.
  • Overall, participants reduced their waste by 2.6 million tonnes – the equivalent of 13,000 blue whales.
  • Eighty-eight per cent of participants have made at least one lasting change since finishing the challenge.

Sign up for Plastic Free July

How to make a change

You don’t have to go completely plastic-free all at once. You can reduce your single-use plastics for a day, a week, a month or longer. It can be as easy as picking one single-use plastic item to avoid or swap for a reusable alternative.

At home

  • Use bar soaps, bamboo toothbrushes and razors with replaceable blades.
  • Choose wooden or steel laundry pegs.
  • Buy laundry powder packaged in cardboard.
  • When it’s time to replace cleaning brushes and cloths, consider switching from synthetic to natural fibres.
  • Use white vinegar or water and bicarbonate soda paste as an all-purpose cleaner. Adding a few drops of essential oil or a squeeze of lemon juice can help make it smell great too.

At the shops

  • Use small, reusable bags to put your fruit and vegetables in at the supermarket rather than plastic bags. Clean laundry bags work well.
  • Use a re-usable cup for your takeaway coffee.
  • When buying takeaway food, offer your reusable container and cutlery.

In the workplace

  • Require suppliers to avoid wrapping goods in plastic wrap.
  • Use cups and cutlery at work events that can be washed in the dishwasher.
  • Do an inventory of all the single-use plastic items found in your workplace’s kitchen and identify plastic-free replacements.