Port Stephens businesses are getting behind the Plastic Free July campaign - a global movement that is supporting cleaner streets, oceans, waterways and communities through the elimination of single use plastics.
Two businesses in Nelson Bay which have jumped on the plastic-free bandwagon are the Naked Alley cafe and Nelson Bay Health Foods store.
Naked Alley owner Becky Burke said that a Facebook competition - where lucky entrants have the opportunity to win a free, handmade 'pottery for the planet keep coffee cup' valued at $39 each - had created huge interest across Port Stephens.
"As advocates of Plastic Free July we are giving away one free cup each Monday until the end of July. To enter all you have to do is upload a photo on our Facebook page, showing what you are doing to support Plastic Free July," she said.
"It could be as simple as dining in, using re-usable straws, or drinking from environmentally friendly cups. One winner will be drawn over the next two Mondays, July 20 and 27."
Nelson Bay Health Foods store owner Tanya Thorp said that while the vast majority of her regular customers were well rehearsed in the use of plastic alternatives, Plastic Free July had provided her team the opportunity to promote environmentally-friendly shopping habits among the Port Stephens community and its visitors.
"When I took over the store six years ago I replaced all the single use plastic bags with brown paper bags. Most of our customers, however will bring in their own reusable bags," she said.
"We are big on dispensers in-store, with many people bringing in their own glass jars or refill containers to purchase bulk honey, nut butters and blended herbal teas.
"We also have bulk body and hair wash products from a dispenser, laundry and dish-washing liquids and powder. We also stock reusable coffee cups and mugs, reusable straws, produce bags plus glass and ceramic water bottles."
Ms Thorp said that she is a firm believer in small changes. "If everyone does there bit we can make a whole of lot of difference overall. My message to people thinking about Plastic Free July is to take small steps and do whatever is within your means."
For tips to help you find out how you can reduce plastic waste in the home and outdoors, log onto the Plastic Free July website and hit the 'get involved' button.