Plastic Free July 2022 Recap
The Plastic Free July campaign has come to an end, but businesses can still benefit from aligning with these types of environmental initiatives.
For the past 11 years, the Plastic Free Foundation has been running the international Plastic Free July campaign to end single-use plastics. With the conclusion of the July 2022 initiative, more than 140 million people have now participated.
Taking part in the campaign doesn't mean you have to change everything overnight. You can pledge to participate for a day, a week, the whole month, or make a lifelong change. And some might pledge to go fully plastic free, whereas others might focus on areas like plastic bags and bottles.
The campaign appeals to individuals but also encourages people to get their schools, workplaces and others involved. Many businesses, nonprofits, and other groups join in and get people to start making positive changes.
In all, 84% of participants have made at least one change that became new habits, according to the Plastic Free Foundation.
Over the last decade, the movement has grown to an impressive 140+ MILLION people worldwide taking part in #PlasticFreeJuly by choosing to refuse single-use plastic. Together we are making a real difference. pic.twitter.com/e5YzvuXQWW— Plastic Free July (@PlasticFreeJuly) July 31, 2022
For this past year's Plastic Free July challenge, some initiatives included the following:
England Golf Tees Up Reusable Bottles
England Golf, "the governing body of amateur golf in England," sent its young golf ambassadors reusable waters and asked them to track usage, as the Plastic Free Foundation highlighted.
Doing so might not sound like a monumental shift, but it adds up, tweeted Owen James, England Golf's sustainability officer.
For @PlasticFreeJuly, we @EnglandGolf have sent our @GolfAmbassadors a reusable water bottle each, and asked them to note down how many times it gets used in order to show the impact that such a small change can have on the environment, results soon 😀👍 #TheSustainabilityDrive pic.twitter.com/fUG078Rybp— Owen James (@EGSustainable) July 29, 2022
Eco-Cycle Activates Community Cleanup
In Colorado, Eco-Cycle, which describes itself as "a non-profit, mission-based social enterprise that uses revenues to build Zero Waste communities," put together cleanups in Boulder and Denver, with support from the Patagonia Boulder store.
Thank you to everyone who came out on Saturday to help us wrap up #PlasticFreeJuly with litter cleanups in Boulder & Denver!— Eco-Cycle, Inc. (@ecocycle) August 1, 2022
Special shout-out to our friends at @PatagoniaBouldr for joining us and sharing their reusable gloves, waste grabbers, and buckets with us for the day! pic.twitter.com/Hchtsa8LuQ
Oceana Canada Calls for Government Action
Plastic Free July also had some political components, with calls for governments to change laws related to plastic usage. For example, Oceana Canada, an affiliate of ocean protection/restoration nonprofit Oceana, created a petition for the Canadian government to make changes like banning the burning of plastic waste.
They also called for the government to invest in more refillable/reusable packaging solutions, "like the milk jug model of decades past."
It's #PlasticFreeJuly & we're calling on the government to make systematic changes. We need refillable and reusable options, a ban on unnecessary single-use plastic items & a ban on burning plastic. Add your voice to demand #ZeroPlasticWaste in Canada: https://t.co/adRROT7dB6 pic.twitter.com/2ZxzegxYhq— Oceana Canada (@OceanaCAN) July 7, 2022
What Does Plastic Free July Mean for Businesses?
At first glance, businesses might think that people tweeting about #PlasticFreeJuly and getting involved with related campaigns doesn't make much impact on their companies. However, consumers are paying attention to what businesses are doing to act more sustainably, which includes action around plastic waste.
Even if your business didn't directly participate in Plastic Free July, your customers could be thinking about these issues.
For example, berries company Driscoll's has been working to reduce the environmental impact of its packaging. While that's a longer-term effort than just a one-month plastic-free campaign, there's a natural alignment that benefits the brand.
I will absolutely be buying more @driscollsberry with less plastic! The plastic was always my deterrent.— Janice A. Dean (@dean_janice) July 31, 2022
So, working on plastic-reduction initiatives, along with other sustainable actions, can generate goodwill as more people think about plastic usage during Plastic Free July and beyond.
By the time next year's campaign rolls around, perhaps you can create your own corporate campaign that creates good PR and engages employees, customers, local communities and more.
From rolling out plastic-free products, to supporting laws that ban single-use plastics, to creating plastic-free challenges amongst your employees, there are many positive steps businesses can take.
Disclosure: Our parent company, JournoContent LLC, has clients involved in sustainability-related areas, among others. The owner of Carbon Neutral Copy, Jacob (Jake) Safane, has investments in sustainability-related companies, among others.
As such, conflicts of interest related to these and other investments/business relationships, even if unintended, may exist at times. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd like further clarification on any issues.