New data from the Plastic Free Foundation reveals that individual actions to reduce plastic waste can make a real impact. Of the 120 million who took part in last year’s Plastic Free July Challenge, 90 percent made long-term changes in their daily habits to commit to reduce plastic use in their lifestyles. Almost 500 million kilograms of plastic waste was avoided as a result of the challenge, which significantly reduced landfill waste and plastic pollution. Global data from this new Ipsos survey indicates that collectively, our everyday personal decisions do matter.
From a small office initiative in Western Australia to growing to becoming one of the world’s leading environmental movements, the Plastic Free July, challenge empowers millions of people to #ChooseToRefuse the use of single-use disposables every year. It has also been adopted by businesses and organisations who are moving towards an eco-friendly circular economy philosophy that promotes recycling, reusing and reducing.
Together, if we all make small changes to our daily habits, we can help to solve Hong Kong’s mounting waste problem. While landfill waste is not an exclusive issue, Hong Kong alone produces a whopping 10,733 tonnes of rubbish a day – and 20% of it comes from plastic, according to the Environmental Protection Department. The number of plastic bottles thrown away daily stands at an astonishing 5.2 million. After being washed into the Shing Mun River, it is estimated that over 17 million pieces of plastic pollute Hong Kong’s surrounding seas.
“While it’s heartening to see the wide adoption of the plastic bag levy and the ban of plastic straws in some businesses, more needs to be done…This is why we’re calling on people living in Hong Kong to take up the Plastic Free July Challenge this year,” said the movement’s founder Rebecca Prince-Ruiz.
This year, the movement’s theme is “Your Challenge, Your Way” and the organisation has provided some easy-to-follow guidelines on some steps we can take. These include refusing plastic straws, bringing a reusable cup and boxes for takeaways, using a shopping bag and bulk buying food staples with your own containers. While these little changes might seem small, the data shows that they are by no means insignificant.
Each and every one of us have the power to tackle plastic pollution and keep our oceans, streets and communities clean. To make an impact, let’s all pledge to take the challenge to go plastic free this July!
Get Started on the Plastic Free July Challenge With These Easy Steps:
Fruit & vegetables
Find plastic-free alternatives when buying fruit & veggies.
At the bakery
Plan ahead & avoid pre-packed bread, rolls & baked goods.
Takeaway coffee cups
Bring a reusable coffee cup or dine-in at your local café.
Refuse plastic straws when buying a drink & BYO reusable alternative!
Plastic shopping bags
Bring your own reusable shopping bags and help reduce plastic waste.
Plastic water bottles
BYO reusable water bottle instead of buying plastic ones.
Meat, fish & deli
Avoid the plastic trays used for meat, fish and deli items.
Images courtesy of Plastic Free Planet UK (lead) and Plastic Free Foundation, illustrations courtesy of Plastic Free July.