Plastic Free July

Plastic Free July is Here! Events & Actions for Body, Home, and Planet


Join the Ecology Center for 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.

In 2017, the City of Berkeley officially declared July Plastic Free Month joining international efforts to reduce plastic. 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 reduce their reliance on single-use plastic disposables, reduce plastic pollution, and push for lasting solutions to the plastic pollution crisis- during July and beyond.

Plastic is piling up everywhere – in our landfills, in our waterways and oceans, even in our bodies. Of all the plastic that has ever existed, more than half was produced in the last 15 years, and 91% has never been recycled. Plastic is pervasive in products we buy, it’s difficult to recycle, and it breaks down into tiny particles that are polluting our oceans. We stand with the #breakfreefromplastic Movement that believes in a, “world where the land, sky, oceans, and water, are home to an abundance of life, not an abundance of plastic. And where the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we eat is free of toxic by-products of plastic pollution.”

Want to get involved? Join the Ecology Center’s Plastic-Free July for a varied range of events and actions, including Envisioning a Post-Pandemic Plastic-Free Life, Eco Lunch Bunch: Plastic-Free Series, Plastic Free July Solutions Salon, Story of Plastic Virtual Watch Party & Plastic-Free July Panel Discussion, and so much more! View our full calendar list here.


Help us reach our goal to raise 5K during plastic free July to support these activities and continue work at the Ecology Center to empower plastic-free living. Text “PlasticFreeEC” to 44321 to donate and to support in making plastic-free living an everyday reality.

Past Events

7/1- Envisioning a Post-Pandemic, Plastic-Free Life
COVID-19 isn’t the only threat to our communities. Sheltering in place is causing an alarming resurgence of single-use, plastic disposables, a rising demand for plastic-based personal protective equipment, and a soaring use of plastic related to online shopping and takeout food. Municipalities are reversing hard-fought measures to reduce plastic pollution, including Berkeley’s Single-Use Disposables Ordinance and its ban on plastic grocery bags. Although we may feel as though efforts to curb plastic use and reach Berkeley’s Zero Waste Goal were futile, the fight against plastic is not lost.
Recording Here

7/2- Thirsty Thursday Virtual Concert
The Ecology Center located in Berkeley, CA is celebrating 50 years of Inspiring and building a sustainable, healthy, and just future for the East Bay, California, and beyond. Join us on Thursday, July 2, 2020, for a virtual concert on Facebook Live. This is a free live stream community event co-hosted by North Shattuck Association filled with music and entertainment with keynote presenters from the Ecology Centers’ programs and local community leaders. Any donations will go to support the costs to host the event and to support Ecology Center Programs.
The event will be streamed on the Ecology Center Facebook page 7:00-8:30 PM

7/6- Plastic and the Pandemic Fireside Chat @ 7 PM
While our planet has benefited in numerous ways from the Great Lull imposed by the COVID-19 virus, plastic use, especially single-use plastic, is on the rise. Join Hillside Club Vice President Arlene Baxter in conversation with Martin Bourque, Executive Director of the Ecology Center, as they discuss the dynamics of this change, and suggestions for positive action. They will provide background to plastic use and disposal, both around the world and especially here in the Bay Area, and provide an update from when they co-sponsored an event a year ago entitled The Plastic Crisis. The presentation will conclude with suggestions for positive changes that individuals can take to limit plastic use in their own households, as well as influencing change within communities and industry. Look forward to snippets from the feature film The Story of Plastic, as well as curated comments from other experts in this field. This event is jointly sponsored by the Ecology Center, the Bridge Association of REALTORS, and The Hillside Club, and is part of the 2020 events of Plastic Free July.

7/8- Eco Lunch Bunch: The Truth About Plastics
Join us to discuss the Truth About Plastics. The Ecology Center recognizes that we can’t recycle our way out of the plastics crisis- but just how bad is it? In this discussion group, we will go over key elements of the plastics crisis including microplastics, bioplastics, and where our plastic actually ends up.
The Eco Lunch Bunch offers sociable, interactive, discussion-based sessions covering various topics. To encourage group participation, sessions will be limited to 10-15 people, so sign up today!

7/15- Eco Lunch Bunch: Producer Responsibility & Plastic Recycling
Join us to discuss Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) and Plastic Recycling! It is clear that plastic pollution is all around us and piling up, but what are we going to do with those plastics? Should the government or producers be responsible for managing plastic waste? In this discussion group, we will go over what Extended Producer Responsibility is and what it means for plastic recycling.
The Eco Lunch Bunch offers sociable, interactive, discussion-based sessions covering various topics. To encourage group participation, sessions will be limited to 10-15 people, so sign up today!

7/22- Eco Lunch Bunch: Get Plastic Out of Your Life
Join us to discuss ways to Get Plastic Out of Your Life! Learn tips from your own community members and dig into why going zero-waste seems so difficult!
The Eco Lunch Bunch offers sociable, interactive, discussion-based sessions covering various topics. To encourage group participation, sessions will be limited to 10-15 people, so sign up today!

7/25- Plastic Free July Solutions Salon
We’ve all seen the devastating viral video of the sea turtle with a plastic straw stuck in its nose. Or the heartbreaking photos of deceased sea mammals washed up on beaches with bellies full of plastic bags and film. We’ve gasped at the news of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and most recently, have observed an abundance of improperly discarded plastic gloves and face masks amidst the global coronavirus pandemic. While the plastic pollution crisis is not new, envisioning a plastic-free lifestyle and identifying realistic solutions and actionable ways to join the movement, can seem impossible.
Join the Ecology Center and a variety of local community partners for a virtual Salon to discover solutions on how to make plastic-free living a reality. From grocery shopping and personal care to reuse programs and sustainable fashion and gardening- join us, for tips, demonstrations, and plastic-free ideas to inspire your zero waste efforts!
Recording Here

7/10, 7/17, 7/24, 7/31  Adult “Trashion” Fashion Workshop – 4-Week Series
Public artist and environmental advocate Nancy Judd will lead a series of four 2-hour long workshops teaching how to utilize used, discarded or recycled items in the home to design a fashion project of each students’ choice – a jacket, slacks, a skirt, a dress, a gown, a cape, a haute couture suit or gown. What about all those beautiful silver juice box liners or plastic/cardboard packaging?
The class will culminate in a virtual fashion show highlighting each student’s completed fashion project and how they came to understand the need to recycle, upcycle and utilize waste in a way that will protect their environment and the earth they live on.
Ms. Judd is renowned for her couture fashion sculptures made from trash. She uses her engaging sculptures to stimulate conversation, action, and education about sustainable living. Her works are exhibited in museums and the Smithsonian has one of her pieces in their permanent collection.

Join the Berkeley Climate Action Coalition’s Environmental Health Working Group for a discussion on how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting plastics/waste markets (e.g., more masks being used and improper disposal of personal protective equipment) and efforts to eliminate single-use plastics. Hear from expert panelists on the impacts on waste production and management, learn best practices for proper waste management, and get connected with community resources and groups related to waste reduction.
Recording Here

7/30- Creating a Plastic Free Future: A Story of Plastic Virtual Film Screening & Panel Discussion
The Ecology Center invites you to a virtual screening of The Story of Plastic. To wrap up Plastic-Free July, this discussion will move beyond the problem of the plastics crisis and instead focus on opportunities and strategies towards solutions! The Story of Plastic presents a cohesive timeline of how we got to our current global plastic pollution crisis and how the oil and gas industry has successfully manipulated the narrative around it- so where do we go from here? What can we do at local, state, federal, and international levels to bring systemic change?
Join us for a solutions-oriented panel discussion moderated by Ecology Center Executive Director, Martin Bourque, and featuring experts in policy and legislation who will speak to current and future efforts in the fight against plastic pollution. The panel discussion will be followed by a live Q&A session.
Recording Here

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