Plastic-free July is an internationally recognised initiative from the Plastic Free Foundation. The aim is to work towards a world free of plastic waste. It was started by Rebecca Prince-Ruiz in Western Australia back in 2011. Plastic-free July has become one of the most influential environmental campaigns in the world. Millions of people take part every year, with many committing to reducing plastic pollution after the month-long challenge ends. If you’re a Jack Johnson fan, he’s one of the initiative’s most famous ambassadors!
I discovered Plastic-free July two years ago when I was in my first year of committing to a more sustainable lifestyle. I loved the idea of challenging myself to be strict with plastic waste for a month and then carrying on as many of the habits as I could into August and beyond. The most exciting part is how alive the online plastic-free community becomes throughout Plastic-free July. It’s a great time to connect with like-minded people. Especially if you don’t have that many die-hard environmentalists in your real life, like me.
This year’s Plastic-free July is going to look a little different for me though. And it might for you too, eco friend. So this episode is going to be about how I’m adapting after moving countries recently and dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. Let’s get into it.
Difficulties faced by COVID
I had planned to spend this Plastic-free July with like-minded anti-plastic people. Especially after being in lockdown for most of last year’s July. I was envisioning a few beach clean-ups and other plastic-free IRL events. However, those plans were short-lived as we’ve just entered a 2+ week lockdown here in Sydney due to rising COVID cases.
This means my local bulk stores are facing greater restrictions. Cafes, restaurants and supermarkets are unable to take any of the containers or cups I would usually bring with me for takeaway or groceries.
While my default would be just to abstain from getting any takeaway food or coffees during this time, I’m also aware of how much these local independent businesses are struggling and need support. For this reason, I’m allowing myself a little bit of leniency for takeaway containers and coffee cups if it means support for local businesses.
Here’s hoping cases will continue to drop and I’ll be able to use my reusables again soon!
Investing in reusables
Speaking of reusable cups, this will be another focus for me during this Plastic-free July. Investing in reusables that is. After moving back from the UK, I’m missing a few key reusable items that I need to restock including a water bottle that I actually like, a glass reusable coffee cup and silicone bags.
I’m keeping an eye out at my local charity shop to see if there will be any second-hand options available. My next port of call is usually eBay. There’s always plenty of unopened second-hand options there where we can save a fortune and help the planet too. If not, I’ll be sure to buy from some ethical businesses that are committed to doing great things for our planet. I’d love some brand recommendations if you’ve got any!
Relaunching my plastic-free business in Australia
My main focus for Plastic-free July 2021 is the relaunch of my plastic-free business CONCENTR8ED. Moving back to Australia from the UK also meant having to leave that business behind. It was immensely difficult having to leave my business baby. I also tried to look into options for running the business remotely from Australia but it was a little too small for that.
Instead of closing it down, I’m relaunching a similar concept in Australia. Initially, I’ll be focusing on plastic-free, palm oil-free and toxin-free cleaning products. The plan is also to reopen again in the UK and hopefully the US within a year. So if you’re one of the amazing CONCENTR8ED Club members outside of Australia, please know your patience is deeply valued and we will be back!
CONCENTR8ED Plastic-free July Challenge
To celebrate the CONCENTR8ED relaunch, I’m hosting a month-long Plastic-free July challenge on our Instagram. Each day will have an easy and achievable action step to help you build plastic-free habits. And this isn’t a beginner’s challenge either! There are definitely a few challenging steps in there for zero wasters wanting to take it to the next level.
Eco Action Step
Your eco action step for this Plastic-free July is to come on over to the CONCENTR8ED Instagram page and join the challenge. I’ve linked the page below and I can’t wait to see you there, eco friend!