Plastic Free July is still underway, and we’ve been having fun making the attempt to go plastic free at Green Action Centre. We posted a blog that highlighted Teresa’s journey ten days in to Plastic Free July. Now, 20 days in, our team has really got into the groove of this campaign and, for better or worse, we’ve all learned a few things!
Active and Safe Routes to School; Workplace Commuter Options
“With so many reusable options for every day items, there’s really no excuse not to try to go completely plastic free! That being said, it is really hard when it comes to buying items at the grocery store. So many items are packaged in plastic, and many times it’s unnecessary… I often have to specially ask for no plastic bags when I go shopping. One time, I even had an employee question me and inform me that they’re free so why not take one? Yikes! Bring your own containers, to-go mug, water bottle, straw, and utensils with you wherever you go! You never know when you’ll be able to avoid that extra piece of plastic. ”
“Get ready to use ALL OF THE TUPPERWARE in your house. This means digging deep into the cupboard for those long lost lids – reunited and it feels so good. And don’t forget to get creative: crammed a pizza slice into a square container. Still tastes great. I found it difficult to reduce plastic when shopping, almost all of the items I buy are wrapped in plastic. It’s frustrating to not be able to find green packaging at my local grocery store. ”
“It’s pretty tough to go cold-turkey on single-use plastic, so it’s ok to phase it out gradually. Each week try finding one more alternative: maybe one week you replace plastic wrap with reusable beeswax wraps; maybe another week you learn how to make your own granola bars to replace the packaged ones you’ve been putting in your lunch; and the third week you get a water bottle or metal straw and start teaching yourself to bring it with you on the go. It can be pretty overwhelming to see how much plastic waste we produce and face tackling it all in one go, but just keep being aware of it and chipping away. Finally, don’t beat yourself up if you come across some inevitable plastic waste. I needed a case for my phone to help it last longer, and there simply aren’t any available that are packaged plastic-free, for example.”
Living Green Living Well; Active and Safe Routes to School
“Plastic Free July is not for the feint of heart! Certainly, those who put in lots of effort and planning over many months can take this challenge on and completely eliminate plastic, but this campaign recommends picking your battles, and this recommendation is much needed! It’s a wonderful campaign in that I am constantly shocked throughout July by the sheer amount of things that end up having plastic. My second year doing this, I figured it would be better, but in fact I find it has been even more shocking. I certainly would say to everyone that if you are going after plastic, start slow and be prepared to plan ahead, both short and long term.”
“I decided to go for the week-only challenge Plastic Free July offers as an option, avoiding as much plastic packaging as possible in a week. The only thing was the week I picked was a week where I didn’t go shopping or to the restaurant so I didn’t really have a challenge. That said, looking at the month as a whole, I did go shopping and to the restaurant in July and stumbled across some challenges. I was going to buy my usual Slicer cucumber which is usually not wrapped in plastic but was surprised to see that it was wrapped now. This was too bad, and I chose not to purchase it. I said “no straw” when ordering a drink at a restaurant. This July, I’ve also took the time to write an e-mail to a Winnipeg bakery that used styrofoam packages for their cookies asking to consider using paper packaging instead.
This past year, I made some steps to try to avoid plastic packaging or single-use plastic, with decent results. I bought a bamboo spoon/fork that I keep in my purse at all times so that I don’t use plastic cutlery when eating fast food. Also, I’ve bought bags from the Winnipeg Recycling Service to collect all my plastic packaging that isn’t accepted in the City of Winnipeg’s Recycling Program. I even got my parents to collect their plastic packaging and together we collected 3 bags full over one year.”