Planning Plastic Free Events
This year, in honor of Plastic Free July, consider throwing a Plastic Free 4th of July Party! We tried out some of these ideas for our Barns & BBQ Tailgate, and while some of them were more expensive than the cheaper plastic alternatives, they were well worth it to help save the environment. You may find it’s easier than you thought to incorporate some of these changes. Plus these plastic free alternatives can add some sweet charm to your big event:
- 🍽️ Trade plastic utensils and plates for bamboo or compostable options, or use the real deal!
- 🟥 Swap plastic tablecloths for fabric or ditch the tablecloths altogether!
- 🍹 Switch your plastic cups for glassware – mason jars are an easy alternative
- 🥤 Instead of red solo cups for games, try aluminum solo cups – you can find them at your local grocery store
- 💧 Avoid bottled water by putting out pitchers of water
- ♻️ Put out marked trashcans, recycling and composting bins
- 🍉 Ditch the plastic wrap for beeswax food coverings
What to do with Plastic Pots
Plastic garden pots! What can we do with them after we use them? This always bothers me about buying plants. There is no easy answer as they are the industry standard. But we need to be more creative.
- Ask your local nursery if they will take back clean and disinfected pots.
- Return them to Lowes!
- Save them and use them for starting vegetables the following season, or for dividing your plants.
- Place your houseplants in them to go inside a decorative pot – this makes for easy-to-remove plants when it’s time to replant in a larger pot.
- Clean and paint them to use as decorative containers.
- Reuse them to hold gravel or mulch for your garden.
- Convert larger ones into weed canisters as you weed your garden, which you can then dump in a larger container, compost or wheelbarrow.
What ideas do you have?
Say No to Plastic Bags!
According to @plasticfreejuly, “By choosing to refuse plastic bags, you can save around 500 plastic bags per year from entering our oceans and landfill.”
- Keep reusable bags in your car at all times for visits to the grocery store.
- Place a convenient small foldable bag in your purse, so you always have a reusable bag on your person when running errands.
- Opt for mesh produce bags to avoid using plastic when you bag your produce.
- Consider bringing jars to stock up on bulk items like grains and coffee.
- Urge your local legislation to tax plastic bags. Philly recently did this to much success!
- Pro Tip: Our Rushton Farm canvas bags can be folded and put into a purse or pocket for easy convenience.
Buy a Reusable Water Bottle and Bring it with you Everywhere!
Heading out to one of our preserves for a hike? Be sure to cool off with water from a reusable bottle and #ditchtheplastic for #plasticfreejuly ! The Stewardship staff always keep their bottles handy for refills. This July stay healthy, stay cool, and stay plastic free!
Plastic Free Farming
Plastic Free July is a good chance to explain something we rely on at Rushton Farm, and something visitors may notice when they come to the farm. We use Biodegradable mulch film to cover our raised beds which greatly reduces our weed pressure. All of our transplants are planted into this mulch film so we only have to weed the planting holes. The picture of our tomatoes shows how effective it is, and the best part is, the mulch film is gone by the end of the season!! This product has been perfected over the last decade. Previously, farms could fill entire dumpsters with the plastic mulch film that had to be pulled out of the field at the end of the season. There could also be quite a bit of residual plastic left in the soil. We love our BIODEGRADABLE mulch film!!
Biodegradable mulch film also helps regulate soil temperature and soil moisture. We use black for most of our crops but switch to white for our potatoes and fall brassicas because it helps keep the soil temp cooler!
Going plastic free starts in the home – and most importantly, in the kitchen! Often,
- Wash or using reusable Ziploc bags whenever possible.
- Invest in metal, wooden or silicone to-go utensils that you can include in lunchboxes.
- Buy multi-use cups and thermoses to help reduce waste out and about.
There are many affordable plastic-free toiletries on the market! Check them out below and see what you can find locally.
- Bamboo Toothbrushes
- Bar soaps
- Toothpaste & mouthwash tablets
- Biodegradable cotton swabs
- Bar shampoos and conditioners
Personal Care Plastic Pollution
Beauty products are one of the top sources of single use plastic. About 120 billion units of single use plastic are created for beauty and personal care products a year. 18 million acres of Forest are lost annually for personal care product packaging. Secondary outer packaging boxes contribute to more than half of the total resources used. The EPA states that about 2 billion disposable razors are produced each year. About 6 tubes of mascara are sold every minute in the United States: almost 600,000 a year. By cutting deodorant plastic packaging by 10%, 120 million pounds of waste can be eliminated from landfills each year. In the U.S. 550 million shampoo bottles are thrown away annually.
By making small changes in our lives, we can lessen the impact we have on the environment and plastic production.
- To minimize your contribution to the number of razors that can go in landfills, you can use re-usable razors safely.
- Try reusable or plastic free options – there are many brands out there!
- If you do not use a plastic tube, clean and donate the wand to local animal shelters.
- Many deodorant companies have pledged to go less than 10% non-recycled plastic by 2025, so look out for plastic-free options.
- A new alternative for plastic bottles are shampoo and conditioner bars. they can last the equivalent of 5 plastic bottles!
We’ll be adding more tips from our staff members as we try out different Plastic Free July ideas and come up with our own eco-friendly alternatives.