The Plastic Free July challenge is happening now, and there are still many opportunities for you to join in and take action. Plastic Free July is an annual global movement founded by Rebecca Price-Ruiz that can help you act on and propagate the behavior changes that will directly contribute to solutions to plastic pollution.
Plastic pollution is one of the four core ocean conservation issues that Oceanic Society works to address through our Blue Habits program, a science supported strategy that aims to motivate changes in behaviors that lead to healthier oceans and to build a pro-ocean community.
These days, we come into contact with plastic almost everywhere. About 40% of all plastics produced are designed for “single-use” and in many cases we use them for less than 30 seconds before they are discarded. Sadly, less than 4% of the plastic in the US is recycled, and an estimated 8 million tons of plastic enters our oceans each year.
Plastic Free July began as an effort to highlight how people can learn to make small individual changes that help them reduce their use and reliance on single-use plastics. Taking a month out of each year to better understand our individual connections to the plastic pollution crisis allows us to very deliberately adopt the habits that are needed to address and solve the problem that is so critical to ocean health.
The world has begun to open up its eyes to the systemic problem of plastic pollution, but we have a long way to go. From city-wide bans and taxes on single-use plastics to increased consumer awareness, alternate packaging materials, and more, fellow citizens are collectively working to reduce the demand for single-use plastics. We hope that you will join Oceanic Society and build momentum to eliminate single-use plastics this month by pledging here to participate in the Plastic Free July challenge.
Here are some additional resources to get you started on your plastic free journey:
Wayne Sentman is our director of conservation travel programs and an Oceanic Society naturalist since 1998. He is an experienced guide with a diverse background in marine mammal, seabird, and marine debris research. Wayne also co-teaches undergraduate field programs in Kenya on human-wildlife conflict and on the use of social media and art to raise public participation in conservation. He recently received a Master's in Environmental Management from Harvard University.