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Reduce waste this plastic-free July

The Bugle App

Diana Timmins

02 July 2024, 10:00 PM

Reduce waste this plastic-free July

Plastic Free July 2024 will see millions worldwide pledge to refrain from using single-use plastic items. Despite increased awareness, plastic wastage continues to increase. 


“The problem is worsening, because we are consuming so much more plastic in our products and packaging than ever before,” said Helen Lewis, Chair of Circular Plastics Illawarra. 



“In 2020-21, Australians generated around 2.6 million tonnes of plastic waste. This is double the amount we generated 20 years ago. Only 14 percent was recycled.”


Lewis said that a major source of plastic pollution in the Illawarra region results from thoughtless disposal of items such as plastic bags, packaging and cigarette butts. These items can break down into smaller pieces and litter beaches, oceans and other waterways. 


“They are extremely hazardous to birds and marine life, which consume or get entangled in plastics. Fishing nets and fishing lines are another source of plastics that can be extremely hazardous in the marine environment.”



Lewis suggests some easy changes to reduce plastic use and pollution in our daily lives :


  • Bring a reusable cup for takeaway coffee 
  • Take a reusable water bottle out and about
  • Ask your local grocers if you can bring your own container
  • Always have reusable shopping bags on hand 
  • Buy fruit and vegetables as loose items (not pre-packaged)
  • Place food waste directly into your green bin (no need for a compostable plastic bag)
  • Place residual waste directly into your red bin (no need for a plastic rubbish bag)
  • Check out your local council website to discover what can be recycled in your yellow bin
  • Look for businesses that sell reusable alternatives to single-use plastics.


“Apart from changing your own habits, think about becoming more actively involved in community efforts to reduce plastics – for example, by volunteering at a food coop, picking up litter or joining a group of like-minded people such as Circular Plastics Illawarra,” encourages Lewis. 



“We’re working with our local councils, Environment Protection Authority (EPA), recyclers and others to try to provide more opportunities for locals to recycle materials like soft plastics.”


To join Circular Plastics Illawarra in their mission to eliminate unnecessary plastics, visit: www.circularplasticsillawarra.org/join-our-community. For more plastic-free tips, check out: www.plasticfreejuly.org.