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How One Woman’s Impulse Decision to Say No to Plastic Sparked a Global Eco Movement

Monday, November 20, 2017 | Comments (0)

If youre from Perth, youve probably heard ofperhaps even joinedPlastic Free July, a movement that aims to raise awareness of the problems with single-use disposable plastic and challenges people to do something about it.

Beginning as a small initiative shared by 40 Perth households in 2011, Plastic Free July has blown up to become a global movement across 159 countries and participated by millions of people, all of whom have made a vow to reduce and even completely eliminate their use of single-use plastics every July. 

But did you know that the movement was the brainchild of one woman in Perth who made an impulse decision to say no to plastic? 

Meet Rebecca Prince-Ruiz

In 2011, Rebecca Prince-Ruiz was part of the Earth Carers Waste Education team for a Perth local council. As part of the program, she visited a Material Recovering Facility and found that one suburb was responsible for generating a small mountain of plastic every week. Overwhelmed by the sheer volume of plastic and the massive resources and of amount time required to recycle them, Rebecca came up with the impulse decision to completely nix single-use plastic bags for one monthJuly.

And so, Plastic Free July was born. The initial goal was simpleto avoid any kind of plastic packaging, from single-use plastic bags to plastic containers.

As she notes in her guest blog for Two Hands Project, the decision came after reflecting on the need to recycle plastic, when she could have simply avoided using it in the first place. While glass, paper, steel, and aluminium are 100% recyclable, the same cant be said for all types of plastic.

Rebecca also managed to get 40 other households to join her in the campaign, which eventually became a regular grassroots movement. 

Fast Forward to Today 

Plastic Free July is the recipient of multiple awards, with Rebecca helping spearhead the campaign at the national and international level. She is also a 2015 Churchill Fellow and has gone on to explore the impact of pollution and plastic waste on the environment, taking part in several marine debris research expeditions.

In the years since its founding, Plastic Free July has expanded to include all kinds of single-use plastics, including plastic utensils, plastic drinking straws, and plastic bottles among many others. From being a grassroots movement composed of just 40 households, Plastic Free July drew in more than 35,000 pledges in 2015 and 1 million participants from over a hundred countries in 2017.

Plastic Free July has grown to become more than just about eliminating plastic from our lives, it also raises the importance of making sustainable purchase decisions, living a sustainable lifestyle, and making healthier food choices among many others.

Movements like Plastic Free July are just one of many reasons why we at Smartbag believe that a plastic-free future is possible.

You can take the pledge by signing up at Plastic Free July and commit to eliminating single-use plastic bags from your personal life or business by turning to our reusable shopping bags. Learn more about our product line by talking to the Smartbag team today.

(Image credit: Facebook.com/PlasticFreeJuly) 


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