A recurring question arises when we tell people to skip taking plastic bags at the grocery store. “But what will I line my garbage can with?” You mean the garbage can that’s filled primarily with more plastic? Shopping carts are filled with plastic waste. Delivery vehicles are filled with plastic waste. Garbage and recycling bins are filled with plastic waste. Landfills, soil, and oceans are filled with plastic waste. There’s so much plastic waste. Why does it matter?

  1. Plastic is made from non-renewable resources. As we face the dire realities of climate change and learn about the importance of reducing our reliance on fossil fuels, we need to think about decreasing the use of materials that are dependent on fossil fuels.
  2. Plastic takes a very long time to break down and even then, microplastics are always left behind. These microplastics, which never fully go away, are littering our soil, oceans and bodies at an alarming rate.
  3. There is too much plastic for us to solve the problem through recycling. A lot of plastic is challenging to recycle and given how much is available, the market for it is low. You know there’s too much plastic when the countries we are shipping our recycling to are sending it back.

Reducing single-use plastic is challenging, but not impossible. Talk to your local grocery store, retailers and elected officials about the importance of reduction. Push for additional regulations and policies to govern the amount of plastic being distributed in the first place. Find ways to cut back at an individual level. This Plastic Free July, we are once again encouraging Manitobans to start by evaluating and then eliminating.

  1. Evaluate the plastic that’s entering your home by placing it all in a separate bin. See how much of your waste is plastic and determine what you can do to prevent it from entering your home again.
  2. Select items to eliminate. This could be plastic drink bottles or plastic produce bags. Maybe it’s plastic waste associated with take-out food. Or what about unnecessary packaging from items that could rather be filled from the bulk section into reusable bulk containers?

When making a purchase, think about the environmental and social impact of both the product and its packing. Find creative solutions and make realistic choices that mitigate negative impacts as much as possible.

Still wondering about a creative alternative to “free” garbage bin liners if you’re not taking plastic bags home from the store? Compost as much as possible and for the rest, go bagless. If you still have wet garbage you’re wanting to place in a bag, use an old bread bag or frozen fruit bag that’s destined for the landfill anyway. Are you ready for the challenge?  

2019 Plastic Free July Events: July 4 (11:30am – 1:30pm) – Kick-Off Lunch at the Forks July 16 (7:00 – 8:30pm) – Documentary Screening of Plastecized at Millennium Library July 22 (7:00 – 8:30pm) – Letter Writing Event Click here for more details about 2019 Plastic Free July in Manitoba