Plastic Free Forever: How to break up with plastic once and for all

Less stuff = more life

Plastic Free July is a wonderful initiative that has inspired so many in our community (including the 1MW team) to think about the amount of unnecessary single-use disposable plastic that clutters our lives. We can all reduce the impact plastic waste has on our world by avoiding it wherever possible.

Now three months on from the official event, we're taking a look back at the impact that taking on this challenge had on our everyday lives, and how others can learn from our struggles!

Volunteer and guest writer

"This year was the first year I did Plastic Free July (PFJ) and I did make a small number of exceptions for some food items because I needed to look after my health. It still had a profound effect on me though - much more so than I expected."

"The amount of plastic on all items always registers with me now (whereas in the past sometimes I was blind to it in some contexts) and now I'm always looking for alternative products or ways of doing things. I think it's easy for people to think it is too overwhelming to reduce plastic and that it would be downgrading their life-style when in fact I've found the exact opposite. I'm living closer to my values so I feel better about my behaviour and the products that I have found are more pleasant to use and are healthier for me so it's a win-win situation."

“I think keeping it fun, sharing ideas with friends and taking small steps at a time is important.”

"One other thing I noticed when I did PFJ was that some friends felt uncomfortable around me for not doing PFJ and I had to keep reassuring people that I wasn't judging them and that we all do what we can and in our own way."

Read this: 5 easy steps to quit plastic (from The Rogue Ginger)

Social Media Assistant

"Plastic Free July was the first time that I realised just how much of this stuff is in our everyday lives. Seriously, once you consciously recognise how this substance has wormed its way into every single part of our lives, it's kind of frightening."

"Initially I thought that PFJ would be easy: generations of people made do without plastic! What I didn't anticipate is that plastic is almost forced upon us: it's in the packaging of medicine, handed to you at restaurants and cafes, clinging to your clothes and even in your skincare products."

“Why do we all ignore plastic? Once you open your eyes to its presence, you can see why it’s such a big problem”
- Steph Newman

"It really helped going PFJ with my friend, Erica, because we were able to support each other and discuss new ways of ditching single-use plastics. We also gave each other cute reusable coffee cups and cutlery to make plastic-free days fun instead of inconvenient."

"Nowadays I get really mad if someone tries to give me disposable plastic! I freak out at the sight of plastic bags and I get a huge sense of pride watching my rubbish production drop and drop. For me, the tipping point was when I realised that there is no "away": everything we chuck out ends up somewhere, be it in landfill, in the sea or in the stomach of a seagull. Now, almost everything I consume is reused, recycled and repurposed, meaning that I have totally slashed what I was previously sending to landfill. That makes me feel really good."

WATCH: Steph's Plastic-Free Day!

Grassroots Coordinator

I'm definitely getting better at living plastic-free. There are certain things that I've been able to eliminate completely and my will power to avoid plastic is definitely improving!The main challenge has been getting caught off guard at certain times and feeling as though you have no option but to purchase something plastic.

This is predominantly an industry issue, as absolutely everything (unnecessarily) either contains or is packaged in some sort of plastic. For things like coffee, it's easy enough to take the time to eat/ drink in or hold off completely. However, for things like batteries, tampons and so on, it can be a little trickier. It's also a vicious cycle, as long as we continue to support these items and companies supplying our goods in this way, they have no need to change.

We are all aware of our consumer power, but how do we use our dollar to vote if there are no options that align with our personal ethics and wants?


Melbourne's Erin Rhoads has lived two years plastic free! - Plastic-free living is totally possible, and Erin Rhoads (A.K.A The Rogue Ginger) has been doing it for two years. Read her story!

Watch Lauren Singer Fit Two Years Of Trash In A Mason Jar - Remember our blog on NYU student Lauren Singer and her no waste life? She taught us all that a no-waste life is very possible!

Rebecca Huntley - 'I tried living plastic-free for a week just to see if it was possible' - Going 'Plastic Free' has made me change ever so slightly and become more aware of the waste intrinsic in everyday life.

Banner image: Shutterstock

1 Million Women is more than our name, it's our goal! We're building a movement of strong, inspirational women acting on climate change by leading low-carbon lives. To make sure that our message has an impact, we need more women adding their voice. We need to be louder. Joining us online means your voice and actions can be counted. We need you.

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