You are not permitted to download, save or email this image. Visit image gallery to purchase the image. Plastic sticks from cotton swabs are one of the most common items found on many countries’ beaches. Italy has become the first country to ban them. Photo: Justin Hofman As Plastic Free July rolls around again a new book details why the issue is so urgent, writes Ruth Blunt.  What started off with just 40 people in Perth in 2011, has grown into a massive worldwide movement, with more than 2million people choosing to refuse single-use plastics for the month of July. It has never been easier to ditch single-use plastics as more and more options are available to us here in Otago. There are bulk-bins stores where you can take your own containers, cafes promoting the use of reusable cups and some great events happening all over the region through the month to help people go waste-free. It has also never been so important to rethink our shopping habits and aim to bring less of those unnecessary plastics into our homes as our oceans suffocate under the weight of our waste. Political scientist Michiel Roscam Abbing outlines the scope of the plastic problem and more in his new boo...