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Miami University Sustainability invites you to join the Plastic Free July challenge

Small steps make a big difference: Plastic Free July challenge is not about doing everything, you can just choose one item and give it a try in July

Eight tiles showing a colorful drawing of ideas for  single us plastic swaps

Miami University Sustainability invites you to join the Plastic Free July challenge

Plastic Free July is a global social movement that stops approximately 660 million pounds of plastic polluting the world each year. Started in 2011 by Rebecca Prince-Ruiz — founder of the Plastic Free Foundation — and a small team in local government in Western Australia, it is now one of the most influential environmental campaigns in the world.

The goal is to challenge people to reduce and refuse single-use plastics and build sustainable habits.  

Millions of people across the globe take part every year, committing to the 31-day challenge to choose to reduce single-use plastics, such as the Top 4:

  • Disposable bags, water bottles, take-out coffee cups, and straws.

Many commit to reducing plastic pollution far beyond the month of July.

In 2022, an estimated 140 million global participants chose to refuse single-use plastic at home, at work, and in their communities. “When 140 million people take a small step, it is noticed,” Prince-Ruiz said. ”Choosing to refuse a single-use plastic item this July means joining a big movement of people taking steps to end plastic pollution.  Importantly, it also means showing businesses and governments they need to step up, too.”

As plastic production and waste generation increases, it is clear we can’t recycle our way out of the problem, Plastic Free Foundation organizers said. “Waste avoidance, which starts at the point of consumption, not disposal, needs to be a critical part of the solution.” 

plastic free July choose to refuse badge

Miami sustainability is taking the challenge

The Miami University Sustainability Committee and the office of sustainability encourage the Miami community to take the Plastic Free July Challenge.

“Plastic Free July is an invitation to start taking action with one small step,” Olivia Herron, director of the office of sustainability, said. “Your small steps in July, such as choosing reusable produce bags, could turn into a lifelong habit."

Taking steps to use reusable containers, instead of single-use ones, for instance, can make it more likely that others will do so as well. Research has demonstrated a strong impact on social norms, according to the Plastic Free Foundation. 

Susan Meikle, Sustainability Committee co-chair, suggests, “Sign up and get tips and ideas to reduce plastic waste at home, work, and school. Encourage your coworkers to join the challenge, and try going single-use plastic free in your office this month.”

Anna Abey, master of Environmental Science student and graduate intern in the office of sustainability, said,Avoiding the use of single-use plastics is one of the simplest ways in which one can reduce waste that ends up in landfills and water bodies. Normalizing the use of reusable bags, cups, or cutlery lowers plastic utilization at the consumer level. A Plastic Free July Challenge is a great first step toward building sustainable habits as a community.”