Locals encouraged to make environmentally friendly choices this Plastic Free July

West Australians are being encouraged to get involved this Plastic Free July and choose environmentally friendly alternatives for single-use plastics.

The month-long challenge may have already started but it is not too late to take part and make small decisions to help benefit the environment.

Globally, more than nine billion tonnes of plastic has been made since plastic production started to boom in 1950.

Almost seven billion tonnes of that has become waste and 91 per cent has never been recycled.

In an effort to help reduce waste, the first Plastic Free July challenge was started nine years ago by Plastic Free Foundation founder Rebecca Prince-Ruiz and a small team in Perth, with just 40 participants.

Since 2010, it has grown into a global challenge and one of the most-influential environmental campaigns in the world.

In July 2018 alone, more than 120 million people from 177 countries took part in the challenge, preventing 500 million kilograms of plastic waste around the world.

On average, participants in the challenge have reduced their household waste by 76 kilograms per household, per year and cut their use of disposable packaging by 28 kilograms per household, per year.

Plastic Free Foundation executive director Rebecca Prince-Ruiz said the WA-based campaign helped empower people on an individual scale to be part of the solution to plastic pollution.

"One change can go a long way and one person can make a huge difference to the harmful effects of plastic on human health and the environment," she said.

"If each of us takes just a small step with our own individual challenge, the collective impact can be staggering.

"The growing movement of people refusing single-use plastic sends a signal to business and government that expectations are changing."

Ms Prince-Ruiz added that the effect of committing to reduce plastic pollution for just one month could be felt all year round.

"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 Plastic Free July challenge has encouraged millions of people to take small, daily actions and create long-lasting habits that minimise single-use plastic.

"In doing so, we can stem the flow of plastic waste into the oceans by taking positive actions at work and in our homes."

One change can go a long way and one person can make a huge difference to the harmful effects of plastic on human health and the environment.

Plastic Free Foundation executive director Rebecca Prince-Ruiz

Ms Prince-Ruiz joined WA environment minister Stephen Dawson last week to launch Plastic Free July for 2019.

Mr Dawson said he was also going to take the challenge himself this year.

"My own personal challenge during this year's Plastic Free July is to bring my water bottle with me everywhere and keep refusing plastic straws," he said.

"I encourage all West Australians to get involved with Plastic Free July.

"It just takes one small daily step to make a difference in reducing single-use plastics in our lives and we all have an important role to play in collectively making a difference for our state.

"Single-use plastic products and packaging are commonly littered and have harmful impacts on our environment and wildlife."

Single-use plastic products have harmful impacts on the environment and wildlife. Photo: Shutterstock.

Single-use plastic products have harmful impacts on the environment and wildlife. Photo: Shutterstock.

Throughout the state, local governments and community organisations have rolled up their sleeves in an effort to reduce their environmental impact, both on a local and global scale.

The City of Mandurah have urged locals to reduce their personal consumption of single-use plastics and have taken a number of steps themselves to lead by example and inspire change.

Internally, the City has made a number of changes to reduce the amount of plastic products used by staff including the removal of plastic water bottles, plastic wrap, cutlery and bags and trialing annual vegetation planting without plastic tree guards.

Mandurah mayor Rhys Williams said the contamination of single-use plastics in local waterways was a major concern.

"The City of Mandurah has been a leader in environmental protection for more than a decade and I encourage everyone to get involved and help make a difference," he said.

"By phasing out the use of single-use plastics across our organisation and providing an opt-in opportunity for local businesses to engage in their own plastic reduction efforts, we continue to be a role-model for our community to keep our local environment strong and healthy."

Watch Your Waste South West, who cover the City of Bunbury and Shires of Collie, Dardanup, Capel, Harvey and Donnybrook-Balingup, have also encouraged the region to get involved.

The waste management group provided plenty of ideas for alternatives to plastic including bringing your own reusable containers for takeaway, cups for coffee and shopping bags or boxes for groceries.

The City of Busselton urged locals to "choose to refuse" and take part in reducing plastic waste throughout the month.

The local government also encouraged participants to tag them in their photos and posts showing their progress and plastic-free choices.

Single-use plastic products and packaging are commonly littered and have harmful impacts on our environment and wildlife.

Environment minister Stephen Dawson

There are plenty of ways to create new habits and reduce your plastic use in addition to keeping reusable bags nearby for any shopping.

Along with bags, bringing your own coffee cups, straws and water bottles helps to replace single use plastics and taking your own containers grocery shopping will reduce the packaging being used.

Other ways to join in this Plastic Free July include educating family and friends about better plastic choices to help them keep you on track and spreading the word on social media about your challenge by using the hashtag #plasticfreejuly.

The state government are also seeking feedback from West Australians regarding reducing single-use plastics in WA.

Community feedback from the 'Let's not draw the short straw - reduce single-use plastics' survey will help guide the next steps in the state government's action on plastic waste.

While thousands of submissions have already been received, Mr Dawson encouraged people to share their ideas and actions to reduce single-use plastic items of particular concern including fishing gear, packaging and drink containers.

"Contributing to the survey will help the McGowan Government deliver on its priority for a cleaner, more sustainable environment," he said,

"I encourage West Australians concerned about the environmental impacts of plastic to give us feedback and help us identify practical ways to avoid single-use plastics and reduce plastic waste.

"Single-use plastic products and packaging are commonly littered and have harmful impacts on our environment and wildlife."

For more information, or to complete the survey, visit the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation website before July 12.

For more information, or to register for the Plastic Free July challenge, visit the Plastic Free Foundation website.