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Plastic Free July pledge not easy, but rewarding

Marisca tries to make some easy and sustainable swaps this month

The month is half way through but I’m just discovering that there is a campaign going on in July aimed at reducing plastic. Many people have taken the Plastic Free July Pledge and I’m jumping on the band wagon late. But better late than never?

In my opinion, the easiest plastics to stop using are grocery bags. Most stores don’t even carry them anymore so if you forgot your reusable bags, you’ll have to buy a paper one or stick everything into your purse and pockets. The hard part for me is remembering my reusable produce bags. I always end up using the plastic ones for my loose vegetables and fruit. This month, I’m committed to bringing my reusable produce bag to the grocery store. I’m hoping this habit sticks and will continue past the month.

The problem with plastic bags is that they start out as fossil fuels and end up as waste in landfills and the ocean. Animals often mistake them as food and the toxic debris ends up in their stomachs. Scientists estimate they take 400 to 1,000 years to vanish but no one really knows because they have only been around since the 1930’s. Our world has become so reliant on them. They are so easy to use, I get it. But I don’t want something kicking around for longer than I’ll be alive. Most of the plastic bags I’ve used, I’ve only needed for a couple of hours, maybe even a couple of minutes. Now they will sit in a landfill for years.

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I visited ReJar Zero Waste for the first time this week. The store, in the alley behind the kitchen store and sushi bar, is a bulk organic store that focuses on reducing waste and providing customers with organic and eco friendly products. The idea is that shoppers bring in their own containers.

Store owner Emilie Schmidt has been giving tips on going plastic free this month on her social media pages. The first suggestion she made this month was to get some reusable cutlery.

“Take it with you to work, keep a set in your car for when you’re on a road trip and bring it with you on hiking and picnic trips,” she suggested. “Keeping things like this handy helps makes things more convenient so you’re less likely to be tempted to pick up disposable options.”

I ended up buying some bamboo toothbrushes and beeswax wraps to replace my plastic wrap.

This store is a great place to stop using plastics but the Farmer’s Market is also an excellent place to grab fresh produce and baked goods without all the unnecessary packaging.

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It isn’t always easy going plastic free but it is rewarding. No one has to go totally plastic free either, just making a few swaps this month is a great start. Bring your own travel mug to the coffee shop to get filled up, use a glass water bottle, buy a bamboo toothbrush, try reusable food wrap and swap out your pens for pencils.

Getting kids involved in this plastic free pledge is also fun and children, at least mine, are great at holding adults accountable. They also seem to have better memories than most grown ups.

I’ve asked my seven year old to remind me to bring our reusable grocery bags, including the produce ones, when we go shopping.


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Marisca Bakker

About the Author: Marisca Bakker

Marisca was born and raised in Ontario and moved to Smithers almost ten years ago on a one-year contract.
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