Residents encouraged to pledge support for 2019 Plastic Free July

Reduce waste: Janene Sheehan and Helen Payne from Port Macquarie-Hastings Council promote Plastic Free July at a pop-up stall at Settlement City.
Reduce waste: Janene Sheehan and Helen Payne from Port Macquarie-Hastings Council promote Plastic Free July at a pop-up stall at Settlement City.

Saying no to single-use plastics can make a long-lasting difference.

The challenge has gone out during Plastic Free July to choose to refuse single-use plastics.

Plastic Free July drives positive change through simple solutions to help communities live more sustainably.

Port Macquarie-Hastings Council is doing its bit to raise awareness with pop-up stalls at shopping centres across the area.

Residents are encouraged to pledge their support for Plastic Free July.

Council's waste projects officer Nicky Julian said the pop-up stalls at shopping centres allowed people to have face-to-face conversations about Plastic Free July and many aspects of waste and resource recovery.

"We find a large proportion of [waste in] people's bins at home is plastic packaging," she said.

Ms Julian said the council's main message was waste avoidance.

Tips include swapping single-use plastic produce bags for the reusable variety, ditching single-use coffee cups for reusable cups, using alternatives to plastic wrap and saying no to plastic straws.

Ms Julian encouraged people to take a look at their rubbish bin contents, determine what made up the biggest part of their plastic waste and see what they could change.

She said plastic had an incredibly long life.

"It is built to be almost indestructible and that is the problem now," Ms Julian said.

"When it gets into the environment, it just persists there."

Plastic Free July has grown from a humble office initiative to one of the world's most popular environmental movements with participants in 177 countries.

It empowers people to choose to refuse single-use plastics.

The founder of Plastic Free July, Rebecca Prince-Ruiz, said the growing movement of people refusing single-use plastic sent a signal to business and government that expectations were changing.

"Every person has the power to influence their environment and Plastic Free July has been critical in empowering people to connect their purchase choices to the plastic pollution problem - in other words turning off the tap," she said.

The 2019 theme of Plastic Free July is Your Challenge, Your Way.

Go to the Plastic Free July website to be part of the movement.

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