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5 Easy Ways to Participate in Plastic-Free July

Plastic-Free July EcoChallenge is a great way to connect with other people, learn about environmental issues, make goals, track progress and find new ways to reduce plastic. This July I am participating 5 challenges out of the categories Community and Lifestyle since I am pretty versed in Food, Personal care and have no Pets or Kids. These are: 1) Mail/email an average of 1 company per day of my concerns about their plastic contribution 2) Pick up an average of 1 piece of liter a day 3) Visit a waste management site 4) Watch a documentary 5) Complete a waste audit.

I am very excited! Going green is kind of trendy right now (or I just think so since I am immersed in it) which is great, but I want to reach the general public not just the hippie hipsters (best or worst Dad joke ever). It’s not to late to sign up, or just participate without signing up officially. Here are some easy ways to contribute that’s more than just using a reusable water bottle, grocery bag, coffee mug and non-plastic utensils (don’t get me wrong, those are good, do them!).

5 Easy but Unusual Ways You can Participate in Plastic-Free July

1.Don’t shop on Amazon. Whoa. I said it. and I will say it again loud and proud. DON’T SHOP ON AMAZON or even online. Wait what? How do I survive? Try it and I can almost guarantee you will. You may not be perfect and you don’t have to be, it’s just being aware and trying it out. Online shopping comes with a ton of waste in more ways than one; gas, energy, ten fold more packaging for shipping than necessary, I can go on. Shop local, say no, DIY, be frugal, be creative and live simple. If you are desperate there are some great zero waste online shops. Go for the one closest to you. I’ve purchased from Wild Minimalist and Package Free Shop and loved the packaging or lack thereof and the eco-friendly items.

2. Take care of recycles and be mindful what you throw away in the trash. Literally all it is is trying to pay attention. For so long we’ve been conditioned to throw something away with evening thinking about it. It goes away and we never think about it again. But the thing is, it doesn’t just go away. It won’t unless we just THINK and CARE about it. Please don’t throw away electronics, textiles (clothes), wood, yard clippings, styrofoam, lightbulbs, plastic film, foil, batteries, paint cans, furniture, metal, glass, paper and cardboard. Use Recycling 911 or your local waste department recycling guide (Vancouver, WA’s) to find specific facilities that take these items. More resources on this later!

3. Watch a documentary on waste and plastic. This one doesn’t have direct impact but even more indirect impact with information, education and a change of attitude. Here is a list of documentaries, there are quite a bit out there so this isn’t an exhausted list. I have seen A Plastic Ocean. On Netflix they currently have Mission Blue, Plastic Paradise, Rotton, Planet Earth, Our Planet, Chasing Ice and more (just search environment, plastic or earth).

4. Read a book. Here is a great list. Pick one up at your local library for free! I am currently reading Outsmart Waste by Tom Szaky, the founder and CEO of Terracycle. If your not the reader type (highly consider being one), than follow a zero waste blog via email, Pinterest Instagram or whatever your preference is. Not just mine, although I’d be honored, I’m a amateur. A few are Trash is for Tossers, Going Zero Waste, Conscious By Chloe, Zero Waste Nest. Honestly if am wondering something I usually just google and search zero waste with what I am interested in (ex: zero waste cooking, zero waste DIY toilet cleaner) and there are a lot of really helpful blogs and articles, it’s just sifting through a bit to find what you need, hence the point of this blog.

5. Compost. Check out how here! This may seem hard, but it can be quite simple. The EPA says that still the majority of Municipal Solid Waste is organic material that can be composted. This will bring to your attention food that is wasted and also the amount of wonderful scraps and things that plants love to eat to make more! That’s the beauty of composting, there is no such thing as waste in nature.

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