This month of July, the entire staff of Willistown Conservation Trust is taking the challenge to go plastic free for all 31 days! In committing ourselves to a plastic-free lifestyle, we are joining “a global movement that helps millions of people be part of the solution to plastic pollution – so we can have cleaner streets, oceans, and beautiful communities,” according to the Plastic Free July® website and Plastic Free Foundation, the group that’s been putting forth this challenge for the past 11 years.
During the pandemic, we witnessed a drastic increase in single-use plastic; our coveted hand sanitizer came in plastic bottles of all sizes, containers of disposable wipes were common-place in every home and office, disposable masks became the norm, rubber gloves were used more than ever before, and some of our food at the grocery store suddenly sprouted protective plastic coverings. For a time, even our reusable grocery bags weren’t allowed at some stores, making plastic alternatives the only option. And for many of us, our favorite farmers markets – where we could easily go plastic free – suddenly closed down. We also enjoyed more takeout meals, and then of course, those meals came in more plastic containers.
Fortunately, many of these plastic habits are dissipating as we return to a state that resembles something closer to “normal.” However, plastic still comes with almost everything we buy, and on a larger scale, the economic crisis of this past year has resulted in businesses choosing cheap plastics over more expensive and environmentally-friendly alternatives, while recycling systems have begun breaking down due to budget constraints. Additionally, microplastics continue to overwhelm our waterways, affecting watersheds, land, birds and humans around the world and right here in Willistown.
Feeling overwhelmed yet? You are not alone! You can be part of the solution, and now is the perfect time to start. Plastic Free July offers plenty of resources to help you reduce single-use plastics, from starting small by bringing your reusable grocery bags and favorite water bottle everywhere you go, to engaging businesses and your community to commit to doing better together. Along the way, Trust staff will share their own plastic-free journey, in addition to teaching you about the harms of plastics in our immediate environment.
Be sure to tune in to our Instagram and Facebook pages throughout the month to learn more, and don’t forget to visit our Plastic Free July webpage as we update it with our own stories, tips and tricks. We’ll be sharing all month long, and we hope you’ll share too, as you commit to this challenge with us!