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Plastic Free July 2020

Don't let Nature go to waste

Australia, it's time to end single-use plastic.

Plastic Free July 2020 © Shutterstock / Mohammed Abdulraheew / WWF

Help us encourage politicians to beat plastic pollution and phase out the 10 worst single-use plastics in your state or territory!

Our country’s beautiful beaches and picturesque coastlines are threatened by an increasingly urgent waste crisis that we need to address now.

 

From single-use coffee cups to takeaway containers, we’ve all had to use a little more plastic over the last few months to keep us safe during the global health crisis. But as restrictions start to ease and we get back to a little normality, we all need to relook at our consumption habits and ways we can break free from unnecessary plastic use in a safe way.

On average, Australians use 130 kg of plastic per person each year. Only 9% of that's recycled. More frightening still, up to 130,000 tonnes of plastic will find its way into our waterways and into the ocean.

 

Once in the ocean, it endangers our marine wildlife. Studies have also shown that it has begun to enter the food chain and end up on our plates.

 

Plastic is an incredibly versatile material, made to be strong and durable. Unfortunately, most plastics are made to be used once before being discarded.

 

They’re convenient for a few minutes, but often end up in landfills, by the sides of roads, as litter in parks and floating in our oceans for hundreds of years before breaking down into microplastics.

 

The truth is, plastic is everywhere and it doesn’t disappear.

But together, we can fix this urgent waste crisis now.



  • Here’s what we’re asking for:
  • Australian Capital Territory
    We commend the Australian Capital Territory’s commitment to phase out a range of single-use plastic items. As part of ACT’s upcoming legislation and initiative on this issue, we’re calling on the Environment Minister to tackle the remaining problematic plastics ending up in our environment.
  • New South Wales
    We commend New South Wales’ recent commitment to ban plastic bags and for consulting on further action to address single-use plastics in the state. As part of their consultation, we’re calling on the Environment Minister to take action on the most problematic plastics ending up in our environment.
  • Northern Territory
    The Northern Territory is currently lagging behind the rest of Australia on tackling the most commonly found plastic litter polluting the territory. We’re calling on the Environment Minister to take action on the most problematic plastics ending up in our environment.
  • Queensland
    We commend Queensland’s commitment to phase out a range of single-use plastic items. As part of Queensland’s upcoming legislation and initiative on this issue, we’re calling on the Environment Minister to tackle the remaining problematic plastics ending up in our environment.
  • South Australia
    We commend South Australia on its recently introduced legislation to phase out a range of single-use plastic items. South Australia has been a champion for action on plastic pollution in Australia and we support further action to ensure the state continues to be a leader on this issue.
  • Western Australia
    We commend Western Australia for consulting on ways the state can address plastics. This is a unique opportunity for WA to be a leader in managing and preventing plastic pollution in Australia and we are calling on the state to use this opportunity to act on the most problematic plastic.
  • Victoria
    Victoria is currently lagging behind the rest of Australia on tackling the most commonly found plastic litter polluting the state. We commend Victoria’s recent commitment to implement a container deposit scheme but there is more to do to tackle the most commonly found plastic items polluting the state.
  • Tasmania
    Tasmania is currently lagging behind the rest of Australia on tackling the most commonly found plastic litter polluting the state. We’re calling on the Environment Minister to take action on the most problematic plastics ending up in our environment.

THERE'S MORE TO THIS STORY

Check out all the info and find some handy tips to help you move away from single-use plastics.

 

Steps to scrapping plastic

 

Shop to drop

Choose products with no or minimal plastic packaging, and remember your reusable shopping bags.

Bring your own

Bring your reusable bottles and take a  reusable cup to your barista for your morning brew.

Say no to straws

...and plastic cutlery. Ask for compostable takeaway containers or bring your own.

Stash the trash

Collect all your soft plastics and recycle them with REDcycle at your local supermarket.

 

Party for the planet

Plan your planet-friendly party and replace plastic supplies with reusable items and balloons with lanterns.

WHAT ELSE CAN I DO?

ReefCycle

You bought the net, now shop the sunnies

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Take the message global

Now that you've asked our Aussie politicians to take action on plastics, it’s time to take it global!


SIGN THE PETITION

Your Plastic Diet

Did you know that tiny bits of plastic are in our food, water and air? Find out how much plastic you're consuming and what you can do about it.

TAKE THE TEST

Take the Plastic Free July Challenge

Download our 31-day calendar filled with tips to help you reduce your use this Plastic Free July.


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85% of Australian seabirds are affected by plastic pollution

Out at sea, plastic is deadly. Marine animals like turtles can choke on plastic bags mistaken for jellyfish, seabirds get entangled in drifting fishing gear, and larger animals like whales can starve because their stomachs are so full of plastic debris they’ve eaten.

Microplastics can be just as fatal. Smaller creatures like plankton can ingest it, making its way up the food chain and onto our plates. On average, humans ingest five grams of plastic a week. That’s the weight of a credit card!

Research is still being made about the effects of plastic on human health, but it’s clear that urgent action needs to be taken to solve this problem.

Dead bird and plastic bag floating in the ocean © Shutterstock / Krzysztof Bargiel / WWF

95% of plastic packaging is discarded after a single use

Single-use plastic products are convenient, right? While they might make our daily lives easier, they’re costly to our environment. Most plastics don't biodegrade, so unless they’re recycled, upcycled or repurposed, they pose a significant threat to marine wildlife. Globally, more than eight million tonnes of plastic ends up in our oceans every year.

That’s why it’s so important that single-use plastics are phased out or given a new life within a circular economy. We need to make sure that they don’t end up discarded in landfills, in our oceans and endangering our precious wildlife.

Mountain garbage in Municipal landfill for household waste © Shutterstock / kwanchai.c / WWF
Baby turtle hatchling climbing over plastic bottle, Juani Island, Tanzania © Brent Stirton / Getty Images / WWF-UK

Small actions = big change

Small decisions like choosing a plastic free product, using reusable bags, recycling scraps of plastic, saying no to disposable plastic or sending a message to our politicians can all make a huge difference for the future of our planet.

It’s the easiest thing we can do to make a positive impact and ensure that we don’t let nature go to waste.

Ready to make a change? Check out these top 10 tips on how to minimise your consumption of single-use plastic from zero waste bloggers!

 

A humphead wrasse with a plastic bag in mouth © Shutterstock / Tanya Sid / WWF

Digitally altered illustation of ahumphead wrasse with a plastic bag in mouth © Shutterstock / Tanya Sid / WWF

Donate to protect our oceans

Your generous support today will help support our campaign to say no to plastics in nature.

 

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