Plastic Free July is the global movement helping you and millions of others around the world become part of the solution to plastic pollution.  At SurfAid we are committed to providing clean water and sanitation to people living in remote communities connected to us through surfing. The ocean is what unites the SurfAid community, and working together to protect the places we love is incredibly important to us. 

Every year more than eight million tons of plastic ends up in our oceans. These figures make plastic pollution the most widespread problem affecting the marine environment. Animals including whales, turtles, fish and seabirds ingest and get entangled in plastic debris, often resulting in severe injuries or deaths. By reducing our use of plastics we can help prevent further destruction and preserve our precious marine environment.

Founded by Rebecca Price-Ruiz in Western Australia in 2011, what started as a challenge amongst a small group of friends has now become a global movement inspiring over 250 million participants in 177 countries. The Plastic Free July initiative challenges you to go plastic-free in the month of July. By raising awareness and encouraging environmentally conscious living, the campaign aims to inspire small, everyday actions that will have a lasting impact.

The good news is anyone can get involved and there many ways for you to pledge your support. Whether you’re starting out or are ready to challenge yourself, workplace, or community, there are many ways your actions can make a big difference and help protect our oceans. 

Here are SurfAid’s top eight tips for every ocean lover for Plastic Free July:

1. Ditch the takeaway coffee cup on your morning surf check. Bring your own, dine-in, or get your hands on a reusable coffee cup from our friends at Allpress Espresso.

Photo by Allpress Espresso

2. Once you’ve ditched the coffee cup, make sure to do the same with single-use plastic. Be it water bottles or plastic straws. Carry a reusable bottle, say no to plastic-wrapped fruit and veg, buy in bulk and BYO bags to the supermarket. With some simple steps and a little pre-planning, you can help save a lot of plastic from entering our oceans and landfills.

3. Look at purchasing surfboards or surf accessories made from more sustainable materials such as natural fibres and recycled post-consumer plastic waste. As the surf industry continues to revolutionize, check out companies like Firewire and their ECOBOARD Project. The Ecoboard project uses renewable, recycled and up-cycled materials to manufacture advanced high-performance surfboards.

Photo by Firewire Surfboards

4. Swap out your plastic toothbrush for one made of biodegradable bamboo or try one with a reusable handle. In the U.S more than a billion toothbrushes (often made from non-biodegradable plastic) are thrown away every year, many of these ending up in landfills or our waterways. Reduce your environmental impact by making the swap and consider brands like Bamkiki, for toothbrushes made from sustainably sourced bamboo or SWAK, known for their zero waste, miswak wood options.

5. Invest in ocean-friendly zinc or sunscreen and use brands that come with reusable, refillable, or biodegradable containers. Look into brands like Avasol, which offer sun protection in cardboard packaging, or Sunbutter Skincare for their reusable sun safe and surf wax products.

Photo by Sunbutter Skincare

6. Use eco-friendly laundry balls such as the Cora Ball to capture microfibres in your washing machine. Every time we wash our clothes materials including polyester, break down sending thousands of tiny microfibers into our waterways and eventually the ocean. Inspired by the way coral filters the ocean, the Cora Ball collects microfibers so they can then be disposed of outside our oceans.

7. Organise a beach clean up at your local. Keep your slice of heaven healthy and get a group of mates together or organise a community clean-up (make sure to check guidelines with your local council first). Remove unwanted trash from your local beach or break and take a hands-on approach to protect the ocean.

8. With everything you purchase remember the three R’s: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Ask yourself if you really need it? How will you reuse it and can it be recycled? By reducing, reusing, and recycling, you can help minimise landfill waste and prevent unwanted plastic waste and materials from ending up in our oceans.

Don’t underestimate the power of small changes. Being perfectly plastic-free isn’t the aim. Even small efforts will collectively make a huge difference for the environment and your community. The ocean is what connects the SurfAid community and every piece of plastic you don’t use helps to protect our precious marine environment. Join us this July and pledge to go plastic-free for one day or the whole month (and beyond). To get involved, be inspired and find more plastic-free ideas head to Plastic Free July.