Plastic push goes global
WHEN Fremantle’s Rebecca PrinceRuiz founded the Plastic Free July movement, she was only looking to change what went into her own bin. Six years later and she says the movement now has more than one million participants in 130 different countries.
FREMANTLE’S Raw Kitchen is all about healthy, sustainable eating, so when the opportunity arose to make their business more environmentally conscious, they took it.
The Raw Kitchen is one of many local businesses taking part in this month’s Plastic Free July, an awareness campaign created by Fremantle’s Rebecca Prince-Ruiz that encourages individuals, businesses and communities to reduce the plastic they use.
Raw Kitchen co-owner Heath Daly said they had been working hard to reduce single-use plastic packaging since the business opened eight years ago.
“We chose to use compostable packaging right from the start of our business. It was a personal choice as we have always had an eco-conscious persuasion,” he said.
“Having said that, it was the Plastic Free July movement that educated us on just how big the single-use plastic problem is and it was then that we changed our retail shop policy to only stocking items that come free of plastic packaging, as well as stocking all of the plastic-free living items we could find.
“We save 20,000 straws a year by refusing to offer them with our drinks, and of course takeaway containers and plastic packing of the food produce builds up to quite a lot over the course of a year if the proprietor is not conscious of the accumulative waste.
“We are a health-based business, so it would be a little hypocritical for us not to care, really.
“Once you become aware of the magnitude of the plastic problem, it becomes therapeutic to do your part.”
Ms Prince-Ruiz said Plastic Free July began in 2011 with just 40 participants and had now been adopted by more than a million people around the world.
“After a visit to a recycling facility where I saw firsthand the sheer volume of one suburb’s recycling being sorted, I knew something needed to change and it was after that visit that I made a pledge to avoid the purchase of any new single-use plastic for the next month, which happened to be July,” she said.
“Our use of plastic is growing rapidly and almost every piece of plastic that was ever made is still in existence.
“Recycling is important, but it’s never going to be enough – we need to reduce, reuse, refuse, rethink and repair.
“Plastic Free July has given householders the support they need to reduce their plastic use and in 2016 alone there was a reduction of 17 million kilograms of plastic waste avoided through the challenge.
“I certainly never expected it would get to this scale – my aim was to change what went into my own bin.”
Visit www.plasticfreejuly. org for more information.
The Raw Kitchen’s Heath Daly and Rebecca Prince-Ruiz, co-founder of Plastic Free July.
Raw Kitchen owner Heath Daly is taking part in Plastic Free July.