Plastic Free July

As one of the nation’s first curbside recyclers, we’re here to say we can’t recycle our way out of the problems of plastic. We can take on throwaway plastic – and you can join us.
Click here to sign on your support.

IN THE WORLD OF REDUCING WASTE, REDUCING PLASTIC IS A TOP PRIORITY. Plastic is pervasive in products we buy, it’s difficult to recycle, and it breaks down into tiny particles that are polluting our oceans. If you want to focus on how and why to reduce plastic, we invite you to join Plastic-Free July! The Ecology Center is hosting a series of events as part of an international effort of people joining together to reduce single-use plastic in their daily lives. Check out our line-up below.

JULY 1 - Hands-on Workshop for Beeswax Wrap

Sunday | July 1, 2018 | 3:30 pm — 5:30 pm
Ecology Center Classroom, 2530 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley 94702

Our first event for Plastic Free July! Steer away from disposable plastic wraps with a reusable, safe alternative: beeswax cloth food wrap. In this workshop we will make our own wraps that can be used to cover containers in the fridge, keep bread, your lunch, or vegetables fresh. It even works well for cheese!

We will discuss the different materials that go into this wrap, and you’ll be able to take one home of your own creation. We look forward to lots of plastic-free fun with you!

Click here to sign up.

JULY 11 - Disposable-Free Dining: How Do We Get There?

Wednesday | July 11, 2018 | 7 pm – 9 pm
Ed Roberts Campus, 3075 Adeline Street, Berkeley

Our streets, shores, and waterways are littered with single-use disposable foodware, at great cost. China will no longer accept the dirty, disposable foodware that we collect, either. At the panel event, experts will share what cities, corporations, and businesses are doing to move toward Disposable-Free Dining. Speakers include:
What Corporations are doing (Conrad MacKerron, As You Sow)
What Cities and Countries are doing, policy-wise (Miriam Gordon, Upstream)
What Businesses are doing (Samantha Sommer, ReThink Disposable)
What individuals are doing (Jackie Nuñez, The Last Plastic Straw)
The Recycling Challenges of disposable foodware (Martin Bourque, Ecology Center)
Click here to sign up.

JULY 12 - Albatross Film & DIY Activities

Wednesday | July 11, 2018 | 6 pm – 9 pm
BFUU Fellowship Hall, 1606 Bonita Avenue, Berkeley

Join us for an evening of connection to nature and activities to lessen your impact!
About the film “Albatross”: Artist Chris Jordan visited Midway Island in 2009 to photograph the albatrosses that populate the tiny island in the Pacific, thousands of miles from the nearest continent. Jordan would return time and again to Midway on a wildly challenging eight-year odyssey to tell the story of these remarkable birds. Following his shocking photographs of dead albatross chicks and the diet of plastic that killed them, Chris Jordan’s new film is a call to action to repair our broken relationship with planet Earth. There will be discussion after the film. Parents are advised that this film may not be suitable for young children.

This event is sponsored by: Transition Berkeley, the Ecology Center and Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists
Location: Historic Fellowship Hall, 1924 Cedar Street, Berkeley, CA 94709
At Bonita Ave, one block east of MLK Way & three blocks west of Shattuck Ave
Wheelchair accessible via the ramp
Suggested Donation: $5-20 to cover event costs. No one turned away for lack of funds!
Bring: An earth-friendly, package-free dish to share at 6:00 pm if you like!
6-7PM: DIY activities & opportunities
Click here to sign up.


Saturday| July 14, 2018 | 10:00 am — 12:00 pm
Berkeley Transfer Station | 1231 2nd Street, Berkeley, CA 94702

Which plastics are really recyclable, and where does plastic go after you’ve put it in your recycling cart? Visit Berkeley’s 2nd Street Recycling Yard for an in-depth look “beyond the cart” into the world of zero waste and recycling. Ecology Center staff will lead a tour and discussion of what happens to plastic once it’s collected, where it ends up, and the challenges associated with recycling these materials. We’ll also hear from staff of Community Conservation Center, which operates the Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) where materials are sorted and baled for shipping to recycling facilities.

This tour is limited in size and RSVP is required. Participants will be required to sign a waiver and will be given a safety talk about touring this facility.

Click here to sign up.


Saturday | July 21, 2018 | 9:00 am — 1:00 pm
Berkeley Marina Shorebird Park | 160 University Ave, Berkeley

Join the Shorebird Park Nature Center for this month’s shoreline clean-up to help remove trash and plastics from our bay! We’ll collect litter and record important data, to improve the health of our ecosystem. After, we’ll hear from guest speakers to connect the dots between the litter we’ve removed and wider research and action on plastics. We’ll have snacks and a drawing of prizes for participants.

  • Wear sturdy tie on shoes — no sandals, flip flops or Crocs.
  • Wear pants, not shorts as you might be kneeling on rocks/sand/dirt.
 Dress like an onion so you can peel off the layers as the temperature rises. It can be cold in the morning and warmer in the afternoon and windy.
  • Bring a reusable water bottle, hat, and sunscreen. If possible, bring your own gloves and a reusable bucket — if you do not have them, they will be provided.

All participants need to sign waivers, and children under the age of 18 need to have their parent sign their waiver. Pre-register by email: Please note how many people will be in your party and what ages. We hope you will join us!

JULY 28 • Plastic-Free. Period

Sunday | July 23, 2017 | 1:00 pm — 2:30 pm
Ecology Center | 2530 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley, CA 94702

Your menstrual cycle can be comfy, affordable, and create zero waste. We’re talking about a Plastic-Free Period! Do you have questions about cloth pads, how to insert a silicone cup, and more? Hear from people who have tried these products and their take on what works – and what doesn’t. Learn about the cost savings, as well as how alternatives can reduce your plastic use. We’ll have new sample products on hand, so you can explore the options. This is a no-judgement, open discussion space, so bring your curiosity and questions.

If you have a story about a menstrual product you’d like to share, email (stories can be shared anonymously). All plastic-free period products from our Store will be 20% off this day if you find something you’d like to take home.

Click here for more details.


Sunday | July 29, 2017 | 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Ecology Center | 2530 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley, CA 94702

On Sunday July 29th, join us at the Ecology Center store for a Zero-Waste Back-to-School Trunk Show with Wisdom Supply Co. a Benefit Corporation on a mission to prevent plastic pollution.

Every year millions of families head to big box stores to fulfill school-issued shopping lists. Those stores offer almost exclusively landfill-bound plastic and vinyl products packaged in more plastic. Wisdom Supply Co. offers thoughtfully sourced, plastic-free products for schools and offices, with the added benefit of engaging students, families and teachers on the issues throughout the process.

“With roughly ten tons of plastic ending up in our oceans every minute around the clock, it is well past time for our reliance on cheap, disposable plastics to make way for common sense. The Wisdom Supply Co. mission is to disrupt what we call the shelf-to-shore pipeline, and replace it with systems that prevent plastic and vinyl from entering the global waste stream.”

Talk with us about ways we can help reduce plastic waste from your school:

  • Zero Waste Classrooms
  • Locker Clean-Outs & Waste Audits
  • School Specific Zero Waste Supply Kits
  • Online Store Ships Nationwide
  • Supply Reuse & Student Store Programs

Click here for more details.

JULY 5, 10 & 21: Zero Waste Dining Demo @ Farmers’ Market

Click here for Farmers’ Market locations & hours

Visit our Zero Waste Dining demonstration table at the Berkeley Farmers’ Market to see and handle the many practical, durable, reusable alternatives to single-use disposable foodware. You can also view best-in-class disposable foodware products, which are compostable in our City’s existing systems. Ecology Center staff will be on hand to answer your questions and share pertinent information about the upsides and downsides of disposable products.


From Here to China: Secrets of Plastics Recycling (Audio recording and link to presentations)
PLASTIC IN YOUR FOOD Panel Event (Facebook Live Stream)


Fact sheets:

(downloadable & printable PDFs)

Visual guide: