If you look around you right now, how much plastic do you see? Plastics can be a part of nearly everything we buy, whether a new digital device or a box of cereal. As plastic becomes more abundant, it may feel like you have no choice but to join the rising plastic tide.
We do have a choice and there are alternatives to the plastic pile up. Manufacturers can design for sustainability and take back their materials. Governments can support innovative programs. Local business can create models that incorporate zero waste initiatives. Heroes in our community can inspire us. We can create a shift together that will add up on an number of levels: for our health, for the global community, our oceans, and our climate. That’s why our event series this June is Breaking the Chains of Plastic: An Event Series on Health and the Environment. It is a line up of five events that touch on the connections you can make around plastic:
- Saturday, 6/8/13, Plastic-Free Living: an Interactive Workshop with Beth Terry – In this workshop, Beth Terry will lay out pathways for replacing plastic with less harmful materials. Participants who wish to can perform a personal waste audit by saving up personal plastic trash for at least 3 days and performing a guided analysis of what that pile means. Click here for more details.
- Thursday, 6/13/13, Think Beyond Plastic Innovation Conference and Awards – This conference is a celebration of innovation and creative disruptions to the conventional uses of plastic in products, infrastructure services, and throughout the manufacturer’s supply chain. It features talks on connections between disruptions and social change in the areas of impact investing, business, manufacturing, food security, and viral behavior change. Presented by the Plastic Pollution Coalition, click here for details.
- Saturday, 6/15/13, Waste Deep: In Depth Tour of Berkeley’s Recycling and Waste Facilities – A special tour of the recycling yard and garbage transfer station for Ecology Center members! You’ll get to see how plastic and other materials are delivered, sorted, and baled and how waste is dumped and trucked to landfill. You’ll hear what happens to your recycling and discards and about the Zero Waste movement. It’s easy to become a member if you aren’t already. Click here for details.
- Tuesday, 6/18/13, Plastic-Free Crafting and Info Swap at the Tuesday Farmers’ Market – Stop by and walk away with new, useful tools for plastic-free living. We’re devoting this afternoon at the Market to projects and information-sharing that you can use to creatively replace the plastics in your life. East Bay Depot for Creative ReUse will be leading plastic-free crafting and there will be raffle prizes and games, too! Click here for details.
- Thursday, 6/27/13, Plastic Health Harm: Affects on Your Body and the Global Community – How do plastics affect our bodies? How do plastics affect people’s health around the planet? Join us for a special conversation with experts Dr. Marion Guyer and Monica Wilson. Hear about organizations and legislative initiatives taking action on the worst chemicals and measures such as Extended Producer Responsibility. Click here for details.
Background: As a recycling provider, the Ecology Center acutely feels the impact of the proliferation of plastics. Plastic that makes it into the recycling bin has a lot less value than an equivalent amount of paper, metal or glass. Manufacturing of virgin plastic far outpaces the manufacturing of recycled plastic products, and both recycled and virgin plastics contribute to problems of pollution and toxicity. While recycling is part of the answer, it is not the whole solution. An even better effort is to reduce the amount of plastics we buy and to reuse the items we do buy. Reducing and reusing can divert millions of tons of garbage from landfills every year, and keep it out of our oceans. Breaking the Chains of Plastic series is co-sponsored by Plastic Pollution Coalition, Green Sangha, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, and Transition Berkeley.