Plastic Free July 2021

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Photo by tanvi sharma on Unsplash

A post for Climate Connect, the blog of First Church’s Green Team.

I love that one person, or one group of people, can come up with an idea, and it can catch peoples’ attention and become a movement. One person who comes to mind is the young Swedish environmental activist, Greta Thunberg.

Plastic Free July was started by a woman named Rebecca Prince-Ruiz and a small local government team in Western Australia ten years ago. Plastic Free July is now a world-wide effort, and embraced by Boulder’s own Eco-Cycle! The Plastic Free Foundation is working towards a world without plastic waste. They measure impact, conduct research to track trends in common household plastic use, and implement campaigns to reduce plastic production, use, and waste. You can learn more by visiting their website, including many tips about reducing your plastic use.

Plastics really took off post World War II. The plastics industry began pushing single-use plastics as a convenient alternative to the refillables that were the norm at the time. According to Eco-Cycle’s website, “since the 1950’s, 9 billion tons of plastic have been produced yet only 9% of all plastic produced has been recycled”.

In recent years the public has started to become aware of the environmental consequences of plastic pollution. One specific example is the many photographs showing how plastic straws harm marine life. Consumer feedback has lessened plastic straw use, and this is a good example of how quickly consumer feedback can reach the producers and distributors!

What can we do as consumers? This is something I’ve been personally working on for several years now. Here are some tips from Eco-Cycle, Plastic Free July, and a few of my own personal tips:

1. Takeaway Coffee Cups – bring a reusable coffee cup (many Boulder coffee shops now allow this again), dine in at your local cafe, or make your own coffee from home.
2. Dental Care- use a plastic-free toothbrush (bamboo), use toothpaste tablets (such as Unpaste available by mail), use silk dental floss and refillable glass containers (Dental Lace is one brand also by mail).
3. Soap-swap out liquid soap for bar soaps and avoid single-use plastics
4. Bulk Foods- avoid pre-packaged foods by choosing bulk or loose foods
5. Shopping- have reusable bags, containers, and produce bags in your car ready to use in store.
6. Take Out- bring your own container to restaurants to take home leftovers or patronize restaurants that offer compostable containers only. Refuse the plastic straw! Carry your own collapsable straw and have a bamboo utensil handy for take out meals so you can refuse plastic utensils
7. Trash Bags- drop using plastic bags and use certified compostable or don’t use a bag
8. Plastic Wrap- replace with wax paper, parchment paper, or bees wrap
9. Fruits and Vegetables- do not buy pre chopped, plastic wrapped fresh vegetables and fruits.
10. Parties and Picnics- Use your dishes and let your guests help wash at the end of your party or use certified compostable and dispose of in your Western Disposal compost bin. When sharing a picnic ask everyone to bring their own dishes and utensils.

Finally, check out a new store in Boulder called Nude Foods Market! You can order from over 300 items online and they will be available for pickup within 30 minutes or they will deliver by bicycle or by an electric vehicle! They sell grocery items, household products, and meals. Let’s help businesses like Nude Foods to thrive in Boulder!

Do you have some tips to share? EMAIL ME with your ideas, and I’ll share them in a future Climate Connect blog post.

Brenda Mehos, Chair
MOJO (Mission Outreach Justice Opportunities) Team