The effects of single-use plastics are well documented. They include climate change, adverse health impacts, marine degradation, and the Great Pacific Garbage Patch to name a few. These problems stem, in large part, from our inability to effectively recycle common plastics. While the pandemic may have reduced our overall levels of household consumption, online shopping, along with disposable packaging, has increased during COVID. So has demand for environmentally harmful products such as to-go containers and disposable PPE.
To help combat the plastics crisis and raise awareness, the Emily Carr Library will participate in Plastic Free July. This international initiative, now celebrating its 11th anniversary, attracted more than 325 million participants last year. As participants, we will monitor our single-use plastic consumption within the library and identify ways in which we can either reduce, or preferably eliminate, these products from our operations.
Mesh Produce Bag
Staff will also participate on an individual basis and discuss ways to eliminate single-use plastics. For example, carrying a tote bag and reusable mesh produce bags may help significantly reduce plastic consumption. Reusable mesh bags are available at Gourmet Warehouse, the East End Food Co-op, the Granville Market, LocalBoom, Choices Markets, and other local retailers. Stay tuned as we share more tips as well as library resources on our Instagram page throughout the month.
If you would like to participate in Plastic Free July we encourage you to visit their website and sign up. Don’t worry if it sounds daunting, you can participate in several ways. You can avoid single-use plastic packaging; target the four main offenders (bags, bottles, to-go cups and straws); or, eliminate plastics altogether. You can also choose to participate for one day, one week, all month, or, on an ongoing basis.
So go ahead and give it a try, even if it's just taking an extra fifteen minutes to drink your coffee on a patio rather than getting it to go. It might actually be kind of nice!
Below are a few related resources to help get you motivated and inspired: