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‘Be part of the change’: Plastic Free July urges people to refuse to choose single-use plastics

Representative image of plastic pollution in oceans and waterways (photo Pixabay); Rebecca Prince-Ruiz is the founder of the Plastic Free July. Source: Supplied

Plastic Free July initiative is once again calling on Australians and people across the globe to help reduce the amount of plastic on our planet. This global campaign which is now in its 10th year urges people to reduce single-use plastic throughout the month.

The campaign which was founded by Rebecca Prince-Ruiz in 2011 claims that it has empowered more than 250 million people across 177 countries for 'doing their bit' and choosing to refuse single-use plastic since its launch.  

“Last year alone, the initiative helped save 825 million kilograms of waste. This year, the goal is bigger than ever, with a mission to reduce 1billion kilos of plastic waste - which means we need more participants than ever,” said Ms Prince-Ruiz in an interview with SBS Punjabi.    


Highlights:  

  • Plastic Free July campaign raises awareness about the damaging effects of using plastic  
  • An Indian restaurant in Victoria got a special mention for its contribution towards Plastic Free July 
  • People have been using lots of plastic packaging during the coronavirus pandemic  

To acknowledge the efforts of the people who have made a difference in their homes, businesses and communities, she has co-authored a book with Joanna Atherfold Finn called ‘Plastic Free: The Inspiring Story of a Global Environmental Movement and Why It Matters'.   

This book also shares the inspiring story, which was covered by SBS Punjabi last year, of an Indian restaurant in Seymour, Victoria which has set an example to use stainless steel tiffins instead of single-use disposable boxes.  

Amritpal Singh Atwal had introduced stainless steel food boxes for delivering food to the customers, instead of single-use plastic containers.
Amritpal Singh Atwal had introduced stainless steel food boxes for delivering food to the customers, instead of single-use plastic containers.
Supplied
   “We would like to see more businesses take responsibility and make more rational choices. The business should see this as a great PR exercise and should proactively market these sustainability solutions to the consumers,” said Ms Prince-Ruiz. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the single-use plastic items have seen increased demand, especially in the takeaway businesses.   

“There is a heightened sense of urgency to reinstate the positive progress made in reducing plastic waste and pollution," she said.  

“By starting with your daily coffee that you can smell, without the lid, you can be safe in the knowledge that together we can make a real difference and be part of the change, we want to see.” 

Given the current global burden of plastics, can we conceive the idea of having a world without plastics?
Given the current global burden of plastics, can we conceive the idea of having a world without plastics?
Pixabay
Most of the plastic waste ends up in the oceans causing immense damage to marine life. Our local waste management system is already under stress and is struggling to accommodate more.

“We are only able to recycle 9 per cent of the total plastic and the rest of it ends up in our oceans and landfills,” she added.

Click the link if you want to take part in Plastic Free July initiative. The organisers say that it doesn’t require drastic lifestyle changes and can be as simple as avoiding plastic when buying your groceries or using reusable food containers, straws, and coffee cups.

Click on the player at the top of the page to listen to the interview with Ms Prince-Ruiz.

People in Australia must stay at least 1.5 metres away from others. Check your state’s restrictions on gathering limits. 

If you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, stay home and arrange a test by calling your doctor or contact the Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080. 

News and information is available in 63 languages at sbs.com.au/coronavirus 

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