It’s 2030, imagine if…

It was the sense of connection and community at the heart of Plastic Free July (PFJ) that drove the scale and pace of change needed for a world free of plastic waste. Although launched as an environmental initiative, PFJ is regarded as a global social movement that promotes inclusivity and support around environmental action. By leading with stories rather than targets and figures, PFJ provided a blueprint for how communities can galvanise regenerative ambitions. By helping each other navigate the unfolding waste and circular landscape during the 2020s, PFJ hubs exerted upward policy pressure, beyond single use bans toward innovation and reuse solutions.

Summary of solution

When people take collective action to reduce plastic , that groundswell puts pressure on businesses and governments to change the system. This project supports Community Champions and connects organisations through Plastic Free July to create a network of empowered changemakers turning waste off at the tap. Community Champions will be upskilled with tools based on behavioural science to collect local solutions, support participation and behaviour change in the community. People want to make change but don’t always know how – this network of Community Champions will help support them by connecting hundreds of existing community groups, NGOs and participants to build a supported network.

This campaign is already making a real difference both nationally and globally. In 2021, 3.3 million Australians avoided 86 million kgs of landfill and recycling waste, benefitting the environmental by saving resources and preventing pollution. This project is piloting the Community Champion network model with the view to scale up the program and engage more communities in the future.

Why is this solution innovative

This project explores a new way of collectively working through a train-the-trainer model of Community Champions and the network of communities will allow grass roots driven system change. This project is creating an ecosystem of communities and supporting local Community Champions in each state and territory. By connecting Plastic Free July's existing network of communities with real solutions, people and organisations can be empowered to take collective action to reduce plastic waste. This is essential in order to scale up and create change at the rate needed to find solutions and alternatives to the plastic waste issue.

The Community Champions network is a compelling proposal to coordinate and maximise efforts at a local level to address plastic pollution.