Pledge to Reduce: Plastic Free July!

Katy Perry knows that sometimes we all may feel like a plastic bag, drifting through the wind. Whether or not that simile is relatable to you, we can all agree that no one wants to see that plastic bag floating down the freeway. 

The United States generates the most plastic waste per capita in the world at 286 pounds per person per year. Meanwhile, less than 10 percent of American plastic waste is recycled. We are in a plastic waste crisis where “recycling” plastic often means sending it abroad where it is then dumped in the ocean! Rather than relying on recycling, we must reduce demand.

Be part of the solution and join the California Green Business Network as we participate in Plastic Free July! This movement started as a charitable organization in Australia and now counts 177 countries as participants. The global pandemic led to a massive spike in single-use plastic use. It is now more important than ever to reduce our plastic footprint. 

Here are measures your business or organization can take to be part of this movement towards a more plastic-free world:

  • Single-use items add up! Utensils, coffee cups, condiments, napkins, straws, bags, etc. Bring your own reusable alternatives with you! If you own a business that offers these items, provide them to customers only upon request. Promote and support customers bringing in their own, clean reusable containers, bags, and mugs. You can even offer reusables to customers as to-go ware for a small deposit. 
  • Be safe and save money with reusables! Properly sanitized reusable items can be even safer than unsanitized single-use items, and they save money! When searching for new items, try to take into consideration the packaging vendors use.
  • When reusables are not an option, opt for recycled content paper products or BPI Certified compostable single-use items. 
  • Keep everyone hydrated without waste! Provide reusable containers and water stations for staff and customers. This can include reusable water bottles and cups that are washed and sanitized. 
  • When making purchases for the office or home, try to select stores with a bulk section. Not only does buying in bulk often cut down on cost, but it also generates less plastic waste than buying smaller pre-packaged items. 
  • Assess the situation. Do a bin audit of your home or office to help you determine what is being thrown in the bins the most. Analyze what’s in your trash and recycling bins to figure out where you can improve.
  • Clean a beach! Find a local cleanup event where you can participate in teambuilding while removing plastic litter from the environment. Check out great sites like Volunteer Match to find local opportunities. 
  • Looking for more ways to participate in Plastic Free July? Go to PlasticFreeJuly.org to learn more. 

Remember: Tackling the plastic crisis successfully is not about one person practicing zero waste perfectly. It is about all of us practicing it imperfectly.

P.S. If you own a business that serves food, check out this helpful article by The Surfrider Foundation on how to reopen while safely using reusables.