Plastic-Free July

“But isn’t July almost a memory?”

Well, yes. It’s almost the end of the month, and I’m sure your July has not been plastic-free. And actually, even if I had posted about this initiative three weeks ago, your month would not have been without plastic. Because plastic is everywhere. Actually everywhere. It has no final resting place, as you can read about in this piece on Undark.

“If we cannot avoid it, what’s this post all about?”

On this blog, my aim is to support your efforts in getting familiar with and stewarding your very local ecology, connecting with the species around you, appreciating their beauty, complexity, and functionality in the system that is life.

If a plastic shopping bag blew into that system – into your complex, functional, beautiful space – would you want it there? It could get tangled around something or something could get tangled in it. It might be ugly. It just looks like it doesn’t belong. It’s not serving a role in the ecology. In fact, it probably served any role for all of 10 minutes while its shopper brought home the items it carried.

Today I ask you to think about the greater ecology. The ecology of the planet as a whole.

Imagine it tangled up in shopping bags, mulched with water bottles and shower gel pumps, bestrewed with to-go clamshells and straws. Do we want this?

For one day – a day of your choice in those remaining of the month – try to live without single-use plastic. You’ll probably have to think ahead a bit. You might need to modify your lunch plans. It’s likely you’ll catch yourself reaching for something that has to be put back on the shelf.

If you find yourself unable to avoid the plastic, the challenge is to find another way to use it. Give it a role beyond the transient one it had. Because it will be here with us, pretty much forever, so it better earn its stay. (And no, it won’t be recycled. Read about that myth here and tell your friends.)

I welcome you to make a comment on this post at the end of your plastic-free day. Was it easier or harder to avoid single-use plastic than you thought it would be? Do you have a reuse, repurpose idea to share for the plastic that could not be avoided? What brilliant ah-ha! did you have about using something else to fill plastic’s role in your life?

One day. For the ecology we all share. For the whales, for the seabirds, for the turtles, for the oxygen-producing marine bacteria. You’ve got this.