Plastic Free February

 Illustration by Jo Wolley @beachdontkrillmyvibe

Illustration by Jo Wolley @beachdontkrillmyvibe

I was browsing through Instagram, and I saw that Anette and Susanne of Radical Broccoli decided to go plastic free for the month of February. They wrote a blog post outlining their goals for the month in terms of what they wanted to accomplish. I'm always up for a challenge, especially when it comes to changing my more problematic habits. I've made some pretty massive changes in my waste and consumption habits these past few months, but really want to push myself to see if I can make it through the month making as little plastic waste as possible. I've followed their guidelines, and have adapted it to my life and my goals for the month. 

Why should we care? Plastic isn't going anywhere, and that's the problem. We're consuming plastic at alarmingly high rates, and by 2020, its predicted that there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish. While the environment suffers, so do people. Plastic pollution typically affects the global South, as the Western world ships their trash abroad (an example of environmental racism) In addition, it is typically low-income communities that have to live with the trash that we produce. In Canada, our consumption is very out of sight, and out of mind. For most of us, our garbage is whisked away, making it hard for us to see how much of an impact we're making on the Earth. While I don't believe that it should only be us individuals reducing our plastic waste, I think Plastic Free February is a great month for a self-reflection of personal habits and consumption, and can be a gateway for advocating for large businesses and our governments to step up their actions.  

What's Out:

1. Single-use plastic (straws, forks, plastic wrap, cups, drink bottles, etc.) 

2. Grocery store plastic. Although I mostly buy in bulk, and find veggies that don't have plastic wrap, I do still buy things like granola bars and ice cream that have plastic packaging. This month, I'm aiming to cut out any plastic at the grocery store, meaning I might have to get creative with my cooking. 

3. Shopping. I don't buy much in a month in terms of clothes, shoes, accessories, etc. but I will not buy any garments, cosmetics, etc. that contain or are sold in plastic. Yes, I've included clothing, because many clothes have microplastics and fibres that are harmful to our waterways. 

 Illustration by Jo Wolley @beachdontkrillmyvibe

Illustration by Jo Wolley @beachdontkrillmyvibe

 Illustration by Jo Wolley @beachdontkrillmyvibe

Illustration by Jo Wolley @beachdontkrillmyvibe

What's In:

1. Driving my car

2. Using items I already own until they run out. 

- I have some granola bars, toothpaste, etc. that I still need to use, and don't want to waste.

- I also have plastic containers for bulk food, and meal storage that I reuse. 

- I own clothes that contain microplastics that I will continue to wear. 

Remember, sustainability doesn't mean tossing everything out that you own. It's about slow transitioning to a more conscious life. This is why plastic free February is great, because it allows you to think about your plastic consumption, and slowly make changes in your life! 

Bonus Tasks:

1. Pick up at least ten items of garbage I encounter in a day, and either recycle them, reuse them, or put them in the garbage. 

2. Talk to at least two coffee shops, and encourage them to eliminate offering plastic straws.  

Resources:

Do you want to join myself and the ladies of Radical Broccoli for plastic free February, but don't know where to start? Here are some great resources:

On Instagram: Lauren @packagefreeshop, Shia @_wastelandrebel_, Heidi @zerowastechica, Jonathan @zerowasteguy

For Calgarians: Plastic Free YYC & Green Calgary

General: Going Zero Waste, Plastic Pollution Coalition, Plastic Pollution

 @_wastelandrebel_ 

@_wastelandrebel_ 

 @zerowastechica

@zerowastechica

 

Tag me in any pictures if you decide to join me in Plastic Free February. Good luck, and I'll keep you all updated at the end of the month as to how things went.  

- Emilie.