For the uninitiated, the Plastic Free July movement invites people around the world to reduce their plastic footprint, but also – and more importantly – to advocate for plastic-free options where they live, work and travel.
Summer can be a difficult time to undertake a low-plastic lifestyle when so many people are traveling, eating out and buying items on the go. But the point of “PFJ” isn’t to make consumers suffer, nor is it meant to be a solo exercise. The point is to band together and send a message to the plastics and petrochemical industries which says: “We won’t try, buy or rely on products that pollute our water, our air, our communities and our children’s future.”
Sustainable Saratoga wants to use its voice to send that very message, and this Plastic Free July will do so by joining forces with leading advocacy group Beyond Plastics. Through online education and activism, Beyond Plastics has cultivated and activated a grassroots movement of over one hundred local groups and affiliates in the U.S. and beyond. As a new Beyond Plastics affiliate, Sustainable Saratoga will expand its zero waste efforts to include plastic-focused initiatives, using guidebooks and resources designed by the Beyond Plastics experts for communities like ours. From supermarket take-backs to corporate letter-writing campaigns to environmental justice rallies, we now have proven ways to fight upstream plastic sources, and without solely relying on consumers to do their best (an increasingly difficult ask!).
Our decision to adopt the Beyond Plastics mission and principles comes at an important time. During the pandemic we witnessed an explosion of protective plastic products, leading to new consumer norms and less sustainable business practices. In New York State, a promising bill called the Packaging Reduction and Recycling Infrastructure Act aims to reduce plastic packaging by 50% in 12 years time, and has over 50 Assembly co-sponsors. As with the climate crisis, aggressive timeframes are needed, as the generation of new plastics continues to double every fifteen to twenty years. Yes – half the plastic on Earth has been produced in the last 20 years!
If statistics like that scare you, or if you simply want to find out more about the plastic pollution crisis, please reach out to us and our Zero Waste committee by contacting email@example.com. We will have opportunities to take action at the local, state and national levels, and now – thanks to Beyond Plastics – Sustainable Saratoga will have expert guidance for beating back plastic pollution where it originates. Join us as we seek a cleaner, more sustainable and more just future!
Launched in January 2019 by Judith Enck, former E.P.A. Regional Administrator under President Obama, Beyond Plastics is a nationwide project based at Bennington College in Bennington, Vermont, that pairs the wisdom and experience of environmental policy experts with the energy and creativity of grassroots advocates to build a vibrant and effective movement to end plastic pollution. We use our deep policy and advocacy expertise to build a well-informed, effective movement seeking to achieve the institutional, economic, and societal changes needed to save our planet, and ourselves, from the negative health, climate, and environmental impacts of the production, usage, and disposal of plastics.