2020 is the ten year anniversary of Plastic Free July, a global movement to encourage people to reduce single-use plastic items such as coffee cups, bottles, and plastic cutlery. Refusing single-use items is a great way to reduce your environmental impact because it’s all about waste prevention. With many people spending more time at home this summer, there’s an opportunity to make small changes that can make a big difference.
There are many alternatives to single-use items, such as reusable mugs and water bottles. But the COVID-19 pandemic has caused many stores to stop accepting reusable food and drink containers. So how do we reduce single-use items during the pandemic? Here are some ideas:
- Need coffee? Brew at home (think of the money you’ll save and fresh coffee aroma’s in your home!). Many local coffee shops such as Little Sister Coffee Maker , Thom Bargen , and Fools and Horses sell their coffee for retail.
- Going to the park, the beach, or a hike? Bring a reusable water bottle and / or your RRC sustainability mug to keep things cool. Pack your own food and bring reusable napkins and cutlery.
- Going out for lunch? Support restaurants that minimize plastic and Styrofoam, such as Nuburger, The Forks Market or Hildegard’s Bakery . Consider portion sizes, and bring a reusable container for leftovers.
- Buying groceries? Local stores, markets, bakeries, etc. that use less plastic packaging. Remember your reusable grocery and produce bags. Most grocery stores still accept reusable bags if you load your own groceries.
- Learned new skills? Practice the new skills you learned during the pandemic lockdown – baking, cooking, gardening, creative meal planning and mixology! RRC hospitality has some great recipes to try.
- Storing food? , try reusable containers, bags or beeswax wraps. Replace paper towels with reusable cloths that are machine washable. These items can be found in stores that sell eco-friendly household products, including Generation Green , Pineridge Hollow , and Humbolt’s Legacy .
With some practice and planning, you can significantly reduce single-use items that end up in the landfill. Plastic items such as water bottles and straws can take hundreds of years to decompose. By trading these items for reusable ones, we can avoid waste, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and even save money in the process.
While it’s hard to completely eliminate single-use items, Plastic Free July is about building awareness and trying to change behaviour, one small step at a time. If you would like to participate in Plastic Free July see link. https://www.plasticfreejuly.org/.
Enjoy the summer and stay safe.