This month CuriOdyssey is celebrating Plastic Free July! This is an international initiative that began in Australia with a mission to become “a global movement that dramatically reduces plastic use and improves recycling”.
While plastic is a super-convenient product that has shaped our modern lives, it has been over-used and we now rely on it for too many things, viewing it as a disposable and unlimited resource. Cutting out plastic where it is unnecessary, especially single-use plastics, will go a long way in reducing the plastic waste and the amount of plastic in our environment and bodies.
Some things about plastics that you might not know:
- Plastic breaks up, not down- most plastic never disappears, with 79% of the 8.3 billion tons produced since the 1950s still sitting on our planet in landfills and out in the environment (Geyer et al., 2017).
- Most plastic is not recycled (National Geographic), and even when it is recycled, it can only be successfully recycled a couple of times before it is no longer useful (unlike aluminum, which can be recycled infinitely).
- Many plastics ‘escape’ from bins, trucks, events, etc. to become ‘accidental litter’ and often end up in waterways and the ocean – where scientists predict there will be more tons of plastic than tons of fish by 2050.
- They increase our eco-footprint – plastic manufacturing consumes 6% of the world’s fossil fuels, which is a limited resource and creates heat-trapping gas emissions that contribute to climate change in the production process.
So what can we do about this? So many things! CuriOdyssey is committed to promoting environmental stewardship, to both our staff and guests. Here are a few things that we have done to decrease single-use plastics in our lives:
- We do not sell plastic water bottles in our gift shop. Guests are welcome to purchase a reusable water bottle from our gift shop, or bring their own water bottle and fill it up at our filling station in the shop, free of charge.
- Our Wildlife staff needs a lot of produce to feed our animals, but we have said “No thank you” to plastic produce bags in our weekly produce delivery.
- You might have known that our Gift Shop sells cups of coffee/tea to our guests, but we now offer compostable K-cups! Plastic K-cups, used only once and then disposed of, can easily pile up in landfills, so we are making sure to provide a more eco-friendly version of your favorite cup of coffee!
- Staff are taking on challenges this month to decrease our use of single-use plastics, including using our own coffee mugs at the coffee shop, packing plastic-free lunches, and encouraging our vendors to use less plastic packaging in their products.
Stay tuned for more ideas this month on how to cut out single-use plastics, or just check out the official site for Plastic-Free July! https://www.plasticfreejuly.org. Support us, support our community! Donate or view upcoming CuriOdyssey events here.