poster for Fairfield Village Plastic Free July Community Day listing various activities offered by community groups

The problem is complex but the solution, in part, is simple

A few locals in Fairfield, Victoria who are passionate about sustainability and shopping locally decided this year to promote Plastic Free July in Fairfield Village (our local shopping strip) with the aim of reducing single-use plastic and making BYO reusable containers, cups and bags the cultural norm.

image of Sushi in BYO container - a re-used margarine container

Sushi in BYO container.

For the past few years, as each Plastic Free July approached, we said we’d like to do something but either lack of energy or a pandemic got in the way. This year, a couple of us said ‘let’s do it’ – sent a message out to a few others – some ‘would love to but don’t have the capacity at present’ – a few ‘yes I can help’ – and off we went.

We are all involved in various other related activities, but for this purpose we are a bunch of individuals who happen to have the passion and time at present: Rachel Bendall (Village Greening), Christine Pinniger (Transition Darebin), Amelia Trompf (Project Pair Up & Packshare Australia), Lori Dalton (Minimal Waste 3078).

image of shopping in non-plastic re-usable bags or containers from home - milk, dry goods, meat, fruit and veg.

Plastic-free shopping all in bags or containers from home – milk, dry goods, meat, fruit and veg. It’s so easy to do!!!

We knew from past discussions with the traders’ association that several would be supportive but don’t want to be asked to do anything extra. So we decided to focus on promoting what they do already to support plastic reduction.

This was the plan:

It has been good fun, an effective little working group with a good combination of skills.

It is also not a one-off. We plan to continue nibbling away at greening our local village.

And we keep telling ourselves:  Individuals cannot immediately influence suppliers to stop virgin plastic use for food & goods, but collectively we have purchasing power. Moreover, what is within our immediate control is remembering our reusable containers, vessels & bags. We have more power than many of us think.


Video link


Christine Pinniger

July 2023