Plastic Free July: Join the Challenge!

Plastic Free 2023

Summertime inspires outdoor fun like barbecues, pool parties and camping, but all too often it also brings the overuse of plastics. Plastic Free July started in 2011 as a challenge encouraging participants to lessen their use of single-use plastics throughout the month of July.

In 2022, the steps taken by Plastic Free July participants from around the world collectively reduced waste by 2.6 million tonnes – that’s the equivalent of around 13 thousand blue whales. This year, Plastic Free July organizers hope to make an even bigger difference - and you can help!

Taking the challenge helps participants with the next steps in their plastic reduction journey.

Plastic Free - Image

How to meet the challenge:

Count the number of single-use plastic items you use and throw away each day…coffee cups, straws, water bottles, etc. Start by trying to replace just one of them with a better alternative. Then you can work your way up to eliminating more, then onto a final goal of eliminating all plastic items from your daily routine.

According to the Plastic Free website, by taking steps to avoid plastic items that usually end up in landfill, we can help prevent items breaking up into microplastics that cause lasting harm to wildlife and marine ecosystems.  At OCWR we can attest, and continue our pivot to resource recovery in the form of metal and mattress recycling and food waste diversion in the form of composting


Useful tips:

  • Plastic bags:  If you cannot replace zip-locks with silicone bags, choose to re-use them.
  • Pasta/salsa jars: Save these jars and lids. Wash them, peel the paper linings, and re-use them as food storage.
  • Plasticware: At your next family BBQ, opt for washable kitchenware instead of plastic utensils, cups, and plates.
  • Grocery bags: When going to the store, bring a tote bag from home.

Reducing plastic use can be a challenge, but even small steps can make a big difference. Just by joining in the challenge you have taken the first step towards reducing your plastic waste.

Learn more about the Plastic Free July Challenge at

Great ideas on how to recycle, including tips on composting and more, are available at our OC Waste & Recycling educational hub. Our OC Recycle Guide is a great resource with an A-Z list of recycling options for Orange County residents. And be sure to follow @OCWaste on social media for more news and updates year-round.