Ever since Western Australian Rebecca Prince Ruiz started Plastic-Free July with a small group of locals back in 2011, the movement has gone global over 2 million people in 159 different countries working to reduce their use of plastic products for an entire month, and, hopefully, learning new habits they can continue during the rest of the year.
I learned about Plastic-Free July in 2013 and in 2014 brought Plastic-Free July to the Ecology Center in Berkeley, where it has become a regular part of that organization’s annual programming. (See the Ecology Center’s schedule of Plastic-Free July 2018 events here.)
In 2016, Rebecca won a Churchill Fellowship to travel the world learning about solutions to the plastic pollution problem. I was thrilled to meet up with her in California and co-present a workshop on alternatives to plastic to an International group of kids at the POPS (Plastic Ocean Pollution Solutions) Summit that year.… Read the rest
Rebecca Newburn is a middle school science teacher in Marin County, California, who, with a group of elementary and middle school students, successfully lobbied the Larkspur-Corte Madera School District to adopt a resolution making October “Zero Waste Month.” And together with zero waste specialists Anastacia Nicole and Kathryn Kellogg of GoingZeroWaste, has created a program for cities and schools to participate in Zero Waste October.
Wait. Before you say, “But it’s too late to plan anything like that in my community. You’ve only given me 4 days!” listen up. Read through the challenge and choose a few things you might try out this year. Then, use it as a model to get your school or town active next year.
Rebecca explained to me that October is a great month for families in the Northern Hemisphere to take on the zero waste challenge because the kids are back in school and October… Read the rest
There are a lot of things I make myself to avoid products in plastic packaging. I make my own chocolate syrup, for example, to avoid the kind in the squeeze bottle. And I’ve made my own cleaning and personal care products for years. But when it comes to durable goods, I’ve often opted to let someone else make it, relying on the handiwork of artisans on Etsy, for example. And while it’s great to support small business owners, my Buy Nothing New challenge is not going to allow that, which is cool because all of a sudden, I’ve rediscovered the joy of knitting and the feeling of pride that comes from making things with my own two hands again.
My First Scarf in Years
I used to knit all the time. In fact, I went through a period of compulsively knitting things for every person I knew. Why then, did I find myself on Etsy, this past November, searching for the perfect handmade scarf? I don’t know, but luckily, in the middle… Read the rest
I’m not going to buy anything new this year. Except food. And soap. And toilet paper. Recycled toilet paper. Okay, let me start over. I’m not going to buy any new, non-consumable things. Except I already have. Yesterday. So, what’s all this about?
After spending the last eight years of my life avoiding new plastic (plastic products and plastic packaging), I suddenly found myself in 2015 obsessed with not only avoiding new plastic but also replacing the minute amount of existing plastic in my house with brand new, mostly expensive, plastic-free products, which is exactly what I had decided NOT to do when I started this project. Off the top of my head, these are some things I replaced this year:
Plastic drain board replaced with this heavy, Amish-made stainless steel drain board
Garlic press with plastic-coated grips replaced with an all stainless Rosle garlic press
Vegetable peeler with plastic… Read the rest
Since writing my book Plastic-Free, I’ve had multiple requests for a condensed version with just the basics for getting started. My answer is usually, “Great idea. How about you write it?” Because seriously, we need as many plastic-free voices in the media as possible. And to be honest, I get tired of hearing my own voice. Well, now someone else gone and written the shorter guide that people have been clamoring for.
In her new, brightly illustrated digital ebook That’s a Wrap, Australian blogger Lindsay Miles includes basic information about problems with plastic (as well as the drawbacks to recycling and plant-based plastics) and why you’d want to reduce your use of it. (Scroll down for purchase link at bottom of page.)
After getting the problems out of the way in the first 25% of the book, Lindsay goes on to offer a wealth of plastic-free tips and solutions,
highlighted throughout… Read the rest
If you’re in the San Francisco Bay Area, now’s your chance to join with other like-minded folks IN PERSON to support one another and learn about local resources to reduce plastic use. And if you’re not in the SF Bay Area, why not start your own local group (either online or in person) to celebrate Plastic-Free July?
While plastic reduction is important year-round, Plastic-Free July is a powerful time when people around the globe come together (in person or virtually) to make an extra effort to go plastic-free for a whole month and to spread the word that we can live without most disposable plastic. Last year, I interviewed the founder of Plastic-Free July, Rebecca Prince-Ruiz of Earth Carers in Western Australia and participated in an International Plastic-Free Help Desk to give support and advice to those wanting to take the challenge.
This year, I decided it would be great to do something at home… in person.… Read the rest
Today is Independence Day in the United States. In Australia and growing numbers of countries around the world, the entire month is Plastic-Free July, so let’s celebrate our independence from single-use disposable plastics!
What you can do
Register to participate
on the Plastic-Free July Web Site (I know, it’s already July 4. So what? Better late than never.)
Try to eliminate disposable plastics during the entire month of July, and hold onto the things you couldn’t avoid in your “Dilemma Bag.” You’ll be getting updates and tips during the month.
Follow Plastic-Free July
For more inspiration from other plastic-free activists, check out the On Air Google Hangout panel discussion, which we called The Plastic-Free July International Help Desk, including me, Rebecca Prince-Ruiz (Western Australia) of Western Earth Carers
, Danielle Richardet (Wilmington, NC, USA) from It Starts… Read the rest
A few weeks ago, reader Kay Pere left the following comment on Facebook:
Beth: I’ve received your “Show Your Plastic Trash Challenge” update emails for a while now. I was hoping it would be encouraging to see so many other people working to reduce their plastic waste. Instead, it’s making me feel vaguely discouraged knowing that even after weeks and weeks of effort so many are still taking pictures PILES of wrappers, tubs, bottles, taps, bags, etc … How do you deal with this and keep your chin up? Just by knowing that it’s better than it would have been?
I agree that seeing how much plastic waste people still end up with while doing their best can be disheartening. But what the Show Your Plastic photos don’t show is how much plastic these guys have actually REFUSED while doing the challenge. One participant, Michelle Cassar from Portugal, sent me a list of all the plastic items she has refused in the past few… Read the rest
I’ve been with my family in Maryland since Thursday. It was meant to be a happy trip to celebrate my and my mom’s birthdays, but in the last two weeks, my mom’s Alzheimer’s disease has progressed to the point that she can no longer even speak to us. We can’t tell if she knows who we are anymore. My heart is breaking, and all I know is that I want to be near her as much as I can this year.
Mostly my attitude this weekend’s been “screw the plastic.” Not for myself. I’m still refusing single use disposables for me. But when it comes to all the plastic necessary to take care of my mom (disposable diapers, wipes, medicine bottles, pads, creams, gloves, etc), I just can’t go there. It just doesn’t seem important in the scheme of things.
But then again, what if everyone with a sick loved one felt that way? Mountains of plastic trash are generated in home care, and those mountains are only… Read the rest
Danielle Richardet is a Fake Plastic Fish reader and writer of the blog It Starts With Me, on which she chronicles her project cleaning up the beach near her home in North Carolina. A couple of months ago, she and her family took the Fake Plastic Fish Show Your Plastic Trash Challenge, and took their weekly household plastic waste from this:
Doing the challenge, spreading out her plastic and really seeing it helped Danielle figure out what changes she needed to make in her life. I asked her to tell her story here. Of course, I’m hoping to inspire you to do it too. A 2011 Resolution? Here’s Danielle in her own words…
I made my first plastic-free change back in 2005 way before I knew anything about plastics. The first plastic product that I “gave up” was boxed cake mixes… and I certainly didn’t do it because it was in plastic. Nope… I stopped buying boxed cake mixes because I disagreed with all of… Read the rest