Environment Recycling & Waste Will You Take the 'Plastic Free July' Pledge? By Katherine Martinko Senior Writer University of Toronto Katherine Martinko is a writer and expert in sustainable living. She holds a degree in English Literature and History from the University of Toronto. our editorial process Twitter Twitter Katherine Martinko Updated October 11, 2018 ©. Plastic Free July Share Twitter Pinterest Email Recycling & Waste Plastics Zero Waste Join a million other people worldwide in an effort to ditch single-use plastics for one month and experiment with zero-waste living. Plastic Free July is a campaign that wants people to stop using single-use plastics for the month of July each year. It’s a way in which to spread awareness about the enormous quantity of plastic that exists in most people’s lives and, hopefully, lead to lifestyle changes eliminating their use. The idea for such a campaign took root in Australia in 2011 and has grown rapidly, with more than a million people worldwide taking the Plastic Free July pledge in 2016. It’s set to be even bigger this year. There’s something comforting about numbers, knowing that others are tackling the same challenges that you are, and this makes Plastic Free July an excellent place to start experimenting with zero-waste habits. © Plastic Free July The website is detailed, with a comprehensive resource section. It offers practical tips for going plastic-free while cooking, cleaning, traveling, shopping, gardening, giving presents, and caring for pets, among other things. There is an introductory game called the Pesky Plastics Quiz; its questions help track where household plastics come from, making it easier to know where to focus one’s efforts at elimination. (If you sign up, be sure to check out TreeHugger’s substantial archive of zero waste expert advice. We've been writing about this for years.) Why should we care about doing this? From the campaign website: “The plastic bottles, bags and takeaway containers that we use just for a few minutes use a material that is designed to last forever. These plastics:• break up, not break down – becoming permanent pollution• are mostly downcycled (made into low grade product for just one more use) or sent to landfill• ‘escape’ from bins, trucks, events etc. to become ‘accidental litter’• end up in waterways and the ocean – where scientists predict there will be more tonnes of plastic than tonnes of fish by 2050• transfer to the food chain – carrying pollutants with them• increase our eco-footprint – plastic manufacturing consumes 6% of the world’s fossil fuelsEvery bit of plastic ever made still exists and in the first 10 years of this century the world economy produced more plastic than the entire 1900's!” You can sign up for a Plastic Free July here, registering either as an individual, business/organization, or school. Hurry up, because July starts tomorrow! Report your progress using the hashtag #choosetorefuse and tag @plasticfreejuly. Watch the short amusing promo video below and remember: "It's easier than you think!"