This July, the Ecology Center, along with an array of cosponsors, will be hosting Plastic-Free July, a series of events for community members to learn, take action, get tips on reducing plastic waste, and connect with others who are concerned about the global problem of plastic pollution.
Plastic-Free July is an annual event that began in Western Australia in 2011 and has spread across the globe. It aims to raise awareness of the amount of plastic in our lives by encouraging people to eliminate the use of single-use, disposable plastic during July each year.
Over the last ten years, we have produced more plastic than during the whole of the last century. Half of plastic is used once and then thrown away, and only 5-10% of plastic is recovered through recycling. Plastic is piling up everywhere – in our landfills, in our waterways and oceans, even in our bodies.
The Plastic-Free July series contains a varied range of events and actions, including a shoreline cleanup; an evening with the charismatic Captain Charles Moore, who researches the swirling vortex of plastic trash in the North Pacific; a potluck with Beth Terry, author of My Plastic-Free Life; a workshop to make DIY bodycare products that do not contain plastic microbeads; and a panel discussion with plastics recycling experts who can explain why we ship our plastic recyclables to China and what actually happens to them once they are there.
Plastic-Free July Events and Actions:
Plastic Is Getting Drastic, June 23
Clean Water Action brings Captain Charles Moore to present his latest research on the North Pacific Gyre, home of the fastest-growing vortex of plastic trash. Panel discussion follows to consider how to solve the problem through local, state, and national actions. 7-9 PM at Berkeley City Club.
Potluck & Plastic-Free Living with Beth Terry, July 11
Join a potluck lunch and presentation with author and activist Beth Terry to explore inspiration, challenges, and solutions to address our plastic problem. Presentation will be followed by a Q&A – share your toughest plastic challenges! 1 – 3 PM at Ecology Center
Berkeley Marina Shoreline Clean-Up, July 18
Meet at the Shorebird Park Nature Center to view a brief presentation on the problems of plastics in the marine environment. The group will then clear trash from a particular area of the Berkeley shoreline, collecting data on the litter we find. 9 – 12 PM at Shorebird Park
DIY Body Care Workshop & Action to Ban Microbeads, July 26
Learn to make your own Skin Cleansing Scrub and Toothpaste, with alternative ingredients to plastic microbeads found in many commercial products. We’ll discuss proposed microbead bans, and how you can get involved to help. 1 – 3 PM at Ecology Center
From Here to China: Secrets of Plastics Recycling, July 30
Why do we send our plastic waste to China for recycling? What happens once it’s there? We’ll be screening a clip from the new film “Plastic China” and hosting a panel discussion that pulls the curtain back on our ever-shifting plastics recycling system. 7 – 9 PM at Ecology Center
Plastic-Free July Show & Tell, Solutions Share & Picnic, August 1
Get-together with Beth Terry to share challenges and successes in efforts to reduce plastic use. Bring the disposable plastic items you collected during Plastic-Free July. Farmers’ Market staff will share about Zero Waste efforts at the markets. 1 – 3 PM @ Downtown Berkeley Farmers’ Market
Visit ecologycenter.org/plastic-free-july for resources, links and more information on how you can be a part of this movement to address the plastic problem!
[Photo by Bo Eide on Flickr]