By now, many of us are aware that plastic debris has colonized every part of the globe, from the top of Mt.Everest, to the deepest ocean trenches. The problem is pervasive, and at times might seem unsolvable. Yet, global stewardship movements like Let’s do it, World! have taken on the challenge of mapping waste and mobilizing massive cleanup groups around the globe. Supermarkets around the world are starting to embrace waste reduction, with a new zero waste market set to open in Canada this fall. The Federation of Canadian Municipalities has recommended that municipalities adopt a zero waste policy, and evangelists like Bea Johnson take the practice of zero waste as gospel, forgoing all single-use plastics, and producing an absurdly small amount of waste, by modern standards. There is change happening, for the better.
It’s an uphill battle, though. This shift towards ‘sustainable thinking’ is at least in part a response to the epic ignorance, hedonism and disconnect western society has become known for. Here in Canada, we produce among the most waste per capita of any culture in history, and we often don’t seem to care what happens to it. For some decades now, we have accepted ‘out of sight, out of mind’ as our unofficial waste mantra. We’ve gotten used to throwing things away, without ever asking where ‘away’ is.
It’s difficult to expect individuals to take ownership of such pervasive global issues. Solving the global issue of wastefulness certainly requires that corporations take responsibility for the full life-cycle impacts of their products, and municipalities develop efficient, ‘closed-loop’ waste diversion systems, but if we want things to change, we need to take responsibility for the decisions we make that drive our culture of disposability.
So why not challenge ourselves this July, and see how much plastic we can do without? Plastic free July is an invitation to be more considerate. The more conscious we become of what we consume, the more informed our consumer decisions will become. As we change our consumption habits, economies adapt.
So try it! Whether you avoid single-use plastics for a day, a week or more, you’re sure to notice something about your habits. Expanding our awareness is the first step towards positive environmental and social change.
Register here right now, and start sharing your experience on social media with others. Tack on the #greenaction hashtag to connect with others who are doing the same!