Plastic Free Challenge

Go Plastic Free for a month (or more!)


  1. List of Plastic-Free Habit Changes and tips from Plastic Matters to inspire you.
  2. Tips Plastic Matters by Taina Uitto


To help you reduce your own plastic waste, just remember the simple advice above.  To elaborate:

  • Rethink your use of plastics. Remembering that every plastic item ever created still exists, ask yourself whether that disposable convenience is really worth it?  That plastic granola wrapper (for e.g.) will be on this planet for thousands of years…(could you do without it, or make/find a better treat?)
  • Part of rethinking is to start recognizing where all of the disposable plastic items in your life are coming from.  What are your own bad plastic manners?  What items are you just buying out of habit?  Are others constantly imposing plastics on you without notice?
  • Armed with awareness, get disciplined about refusing single-use disposable plastics.
  • Start with the easy things, refusing coffee lids, straws in drinks, plastic bags, cutlery, wrapped muffins etc etc.  So easy.
  • Then, move onto the ‘harder’ things, sourcing one alternative at a time.  Be creative!

For me, this refusing business has become a really fun and rewarding challenge.  It never ends, but it has become second nature.  And finding/making alternatives is even better, if you even needed replacements in the first place .  If there are two things that I have learned during this project, is that:

  • convenience is not what makes life colourful
  • there is abundance in going without.

Start small:

  • Refuse one item each day that you would otherwise have acquired.
  • Host a plastic free dinner and talk about the challenges with your guests.
  • Get a group together and collect your plastics for a week or month.  Discuss.
  • Choose one area of your life you want to reduce your waste in and….GO!  Move onto the next area once mastered.  Some categories: take out waste, kitchen waste (many sub-categories), bathroom waste, cleaning products, synthetic clothes, kid and pet paraphenalia.

Go big:

  • Going big has its benefits, and I am a proponent of this approach.  Because if you start small, you might get comfortable with a few steps and never go the distance, forgoing most benefits.
  • Purge all plastics.
  • Refuse all plastics.  Prepare for the long haul…every day, every month, every year will present new dilemmas.

If you are not quite ready to do it all, another way to help is simply to ask for plastic free alternatives (even if you are not even going to buy anything).  If enough people ask…  Suggestions:

  • Are any of your clothes plastic free?  They wont know what you mean, so explain you are looking for non-synthetic clothes.
  • Can I have that food/drink in something other than plastic?
  • Do you have any products without all the plastic packaging?

3. Educational Films on Plastic:

Here an unusual crew of surfers, a musician, spearfisher, bodysurfer and marine scientist embark on a one-week voyage to the Sargasso Sea in search of the infamous patches of floating garbage. Instead what they encounter is an unnerving ‘fog’ of microplastics. A mesmerising 30-minute watch.

The soft tones of David Attenborough. Out-of-this-world music by Hans Zimmer. Beautiful and mind-boggling sea creatures. This BBC series explores the wonders and fragility of the marine world. The stunning visuals filmed in 39 countries will both astound and shock you, leaving you wanting to do more to protect our oceans. Because, as David says, ‘the future of all life depends on us’.

Join the Oscar-winning actor Jeremy Irons in his feature length film to ‘discover the extent and effects of the global waste problem, as he travels around the world to beautiful places tainted by pollution’. This is important and informative viewing, highlighting the power of changing our way of living to help ensure the sustainable future of the planet.

David Attenborough said this was ‘one of the most important films of our time’. This award-winning film started as an adventure to try and film the magnificent blue whale in the Indian Ocean. What they found there was something even more enormous – a thick layer of plastic litter. The documentary then follows a filmmaker and record-holding free diver on their journey across the world to report on how plastic is damaging our seas and what is being done to try and stop it.

Discover the dangers of plastics to the marine world alongside wildlife biologist, Liz Bonnin, marine scientists and campaigners in this shocking and revealing documentary. It does not shy away from the horrors of plastic damage and contains some shocking and heart-breaking scenes.

This is a film made by 13-year old Dylan D’Haeze to help kids, and indeed adults, understand the issue of plastic pollution and what we can all do about it. Dylan wanted to know what happened to plastic when it is thrown away, so he started to investigate. This is a truly inspiring, and very informative, film from a 13-year old perspective that shows us all how kids really can save the planet.

Jeb Berrier, an ‘average’ bloke, decides to stop using plastic bags. This get’s him thinking about all things plastic, and thus begins his journey to get to the bottom of the truths behind plastic. This often-hilarious story will answer all of your questions about plastic: what is it? Can it be recycled? How does it affect us? Instead of feeling disheartened and gloomy about the state of the planet, this documentary will leave you feeling empowered and ready to jump into action.

Trying to live a zero-waste life? This documentary follows couple Jen and Grant in a head-to-head competition to see who can produce the least waste in a year. The Clean Bin Project is a funny and entertaining review of the serious issues of consumerism, packaging and plastic, and gives some great ideas for how to reduce the waste we produce and make a difference in our everyday lives.

Made as part of the Sky Ocean Rescue campaign, this 45-minute documentary dives deep into the complexities of plastic pollution, gathering information and viewpoints from people across the world. The problem is large and serious, but ‘A Plastic Tide’ gives us hope and shows that there are amazing and inspiring people everywhere trying to solve this problem. As Mumbai-local Afroz Shah says: ‘cleaning up rubbish is addictive’, and we agree. Together we can make a difference.

Looking for more inspiration? Here are a few more entertaining and thought-provoking documentaries that are definitely worth checking out!