This July saw millions of people were involved in Plastic Free July. Here's what we’re doing about it. And what you can do to help.

Plastic cup and other waste washed up on shoreline

This July saw millions of people get involved in Plastic Free July. Plastic Free July is a global movement that encourages people to be part of the solution to plastic pollution – so we can have cleaner streets, oceans, and beautiful communities.

More than 8.3 million tonnes of rubbish finds its way to our oceans each year. A million tonnes of this stays in the ocean. The rest of it finds its way onto shores all over the world. This rubbish comes from both land and sea-based sources and can travel immense distances.

We could wax lyrical about all the ways that rubbish in our oceans negatively impacts coral reefs, wildlife and human health. But we’d prefer to tell you what we’re doing about it. And what you can do to help.

How can we solve the ocean plastic crisis?

Our researchers are investigating the relationship between humans and our environment. Our focus is on sources and amounts of plastics around Australia and the world.

We’ve worked with schools, communities, industry groups and government to address everyone’s role in solving this problem.

The world’s largest plastic pollution survey

We’re taking on the world’s largest plastic pollution survey. We’re working with countries across the globe to apply science to reduce the amount of litter entering our oceans.

To date, the best estimates say there are around 6-12 million metric tonnes of plastic going into the oceans each year. That works out to be around 15 shopping bags of plastic for each metre of global coastline (excluding Antarctica).

What can be done?

Every piece of plastic in our oceans started in someone’s hand. By gathering the information needed to identify sources and hotspots of debris, we can better develop effective solutions to tackle it.

Working together, scientists, industry, government and citizen scientists can make significant strides to reduce the impact in coastal areas and in the marine environment.

We’ve developed an online national marine debris database. Here you can contribute data you collect about litter at your local beach.

More tips for reducing your impact

Together, we can contribute to the improved understanding of the types, amounts and sources of debris that arrives on Australia’s coastline. And reducing the amount of plastic we use is a good way to start!

We asked our CSIRO Waste Warriors for their best tips to reduce single-use plastic waste. Here’s what they said:

  • Make sure you always have an eco-friendly bag in your car and handbag.
  • Purchase reusable cloth bags to use for your fruit and veggies at the supermarket – or go bag-less all together.
  • Say no to plastic straws, carry a reusable straw instead.
  • If food outlets allow it, bring your own tupperware for takeaway.
  • Buy and use your own reusable coffee cup.
  • Opt to dine in instead of taking away.

Have a tip of your own? Share your waste-free wisdom by leaving a comment below.


  1. Dear amy edwards
    11th national highscool semarang
    XII science class
    I am a student from indonesia here
    delighted on how people still take on the fight against plastic. Its nearly ignored by manny people these days, and this article is really great. Because here in my country,
    Indonesia keeps ignoring and its very annoying. It also could teach
    a great leason for more awareness students can implement in life on how to take care of our earth.
    It should have more exposure so that we can learn to recycle, reuse, and reduce

  2. Hello everybody. My name’s Bintang Holy Junior. XII Science 4, at Eleven National Senior High Scool. I’m proud and agree of this movement. Because it can reduce the plastic polution in this world. So many things that inspire me to do that ways in Indonesia. We can safe the earth by reduce the plastic trash. We can reuse, recycle, and reduce it to guard the another biological things.

  3. If a country as big as India and a city as crowded as Mumbai can ban plastic and use either biodegradable cutlery or reusable plastic, then I think any one can do this. I have witnessed this in my last visit and was overwhelmed. The carry bags have been now banned for more than 5 years. There are also kiosks which take plastic bottles for recycling and can add credit to your account or donate the money for good cause. So you can be rewarded for returning even a single bottle and not wait to collect a lot to make the trip worthwhile to the recycler. I am sure similar to the vending machines, recycle machines can be put everywhere.

  4. All the above comments are about right. BUT….

    …..they are all from CONSUMERS. WE have to do the ‘right thing’ ! For Heavens Sake….where do the manufacturers of the wretched plastics play a part ??? Did anyone see the TV newsreels of ‘showbag alley’ at the recent Brisbane Ekka. It was sickening to look at. And the silly woman in charge stared at the camera and said sadly “unfortunately, we had thought about converting to paper bags but it isn’t cost competitive at present ” !!! What ? When will it ever be for these people ?

    SO MUCH plastic type that CAN NOT go in the recycling bin. Torch battery packs- oh, too much to even recount. Liberal type Governments will NEVER do anything. It is against their ethos. But someone, some Authority, has GOT to do Something. Soon. Approaching 9 Billion people in the world, their/our effluents will have to be willfully controlled if ‘nature/the Planet’ is not to be overwhelmed.

    I am astounded that our CSIRO is not taking a stronger stance. Or, developing alternatives to these ‘wrong’ plastics, or showing what can be done/built/made with recycled’good’ plastic.

    As a 77 y.o., I was born near London when it was black, covered by soot smog so thick, especially Winter time, it was hard to breath. THAT pollution was stopped almost instantaneously in the late 50’s, by banning coal burning in home and factory fires. THAT is the sort of intervention we need, NOW.

  5. Not everything needs to be wrapped in plastic, stop making it so available.

Commenting on this post has been disabled.