Post by Megan, Information Services staff
Plastic Free July is an invitation to make changes in your habits and daily life to eliminate plastic. The challenge began in Australia in 2011 and last year, over 250 million people took up the challenge.
If you’re thinking plastic is one of the best inventions of the 20th century, you’re not wrong. However, using plastic as a single use item for convenience is bad for our planet. Check out this Sea of Plastic Infographic from Canadian Geographic to get a quick picture of plastic pollution on our planet. Then, head to Plastic 101 to learn about the recycling symbols and the types of plastic that exist in everyday items.
This year, the challenge looks a little different. There has been a lot of unavoidable pandemic related waste. That’s why it’s even more important to take action where you can.
There are many ways to participate in Plastic Free July. You could go completely plastic free, target the top four takeaway items (bags, bottles, straws and coffee cups) or avoid single use packaging. Any effort you can make is a good one. Register for the official Plastic Free July challenge to get additional information and motivation.
Virtual #PlasticFreeJuly Programs:
- July 20, 6:30 pm: A Waste Reduction Workshop with Susan of All Things Preserved
- July 30, 4:00 pm: Myths vs Facts on Recycling with Waterloo Region Waste Management
Full Circle Foods: Kitchen Tips for Bulk Shopping
Julia, the co-owner of Full Circle Foods, shares her kitchen as well as some tips for bulk shopping and reducing plastic in the video below.
Local, Low Waste Shops
The Region of Waterloo has a Bring Your Own Container Directory for local businesses that support plastic reduction. Check in with those businesses to confirm their status before visiting. Start here:
- Full Circle Foods (Kitchener): Grocery and bulk shopping, with curbside option
- Legacy Greens (Kitchener): In-store shopping or delivery of local produce and foods
- Zero Waste Bulk (Waterloo): Curbside pick up on bulk (jar deposit program) and personal care
- Kitchener Market: Grocery and prepared foods, with a seniors’ hour from 7:00 am to 8:00 am
- St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market (Waterloo): Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays through summer
- Sustainable Market (Waterloo): Order produce from local vendors for a fresh weekly pickup
- Avocado Co-op (KW): Delivery of sustainable cleaning, paper and composting products
- Well.ca (Guelph): Green home and health products, shipped with less plastic
- Molloy’s Bulk Refill and Soap Supply (Cambridge): Bulk refills and zero waste products
Sometimes environmental reading can be overwhelming. Podcasts are a wonderful place to start your low waste journey because many of them feature real people in conversation with locals and experts. Here are some of our favourites, which you can find on the web and other podcast platforms:
- Practical(ly) Zero Waste Produced in Peterborough Ontario, this podcast aims to make zero waste as practical as possible. The host, Elsbeth, is a “regular human being” and trying to make a difference for the planet, her community and her family. Try these episodes: 055 • Zero Waste Swaps or 035 • Living Smaller.
- The Live Planted Podcast From its humble beginnings as a vegan podcast, Live Planted has grown and is (as the host Alyssa says) “all about living a practical, sustainable, vegan and kind life. There is no one right way to live this lifestyle.” There are 172 episodes to binge and many feature guests from the sustainability communities. Start with 139 • Marie Kondo: Is Tidying Up Hurting our Planet? or 160 • #PlasticFreeJuly.
- Zero Waste Countdown This podcast is recorded in Belleville, ON by Laura Nash. The Zero Waste Countdown is all about finding alternatives to single-use plastics, reducing our waste, and reducing our environmental footprint. It also airs on CKMS 102.7 FM in Waterloo. Test out these episodes: 059 • Worms! With Waste Not Farms or 041 • Minimalist Millennials
- Green Dreamer This show, with host Kamea Chayne, dives deep into the complexity of conscious consumerism. We recommend this for people who have already been on their personal sustainability journey for some time. Listen to these episodes: 227 • Rebecca Henderson: ‘Reimagining capitalism in a world on fire’ or 110 • Breaking down climate change science into three simple steps with Dr. Jeffrey Bennett.
- Stuck? Check out our Earth Day Challenges for actionable ways to reduce all kinds of waste.
- Borrow one of these e-books from our collection which are all focused on sustainable living.
- Do you menstruate? Find your fit with The Menstrual Cup Quiz and have a plastic free period.
- Learn from a local youth and watch Why is Plastic Bad? on the youtube channel BE Action Now.
- Read the latest issue of Rooted, the (You)th Environmentalist Newsletter.
Is there a book you want to read that isn’t in our collection? Use the Suggest for Purchase form to request it – you’ll be added to the holds list if the book is ordered. Looking for more ideas? Call us at 519-743-0271, send an email to email@example.com or use our May We Suggest form.