We Joined 14,000 People from 68 Countries for Plastic-Free July

20140811cleanupThe Ecology Center recently ran an event series for Plastic-Free July, a global effort to reduce single-use, disposable plastics. We got 75 local participants involved, joining 14,000 people from 68 countries. We learned a lot and can’t wait to do it again next year. You can help us get there, and build on this year’s success. Jack Johnson and his social action network, All at Once, are passionate about plastic-free initiatives, too. They will match any donations that the Ecology Center receives directly till September 1st. Please make a tax-deductible contribution right now and Jack will double your gift, up to a total of $2,500. Thank you, Jack Johnson!

Here’s what we learned from Plastic-Free July:

Our participation adds up.

Connecting personal plastic use to what’s piling up in our oceans is a big eye-opener. We were impressed that our group collected 972 pieces of litter¬†in less than 2 hours at our shoreline clean-up, many of them single-use plastic items like straws, bottles, cigarette butts, and food wrappers.¬†

At one of our workshops, we learned about Litterati, a project that anyone with a smartphone and Instagram can use to take photos of litter they find. The project collects data from the photos to identify litter hotspots, encourage change from companies whose packaging is ending up as litter, and adds them to a “digital landfill.”

Reducing plastic is easier when you join others.

30 community members have joined the “Plastic Free SF Bay” Google Group to continue supporting each other in reducing plastic use. Activity there has focused on contacting companies to ask that they change packaging, and group members crowd-sourcing alternatives for their hard-to-avoid plastic items. You can join, too!

Keep practicing, make it fun!

On Tuesday, August 12th, the Lunchbox Project will be coming to our Farmers’ Market. Brought to you by Clean Water Action, the Lunchbox Project gathers a crowd in a flash-mob style event to purchase meals in their own reusable containers. They attract attention, inspiring others to do the same. Click here to join the fun, and for more details.

Thank you to our partners on this series: Green Sangha, City of Berkeley Parks, Recreation and Waterfront Dept. at Shorebird Nature Center, and My Plastic-Free Life.

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