Plastic Free July: Rethinking Plastic Consumption

Written by Jo Lorenz

We are in the midst of a war on plastic and it’s time to shift our strategy... 

Ninety-one percent of the plastic that has ever been created on our planet has not been recycled. It is still out there - in our oceans, in our landfills, in our communities. 


500 billion plastic bottles are used around the globe annually. Many of these plastic bottles end up in our ocean, used only once and then discarded. This plastic then takes thousands of years to break down and as a result, fish and wildlife are ingesting small fragments of toxic decomposing plastic, known as microplastics. Consequently, these toxins have entered the food chain and now threaten human health.

brown turtle 

Phytoplankton is the base of almost all of the world’s food chain, yet in some parts of the world, plastic outweighs this source of food by more than six times in weight. This alone shows how dire the consequences of our plastic addiction has become.


Scary statistics aside, have you heard the old adage that it takes 21 days for new habits to take root? This is bad news if you’re travelling wine country for 21 days (buh-lieve me!), yet excellent news if you’re looking to establish new and healthy lifestyle patterns, such as rethinking your plastic consumption and consequent waste.


As a business, a typical The R Collective upcycled jacket has a 60% reduced carbon footprint, compared with a similar jacket created using virgin materials, which is equivalent to diverting 14,882 plastic bottles from landfill, according to estimates provided by RESET Carbon. Yet, looking externally towards our customers and collaborators, how can we all more easily adapt our existing lifestyle to a place of plastic free equilibrium?

91 percent of plastics ever produced has not been recycledSource: 24 Hours For Change

Plastic Free July is a campaign led by the Plastic Free Foundation. Each year, millions of people around the world take the challenge and choose to refuse single-use plastics, with a vision to see a world without plastic waste.


In July 2018 alone, 120 million people across the globe took part in the challenge across 177 countries, with the participants’ results including: 


  • reduction in household waste by 76kg (on average) per household per year 
  • lessened use of recyclables (disposable packaging) by 28kg per household (on average) per year 
  • contribution to a total saving of 490 million kg of plastic waste each year.


These staggering and encouraging stats tell us one thing: it’s easy. It’s possible. So let’s do this, as it has never been more straightforward to get involved. The Plastic Free July website has a plethora of incredible resources and ideas at your disposal, to make your plastic free journey a pleasant and supported one. Simple ideas like carrying reusable water bottles and coffee cups, to more widespread impact actions, such as changing local government policies.

500 billion plastic bottles are used around the globe annually

Source: 24 Hours For Change 

Additionally, in support of Plastic Free July, there are loads of incredible social impact initiatives striving for positive change. One such initiative, 24 Hours For Change is working in association with Lonely Whale and Sierra Club for the #HydrateLike campaign, which focuses on asking the public to question how they hydrate - and in doing so, helps to wake us up to our worldwide addiction to single-use plastic water bottles. 


By choosing to champion sustainable alternatives to single-use plastic water bottles, we will #HydrateLike the ocean, the planet and future generations depend on it! You can see more about this initiative at and - and please follow @24hoursforchange on Instagram, to help celebrate the cause with 24-hours of social media activity called The 24 Movement on August 9, 2019.


It has taken less than 30 years for us to get hooked on single-use plastic water bottles for hydration and it is time we championed the alternatives - and with so many focused initiatives available at our finger-tips, going plastic-free is a very achievable, not to mention worthwhile, pursuit. 


As consumers, I urge you all to publicly pledge to choose and champion sustainable alternatives to single-use plastics and urge you to get involved in #PlasticFreeJuly! These initiatives are made to support people and planet - and we’re all people, right?

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