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Plastic Free July – complete!

August 7, 2018 Plastic Free July – complete!

July is over and with it the Plastic Free July challenge! First off, big congratulations to everyone who participated. Whether you refused one straw or avoided all single-use plastics entirely, give yourself a pat on the back! We hope this challenge has made visible all the ways that disposability has infiltrated our society. From plastic in the produce section to the little stopper in your disposable coffee cups, single-use items are all around us.

We are excited to announce that Roslyn Woodcock is the winner of the plastic free prize pack from Riverside Grocery.

Roslyn was one of the first people to sign up, and even challenged the rest of the Whitehorse City Council to participate. Congrats Roslyn!
A special mention goes to Steve Roddick who shared his dedication to the challenge online and inspired many people to ditch single use plastics beyond July.

It’s no small feat to avoid single-use plastics. They are ubiquitous, and so ingrained in our daily lives that we hardly stop to think about it. Writes Leyla Acaroglu in her essay Design for Disposability:

“Within 50 years we have moved from everyday reusable products to single-use disposable items that are a blight on our wallets and the environment. Countries spend billions of dollars every year to build and manage landfills that just compress and bury this stuff. While people complain about dirty cities and giant ocean plastic waste islands, producers continue to deflect all responsibility for the end of life management of their products, and designers are complacent in the perpetuation of stuff designed for disposability.”

This last sentence is key. Often the consumer takes much of the blame for the plastic pollution crisis we have found ourselves in. However, product producers continue to design new and diverse disposable packaging to drive profits and increase convenience. In British Columbia, there are over 15 extended producer responsibility (EPR) programs in place. These programs manage many consumer products such as packaging, printed paper, electronics, appliances, tires, used oil, and more. Under an EPR system, producers are responsible for funding the end-of-life management of their products. This creates incentive to design products that can be recycled, and allows for better collection and recycling of these products.

Some of our favourite Plastic Free July experiences!

 

We set up shop at Wykes’ Your Independent Grocer to remind people to bring their reusable bags and hand out Zero Waste Yukon bags to those that forgot. Really impressed how many shoppers were bringing their own bags already!

Handing out bags at the Independent.

 

Earlier this month we shared an interesting article about plastic bag use in different countries. Did you know that Danes use on average about 4 single-use plastic bags each year? This is in stark contrast to the US, where the average person uses a bag per day. We asked our followers to show us their favourite reusable shopping bags, and we had some great responses!

     

Our favourite reusable bags people shared

 

We also hosted a workshop on creating beesewax wraps, a reusable alternative to plastic wrap, at the Fireweed Community Market. Everyone who stopped by took home their own beeswax wrap!

We learned this month that the City of Whitehorse water bottle refill stations have filled the equivalent of over 270,000 single use bottles since 2010! Here’s to continued efforts by City staff and administration to eliminate single-use.

 

Stay tuned for more from Zero Waste Yukon as we work to eliminate disposability and single-use plastics in Yukon!

 

 

 

 

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