The challenge is quite simple...attempt to refuse single-use plastic during July.
Plastic Free July aims to raise awareness of the amount of single-use disposable plastic in our lives and challenges people to do something about it. You can sign up for a day, a week or the whole month and try to refuse ALL single-use plastic or try the TOP 4: plastic bags, water bottles, takeaway coffee cups and straws.
"Think about it...why would you make something that you are going to use for a few minutes out of a material that's basically going to last forever. What's up with that?" - Jeb Berrier, BagIt movie.
Manly Council is supporting Plastic Free July with a number of initiatives including a free screening of “Bag It” at Balgowlah RSL on the evening of 1 July, information workshops and the distribution of re-usable vegetable bags.
For its part, Coles stores in the area will be training staff to encourage customers to reuse bags, by offering three enviro bags for $1, and providing in-store promotions encouraging customers to ‘Take the Challenge’. Four stores are participating including Manly Corso and Wentworth Street stores, Stocklands Balgowlah and Manly Vale.
A poster competition through local schools is also being arranged with Coles donating three park benches (made completely from recycled plastic) to the top three posters. Individual winners will also, of course, be rewarded.
You can participate in Plastic Free July by registering to ‘Take The Challenge’ at the official website: plasticfreejuly.org.
So What Happens to Our Plastic Bags?
50 million shopping bags end up in the environment in Australia each year ( *Clean up Australia)
A rare Rissos Dolphin and 240kg Leatherback Turtle recently died locally in NSW from Plastic bag ingestion ( *NPWS/ Taronga Wildlife Hospital)
Plastic breaks up - it becomes smaller and smaller pieces, but remains plastic. Marine life mistake these particles for food.
The average usage time of a plastic shopping bag is 7minutes
Australians use 3.92 billion plastic bags a year, that's over 10 million new bags being used every day. ( *Clean up Australia)
Australians dump 7,150 recyclable plastic bags into landfills every minute or 429,000 bags every hour. ( *Clean up Australia)
Candy Bingham, Manly Ward Councillor on Northern Beaches Council. Background in marketing, public relations and community engagement. Author of five business books. Former Lady Mayoress of Sydney. Aka Candy Tymson.