Plastic free shopping at Package Free Larder in Portsmouth

Plastic Free July is a global event helping millions of people give up single-use plastics. Are you up for the challenge?

  • 01 July 2022
  • 3 min read
We’re encouraging staff, students and the local community to give up single-use plastics for at least one week of July, as part of our Revolution Plastics initiative. 

What is Plastic Free July?

Plastic Free July is an annual global event where millions of people reduce their plastic. An estimated 140 million people from 190 countries take part.

Whether it’s discovering plastic-free toiletries, food storage or even party decorations, there’s lots of ideas and inspiration for how we can all do our part. 

Professor Fletcher, Revolution Plastics Lead said: “Taking notice of how many single-use plastics you encounter, and avoiding them where possible, can collectively make a big difference. Even if you try the challenge for a few days, you may find alternatives and form new habits that you’ll keep."


Plastic Free July logo 2022

It would be great to get as many people as possible involved in Plastic Free July and discover how we can change our relationship with plastics.

Professor Steve Fletcher, Director of Revolution Plastics at the University of Portsmouth

What are single-use plastics?

Single-use plastic is designed to be used once and then thrown away or recycled. 

One million plastic drinking bottles are purchased every minute and 5 trillion single-use plastic bags are used worldwide every year, according to the United Nations Environment Programme

Single-use plastic is one of the main reasons why we have a global plastic pollution crisis. 

Examples of single-use plastics include:

  • plastic bags
  • plastic water bottles
  • takeaway coffee cups
  • takeaway food containers
  • crisp packets
  • snack wrappers
  • balloons 
  • sachets

Plastic has another, less visible, impact — climate change. Seventeen million barrels of oil are used for plastic production each year. With the anticipated growth in the plastics sector, by 2050 production and disposal will be responsible for up to 13 per cent of the world’s total “carbon budget” of greenhouse gas emissions

Top tips to get you started


  1. Take a reusable cup with you when ordering tea and coffee. We’ve put together a list of cafes in Portsmouth that can help you go plastic-free — many even offer an incentive for using your own cup.

  2. Try plastic-free toiletries such as a bamboo toothbrush and toothpaste tablets.

  3. Cook up a storm in the kitchen — make a packed lunch, bake your own bread, or try making vegetable crisps or other snacks to avoid plastic wrappers. And try reusable beeswax wraps, rather than cling film.

  4. Visit zero-waste stores like Portsmouth’s Package Free Larder, which sells food in plastic-free packaging, and other zero plastic toiletries and household products. The store also runs a number of TerraCycle recycling schemes where you can drop off different types of plastic packaging — please check with the store for details.

Take up the challenge

Think about the single plastics you use regularly. Are there any you could avoid or find eco-friendly alternatives? 

You too can sign up for Plastic Free July.  If you take up the challenge, let us know on Twitter. We’d love to hear how you get on.