Happy Plastic Free July! This month, Ocean Wise wants you to join us in taking action to #BePlasticWise in everything you do. Whether at home, at work, at the beach, out for dinner, clothes shopping – you name it.

Why is the issue so wide-reaching you may ask? Well, it turns out plastics are sneakier than we might think! They turn up almost everywhere you look, and even (especially!) where you don’t. 

Plastics are prevalent in our grocery packaging, take-out, clothing, cellphones, toys – and probably every room of our homes. They are also in our streets, landfills, waterways, and oceans – microplastics are even found in the air we breathe. 

Plastics are more than just a waste issue. They’re also an environmental justice issue and a human health issue (phthalates, bisphenols, PFAS – the list goes on!). 

Resource and fossil-fuel intensive production and manufacturing of plastics disproportionately harms communities of colour. Their mismanagement as waste creates impacts on coastal communities around the world that depend on clean and healthy oceans for their food, livelihoods, and culture. 

We each have a part to play, so what can we do? Kicking our plastic dependency isn’t easy, and going completely plastic-free for most people just isn’t possible (certainly not without massive #systemschange). BUT we are running out of time and we cannot let perfect be the enemy of progress. 

We CAN be smarter about plastics and together we CAN make a difference. 

That’s why being “plastic wise” is so important to our Plastics team at Ocean Wise. To us, this means: 

  1. Radically reducing and re-thinking where and when we use and accept plastic (only 9% of plastics in Canada actually get recycled – the waste hierarchy matters!) 

  2. Ensuring that the plastic that we do use is valued – staying in a circular economy, not tossed away (In Canada alone, $7.8 billion is wasted as a lost opportunity in the linear economy every year. Globally, that number rises to an estimated $80 – $120 billion USD.) 

  3. Working to #stoptheleak of harmful and unnecessary plastic from entering our Ocean (shoreline cleanups anyone? The Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup :: Ocean Wise & WWF)

Take your first steps now! 

  1. Sign the pledge and start your plastic challenge to uncover where, how, and why you use plastic in your everyday life. 

  2. Support a restaurant or food business in your community that is committed to #BePlasticWise or recommend one by letting us know on social @OceanWise if you don’t see your favourite spot

  3. Explore what Ocean Wise scientists are learning about microfibers and microplastics – and what you can do about it! 

  4. Sign up to lead a shoreline cleanup (learn how here

  5. Spread awareness! Share why you care and tell your friends and family what you are doing to #BePlasticWise this July  

To create real systems change, we also know we have to move beyond individual action. That’s why businesses are key parts of the solution too: 

Are you a… 

Want to learn more? Follow @OceanWise throughout the month to learn what you can do to join us and be part of the movement.  

Together, we can turn the tide on ocean plastic. 

Learn more at ocean.org/be-plastic-wise

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