Say No to Plastic in Plastic-Free July

  • Published on July 29, 2022

Say No to Plastic in Plastic-Free July a story by Ned Heaton

During the month of July, we are urged to go plastic-free, or at least reduce our use of single-use plastics, by the Plastic Free July Foundation with its vision of ridding the world of plastic waste. The website has many suggestions for reducing the plastic you use and waste. There are success stories and many resources to use to keep yourself motivated and encourage others to become involved.

This video gives a brief introduction to Plastic Free July.

In addition to this larger movement, I have the pleasure of introducing you to a young boy with his own inspiring story about what he is doing to reduce plastic waste, including working to have plastic toothbrushes banned. His name is Ned Heaton, and you can hear him talk about his project in this video.

More about Ned

Ned Heaton is a kid on a mission to reduce ocean plastics. At the age of 11 he started his own

bamboo toothbrush business, The Turtle Tribe, which he won awards for, including

Changemaker of the Year in the Be the Change Awards, and Young Entrepreneur Award in

the Youth Business Magazine. Featured on radio and television in Australia and around the

world, Ned is the youngest CEO ever mentioned in CEO Magazine.

Find out more about Ned and his wonderful initiative at (If you just want to read Ned’s story, click here.)

To inspire children, their teachers and their families to take action, Ned and his father wrote a picture book called Say No to Plastic, which is available for pre-order now.

About Say No to Plastic

Say No to Plastic by Ned and Shane Heaton

Join Heidi the Piedy, Roy the Boy and Fran his Nan as they travel from their favourite beach to New York City, to talk to the world’s nations about plastic pollution. Sometimes the smallest voice can have the strongest message.

Use less plastic, every day.

“Be the Change.” Start today.

The ocean should be clean and blue.

But who’s it up to? Me and you!

An empowering tale of a wild bird and a caring boy who see a simple way to make the world a better place and set about to make it happen.

A word of support from Robert Irwin

Robert Irwin, son of the late legendary wildlife warrior Steve Irwin, had this to say about Say No to Plastic:

“Positive change for our environment will come from our youngest generation. A wonderful book like this instils a sense of passion and responsibility to care for our natural world and can help kids realise the importance of sustainability.”

About the illustrator Tamzin Barber

Tamzin Barber is a self-taught multimedia artist who loves drawing all creatures great and small. Conservation and protection of wildlife and the environment inspire her artwork. She is a freelance illustrator living in Queensland with her family, including her two cats, Sooks and Mooks. You can learn more about her work at

What I like about Say No to Plastic

Say No to Plastic can be used as a springboard for discussions about and investigations into the environment and sustainability and the ability of one person (whatever their age) to make a difference.  The story behind the book, of the eleven-year-old Ned Heaton, may inspire children to initiate projects of their own to make a difference or, at least, to make differences that matter in their own lives.

The book, through words and illustrations, shows the problems that plastic waste can cause in our oceans and presents children and their families with simple but effective strategies that can be implemented straight away and with little inconvenience.

As a teaching resource, the book is a great stepping-off point for discussions about caring for the environment, sustainability and creating new and innovative ways of solving problems.

Ned’s website is also a useful resource for information and videos which could be used when teaching about the marine environment, pollution and especially plastic pollution. I think it is useful to check it out before sharing the book with children if possible as the information may enrich your discussions.

You can also purchase Ned’s bamboo toothbrushes from his website, and he’ll even send you one free. All he asks you to do is pay postage and handling. There is also a range of other environmentally friendly products, made without plastic, available in his shop.

I’m sure when you have a look at Ned’s website, you’ll be just as impressed as I am and find ways of your own to reduce your use of single-use plastic, not just in July but every day.

Sustainability, caring for the environment and our oceans are familiar themes on our blog, and we have teaching resources to support you when teaching about oceans and marine life, including:

Let's find out about sea turtles cover

Let’s find out about sea turtles

interactive quiz about sea turtles and living things

What do you know about sea turtles? A quiz

readilearn teaching resources for the first three years of school

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Post written on Yuggera and Turrbal Country


    Hi Norah, this is an interesting and worthwhile post. I have read about this young man and the task he has undertaken. It quite restores my faith in humankind. The book also sounds wonderful.

    Yes, he is doing wonderful things for the planet. It is so great to see such a young person taking such initiative. He must have a very supportive family too. The ripples spread.

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