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NewsSouth Florida Families

Making Sustainable Strides: Family Guide to Plastic Free July

By July 24, 2019 No Comments

Plastic Free July is a global movement of people across the globe working to cultivate sustainable habits in response to the global plastic waste crisis. so we can have cleaner streets, oceans, and beautiful communities. This is a great opportunity to lead your family in cultivating more sustainable habits alongside other plastic-free advocates.

REDUCE.
The most straightforward strategy for decreasing your family’s plastic waste footprint is to seek alternatives; biodegradable (ex. paper or bamboo), reusable, or infinitely recyclable (ex. metal or glass) materials are most favorable because they do not pose environmental or health-related threats during the completion of day-to-day tasks.

Actionable change:

  1. Swap out plastic-packaged produce for loose fruits and veggies; especially those that come with a natural wrapper (bananas, avocados, citrus, melons, etc).
  2. Request that your grocery bagger use paper bags or reusable totes from home.
  3. Pack on-the-go snacks and homemade meals in reusable containers instead of ziplock bags or cling wrap.

REUSE and REPURPOSE.
Plastic goods are a durable, valuable commodity that should be carefully reused and repurposed when possible.

Actionable change:

  1. Take-out containers can be washed and reused as tupperware for on-the-go snacks and lunches.
  2. Plastic shaker-style dispensers used for parmesan cheese, spices and seasonings can be cleaned and refilled with arts and crafts supplies for mess-free sprinkling.
  3. Plastic bottles and milk jugs can be cleaned and upcycled to make a backyard bird feeder or desk organizer.

RECYCLE.
Contrary to popular belief, recycling plastic isn’t a reliable strategy for addressing the plastic pollution crisis our world is facing. There are numerous different types of plastics, and only some can be effectively recycled in different cities. Moreover, the plastic that is recycled is degraded by the process; meaning it is used to produce a lower-quality, less durable material and cannot be infinitely recycled.

Actionable change:

In Broward and Miami Dade, only the following plastic products are suitable for recycling … when completely empty and uncapped *usually numbers one and five in the graphic shown!
water bottles
milk jugs
detergent, bath soap, shampoo containers

Ultimately, prevention and avoidance are the principles by which we can strategically diminish the demand for virgin plastics. Such habits will promote our shift to a circular economy where existing plastic can then re-enter the economy via recycling or reuse without increasing demand for fossil fuel extraction.

We appreciate that every family is juggling different tasks, at a different pace, with different priorities and different capabilities. Therefore, striving to reduce your family’s waste footprint will take on its own unique form; we hope that this mindful month will encourage you to think beyond your single-use habits, consider accessible alternatives, and ultimately reduce your plastic consumption in a way that can be easily adopted into your current routine.

Visit www.plasticfreejuly.org to officially join the challenge and access tips on how to tackle plastic in your life

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