What is Plastic Free July?
Plastic Free July is a campaign that started in Perth, Australia and has grown into an international event. The goal of the campaign is to raise awareness about the negative impacts of plastic and to encourage people world-wide to start finding plastic-free alternatives. This year the Ucluelet Aquarium and Surfrider Pacific Rim are teaming up to bring Plastic Free July to the West Coast of Vancouver Island. This July we want to encourage our communities and our visitors to join the Plastic Free July challenge and set goals for reducing unnecessary plastic for the month! Scroll down to see how you can participate. A list of Plastic Free July events can be found at the bottom of the page.
Make decisions that decrease the amount of waste produced. If a sink is overflowing, what do you do first? Keep mopping up the mess, or turn off the tap? If we find and use plastic alternatives we will help to reduce the amount of plastic entering our environment. Environmental researchers estimate that there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish by 2050. The number one thing we can do to reduce plastics in our environment is stem the flow.
Get creative with the things you already have. A simple way to reduce is to reuse what you already have. The convenience of single use plastic is not so convenient for our environment! Find and use products that you can use more than once. Reusable bags are easy replacements for plastic ones. Mugs and thermoses can replace hundreds of to-go cups. By carrying your own cutlery set and straw you can prevent many single use plastics from entering the ocean.
Make the choice not to generate waste. Do you really need that plastic straw? What about those balloons? We live in a time where single-use, disposable plastics are the norm. But how much of what we buy do we really need? Think about saying no to plastic items in favour of more environmentally friendly options. You have the right as a consumer to say no!
Consider and question our plastic habits. By investing more time in our personal consumption habits, we can be more self-aware of our effect on the environment. Do we really need this? Is there a non-plastic alternative? Can this be recycled? These are some questions we can consider asking ourselves.
6. BE PROACTIVE
Participate in beach cleans and citizen science projects. There will be multiple cleans and microplastic surveys throughout the month of July (and the rest of the year!). See the calendar below for a list of upcoming events. You can also clean up beaches on your own time. Get into the habit of bringing a resuable bag with you to the beach and make a goal of filling it with debris before you head back. If you bring your debris to the Barkley Cafe in Ucluelet you’ll even get a free coffee!
Show your friends and family what you’re doing to save our oceans! Post a photo of yourself participating in Plastic Free July on Instagram or Facebook and tag it with #plasticfreejulypacrim for the chance to win prizes! The Ucluelet Aquarium and Surfrider will be entering all participants who use that hashtag into a random draw and three winners will be drawn every Tuesday throughout July. Don’t have Instagram or Facebook? Send your photo by email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll enter you in the draw as well.