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Plastic Free July and Beyond....

By Nicole De Santis

There has been a lot of news lately about the dangers of plastic. Microplastics are being found in humans, animals, in waterways and the air. There is a lot of research currently being conducted to determine just how dangerous this is for the health and well-being of the planet, and the humans and non-human animals and creatures that inhabit the earth. 

Hearing about the dangers of plastic and plastic pollution can be scary. Let’s face it, plastic is all around us and has become extremely hard to avoid. 


According to Greenpeace, it is estimated that 12 million metric tons of plastic enter our ocean each year, and 99% percent of plastic Is made from fossil fuels such as fracked gas and oil. 

So aside from the potential health risks that plastic presents, there is a huge environmental risk as well.  

According to the group Beyond Plastics, less than 6% of plastic waste is recycled and the other 94% is disposed of in landfills, burned in incinerators, or ends up polluting our ocean, waterways, and landscapes after being used just once, often for mere minutes. The plastic recycling process itself is wasteful, with 30% of collected PET bottle plastic material disposed in the recycling process. 


July has been declared “Plastic Free July” by many environmentalists. But the reality is if we are going to save the planet, we all need to be environmentalists! We cannot recycle our way out of the climate emergency, we need to refuse, reduce and reuse whenever possible. 

So how can you reduce your plastic use this July and all year long?  

See some actions you can take below! And contact Think Zero for help with all your waste reduction and diversion questions. 

Individual Actions 

  • Carry your own reusable cup! Individuals can easily make the switch to reusables to minimize the number of single use cups that end up in the trash each day (most disposable coffee cups are lined with plastic and are not recyclable) 

  • Carry a reusable bag (keep one in your bag or car so you always have it on hand) 

  • Say no to plastic straws 

  • Carry a reusable water bottle 

  • If you forget your reusable water bottle, do not purchase drinks in plastic, instead opt for drinks in aluminum, which is highly recyclable (but be sure the can gets in to the recycle bin) 

  • When buying groceries and produce, try going to farmers markets or shop at stores that do not wrap fruits and veggies in plastic 

  • Do you live in the NYC area? Consider going in person or getting delivery from Precycle the package free grocery store  


Office Actions: 

  • Do a competition in your office and challenge your co-workers to reduce their single use plastic consumption: Plastic Free July Challenge 

  • Consider eliminating unnecessary single use plastics (and other single use items) in your office: switch to reusable cups, plates, utensils and more 

  • Ordering takeout? Consider Deliver Zero who sends food in reusable containers 

  • Having an office event? Be sure to serve drinks and food items in reusables, consider a company like Cup Zero who can provide reusable cups, plates and more for your next event 

  • Consider teaming up with Think Zero and Oceanic Global to get Blue Verified in your office (The Blue Standard is an acknowledgement of plastic reduction and sustainable business practices) 

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