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It's Plastic Free July! Are you up for the challenge?

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Between all of the excitement around re-opening and getting out to enjoy summer this year, you may have overlooked this important awareness campaign. But it’s not too late to join this global movement that encourages people to be an active part of the solution to plastic pollution.

Plastic is everywhere in our world. Every year over 380 million TONS of this nearly indestructible material is produced. Some reports estimate that up to 50% of that is for single-use purposes – used just once and thrown away. Worldwide, less than 9% of all plastic get recycled*. We have a serious plastic problem.

As overwhelming as the numbers are, there are things you can do to reduce your daily use of plastic. Some of them require extra effort and/or a little more time, but anything that you do to reduce your plastic use makes a difference.

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Here are some of the worst single-use plastics and simple suggestions to up your plastic-free game during #plasticfreejuly and beyond!

Plastic Straws

The polypropylene in an average straw takes up to 200 years to disintegrate, slowly breaking down into small particles known as microplastics. While it breaks down it also releases the chemical bisphenol A (BPA) which is a known to cause environmental pollution (especially in our oceans) and is linked to multiple health problems.

*The best alternative is to go without whenever possible. But when you want to use a straw, opt for stainless steel or bamboo straws or compostable plant-based straws (this is what we offer here at the Co-op).

Coffee Cups & Lids

It is estimated that in the U.S. we use over 50 billion paper cups for coffee every year.  Coffee cups are tricky because most of them are made with a plastic lining that can’t be recycled.

*Bring your own reusable coffee mug or tumbler wherever you can, and if you’re going to use a takeout cup, at the very least say no to the lid.

Plastic Cutlery

The Ocean Conservancy lists these as among the deadliest items to sea turtles, birds, and mammals**.

*When you pick up your takeout order, be sure to say “no, thanks,” to the plastic cutlery. Even if you take it and put it in recycling, it’s one of those items that doesn’t get recycled. Grab a reusable set of bamboo or stainless-steel utensils (we sell Honest Weight branded ones!) that you can take with you wherever
you go.

Plastic Cups

We use over 500 billion disposable plastic cups each year – enough to circle the Earth 1,360 times! Polystyrene foam cups aren’t recyclable at all and end up going directly to the landfill.

*Bring your own reusable cup, tumbler, or mason jar. Ask your favorite cafes and food retailers to use compostable alternatives (we already do!)

Plastic Takeout Containers

In this great read, Washington Post Food Critic Tom Sietsema collected all of his takeout packaging over a three-week period last summer and was shocked to find that it filled two recycling containers (nearly 100 gallons of space). Takeout is easy and convenient for us in the short term, but devastating for the environment.

*Choose takeout options that don’t come in plastic containers and ask your favorite eateries to provide compostable alternatives. Always have your own empty container on hand for restaurant left-overs.

No matter where you’re at in your plastic-free journey, we’ve got your back. Check out all of our incredible reusable houseware items, produce bags, glass jars, and cutlery sets.

* https://plasticoceans.org/the-facts/

** https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2019/06/carrying-your-own-fork-spoon-help-plastic-crisis/

 

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