#PlasticFreeJuly

In honor of #PlasticFreeJuly I am upping my game again.

There is a movement called Plastic Free July that’s been happening since 2011. It started in Western Australia and now boasts millions of participants across more than 150 countries. I can totally get behind their vision for the future –

By encouraging people to be more aware of their plastic use, we can create a cleaner world for generations to come. —

Plastic Free July

Our fast paced, super busy culture seems to have given rise to all that is convenient, easy and fast. Once I started doing a bit of research into plastic I was overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of the stuff that is taking over our world – I mean it is literally taking over our world — our oceans, waterways, cities and towns and impacting our wildlife in a negative way!

I started reducing my plastic foot-print in small ways years ago and now, I work towards zero waste. (I don’t think I’ll ever be zero waste I just do my best).  First, we all got re-usable water bottles, now I don’t go anywhere (including an airplane without it). Next, it was simply remembering to bring my re-usable shopping bags with me every time I went to the Plastic Free July - Say No to Single Use Plastic 300ppistore – any store – grocery, mall or downtown. Second, I invested in some bulk produce bags so I could skip the plastic produce and bulk bags. Now, it’s easy to incorporate ways to cut down on our plastic foot-print. For the plastic I can’t avoid I try to stick with stuff I know can be recycled here. It’s worth looking up your community’s recycling policies and also check what your grocery store accepts in their plastic bag recycling bin.

I started making the changes that were right for me. Yes, I do need to plan a little bit more to make sure that I have the bags I need for the food on my list. It probably took me about a  year to really get in the groove. Now, it’s automatic. The world we live in means I still have to buy things in plastic (and I do) but I work to reduce the amount of single-use plastic we use.

I am lucky to have a couple of stores that will let you use your own bulk  bags; and our co-op will weigh my jars before I fill them. I also make many things from scratch at home to cut down on waste. I make my own salsa, hummus, marinara sauce, pizza dough, salad dressings and a few other staples that taste so much better than store-bought and really doesn’t take much time or effort. I  set aside an afternoon and make recipes for the upcoming week.

 

I started making the changes that were right for me. Yes, I do need to plan a little bit more to make sure that I have the bags I need for the food on my list. It probably took me about a  year to really get in the groove. Now, it’s automatic. The world we live in means I still have to buy things in plastic (and I do) but I work to reduce the amount of single-use plastic we use.

Yesterday, I went out to the thrift store to get some utensils so that I do not have to use plastic forks, spoons and knives when I’m out grabbing a fast bite or snack. (Personally, I have never enjoyed using and eating from plastic). We already have a supply of re-usable straws and are lucky to live in a city where many restaurants and bars are choosing to not use straws or  switching to the paper, biodegradable versions. I also invested in some silicon, re-usable bags to take over for zip top bags.

IMG_7144-300x300Sometimes it’s overwhelming (not to mention depressing learning just how bad the plastic problem is) but, it IS easy to make small changes! Some easy ones: skipping the straw, bringing your own re-usable water bottle and/or coffee mug, go ahead and get some cloth shopping bags. Don’t overthink it  “just do it” ™. Start with one thing and once you mastered that add (or take away) something else that is going to make an impact for the environment, animals, or is healthier for you and your family and community.

To learn more about the plastic issue facing our world check out these links and search for yourself too there is plenty of information out there – Knowledge is power!

Great Pacific Garbage Patch
Atlantic Garbage Patch
The Problems with Plastic – Ecology Center
6 Ways Plastic is Harming Animals, the Planet and Us – One Green Planet
Microfiber’s Dirty Little Secret – Grist
The Dangers of Microfiber Cloths – Design Life Hacks
Plastic Free July 
Environmental Impact of Plastic Straws – Get Green Now
Also search Zero Waste for lots of ideas on how you can reduce your waste!

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