A Challenge: Plastic Free July

A Challenge: Plastic Free July

Hanna Leach

If you’re looking for a fun summertime activity that encourages you to become more eco-friendly, this is the challenge for you!

Plastic Free July is a movement started by Rebecca Prince-Ruiz as a fun idea for friends that morphed into something much greater. Rebecca is now the Executive and Founder of the Plastic Free July Foundation, which over the years has encouraged participants to avoid using 10 billion kg of single-use items.

In 2023 alone, the foundation had 89 million participants over 190 countries! This influenced governments and organizations to take action against single-use plastics, some of which is seen with the LAX airport banning single-use plastic water bottles, New Zealand banning the distribution of single-use produce bags, plates, and cutlery, and the U.S. designating July as Plastic Pollution Action Month.

How do I join the challenge?

The point of Plastic Free July is to go one whole month refusing to purchase or use single-use plastics. This would mean no plastic coffee cups, no styrofoam to-go containers, no plastic grocery bags, etc. It’s a great activity for people who are interested in making their lives more eco-friendly, but don’t know where to start! This challenge can open up your eyes to the odd places plastic shows up in your life in areas that you wouldn’t have noticed before. 

Join the official movement by signing up here. You’ll be working to lessen plastic usage along with millions of others!

It’s also a great motivator for our “eco-veterans.” To those already living sustainable lifestyles, this is a fun way to see where else you can cut plastic from your routines. For myself, I may use the challenge to modify some areas of my life that I can’t realistically keep plastic-free. At the very least I can refuse that plastic for at least one month, even if I can’t keep it up the whole year.

What if I can’t avoid using some plastic?

No one can! That’s one of the points of the challenge - realizing how integrated single-use waste is in our lives and doing what we can to change it (while also encouraging governments to make lasting changes). Sometimes you’ll have to use plastic, and sometimes it’s actually more sustainable to do so. Take food packaged in plastic for example. Those single-use sealed plastic wraps can keep produce from going bad and prevent lots of food waste

What I’m trying to say is change what you can. Every small adjustment helps. The more we become aware of the waste we are putting into our landfills (which in York, are full), the more we’ll start supporting less wasteful alternatives.

One last thing - don’t go through your home and throw out your full tube of toothpaste or fifty zip lock bags just because they’re made of plastic. Extend the use of these items to keep them from the landfill as long as possible. I’ve been using the same package of zip lock baggies for five years! I rinse them out and dry them when I’m done, only tossing them when they tear. 

Where can I find non-plastic alternatives?

You’ve come to the right place! Refillism, “believes in consuming products that can be easily recycled, reused, refilled, or composted.” As a refill store, our customers have saved over 6,000 containers from the landfill by reusing and refilling bottles with our products rather than throwing their containers out.

We have an array of eco-friendly items ranging from cleaners to body washes to dental care and more. Check out our online store to start reducing your plastic usage today! If you already shop with us, please share in the comments below how Refillism has helped you reduce how often you use single-use plastics.


Plastic Free July. Plastic Free Foundation. https://www.plasticfreejuly.org/

About Us. Plastic Free Foundation. https://www.plasticfreejuly.org/about-us/

Impact Report 2023. Plastic Free Foundation. https://www.plasticfreejuly.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/11/PFJ1562-Impact-Report-2023-digital.pdf

Rebecca Prince-Ruiz. The University of Western Australia. https://bbis7046p.sky.blackbaud.com/profiles/rebecca-prince-ruiz

K, Juliana. New Zealand becomes first country to ban single-use plastics at grocery stores. NPR. https://www.npr.org/2023/07/03/1185758479/new-zealand-single-use-plastic-produce-bag-ban-grocery-stores

Plastic ban to remove 150 million produce bags each year. Ministry for the Environment. https://environment.govt.nz/news/plastic-ban-to-remove-150-million-produce-bags-each-year/

S, Greta. New fact sheet on plastic packaging and food waste. Food Packaging Forum. https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/new-factsheet-on-plastic-packaging-and-food-waste

L, Hanna. York’s Landfill is Full. Refillism. https://refillism.com/blogs/blog/yorks-landfill-is-full

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