This month, I will be participating in the Plastic-Free July challenge. Just thinking about the challenge in the past couple of weeks has been eye-opening.
I discovered Plastic Free July when a friend shared about the challenge on Instagram. Some of you may know that my master’s degree is in environmental journalism, and that program encouraged me to make some changes to reduce my impact. But as life got busy and we added to our family (and we moved away from Reno where my membership at the Great Basin Community Food Co-op made green living so much easier) I’ve been slipping.
I don’t anticipate I will be able to completely eliminate single-use plastics in our home. But by participating in this challenge, I hope we can drastically reduce our use and raise awareness – both amongst ourselves, and others.
According to the Plastic Free July website, only 9 percent of all plastics ever made have been recycled. And whereas glass and aluminum are infinitely recyclable, plastic is typically downcycled – meaning it’s recycled once or twice into a lower-grade product, and ultimately ends up in the landfill anyway. And worse – the ocean.
NPR reported this week that we have been sending massive amounts of plastic to China for more than 25 years for recycling – but China is now refusing to take it. I think it’s bananas we were doing this in the first place (so much more environmental damage in terms of the fuel, etc., used to transport it) but now without the infrastructure to manage it, it’s becoming a bigger problem domestically.
I will be sharing my experience with this challenge on Instagram throughout the month and recapping my experiences in another blog post when it’s done. I have work travel, a camping trip, birthdays and other activities that should be interesting to navigate without plastics. Feel free to follow along, ask questions (I will try to get them answered for you if I don’t know them) and share your own tips as well.