It can be as simple as taking your own reusable bags to the grocer, but even the smallest decisions in refusing single-use plastics make a difference.
This month marks 10 years of the Plastic Free July challenge, which is calling on Australians to reduce single-use plastics to reach the global target of 1 billion kilos of waste avoidance.
During the coronavirus pandemic, single-use plastics have abounded: from single-use personal protective equipment to a spike in single-use takeaway cups, cutlery and containers with fears of potential virus transmission if reusable items were exchanged with hospitality staff.
Many stores have since lifted this ban on reusable items, with backing from scientists.
Given these increases in use, plastic waste reduction campaigners believe there is a heightened sense of urgency to reinstate the positive progress made in reducing plastic waste.
Rebecca Prince-Ruiz, who is at the forefront of plastic waste reduction and founded the challenge, said it was particularly important this year.
This year the challenge feels more poignant than ever as we begin to realise how intrinsically our social and physical environment is tied to the fundamental wellbeing of our communities.Rebecca Prince-Ruiz
"This year the challenge feels more poignant than ever as we begin to realise how intrinsically our social and physical environment is tied to the fundamental wellbeing of our communities.
"We have also seen the power of collective action first hand. Whilst Plastic Free July is a personal challenge, participants are part of a global effort to create cleaner streets, oceans, and a cleaner, healthier planet. We can all be part of the solution."
Ms Prince-Ruiz said the challenge wasn't "about drastic lifestyle change".
"It's about being more conscious of the single-use plastics that you use day-to-day and taking small but smart steps to reduce them."
Nicole Elliott, from No Waste Ballarat, said even the most simple swaps could make a difference.
While most people are now in the habit of taking reusable bags to the shops, there are many other positive changes that can be made to benefit the environment.
These include taking your own produce bags to the grocer, using reusable food containers rather than plastic wrap, choosing glass over plastic jars and carrying a set of reusable cutlery, a straw, water bottle and cup when going out.
Some businesses, such as delis and butchers, will also pack food into reusable containers.
Ms Elliott said there were also options for businesses such as cafes to make the switch to more sustainable take-away containers and cups, which would make a big difference.
We don't need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.Anne Marie Bonneau
"It only takes a few weeks to form new habits. Once you start doing it, by the end of the month you should be in a rhythm of new habits and you won't think twice," Ms Elliott said.
Citing one of her favourite quotes - "We don't need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly" - she said if everybody tries, it would have a huge impact.
Last year, the challenge reduced each participant's household waste and recycling by an average of five per cent (23kg).
This reached half of the Australian government's target of reducing 10 per cent of the total waste generated by every resident by 2030.
The challenge can be signed up to at www.plasticfreejuly.org.