August 7, 2020 – The past few months have been discouraging for those working to live a sustainable lifestyle. Due to the current health crisis, disposable face masks and gloves can be found littering parking lots, single-use plastics are on the rise and most businesses no longer accept reusable cups and containers for takeout. Thankfully, July brought the Plastic Free EcoChallenge to reignite awareness for the plastic problem and to offer opportunities for people to create small changes that have a huge impact for our shared planet.
For 31 days, participants joined the “SF Teaching Zoo Zero Wasters” team, and pledged to take actions every day to reduce their plastic consumption. This year, the team finished in seventh place out of 381 teams around North America! Collectively, the team saved up to 801 pieces of plastic cutlery, 245 plastic straws, 311 plastic containers and 272 plastic bottles from the landfill. They picked up almost 400 pieces of litter, signed 29 environmental petitions, and spent nearly 2500 minutes learning about plastic consumption!
This year, community partners offered amazing opportunities for the participants. Life Unplastic gave discounts on their plastic free products and bulk items and The Repurpose Project hosted a free screening of “The Story of Plastic” with a post-screening Zoom discussion. Gainesville is lucky to have organizations continuously working to reduce waste and educate our community.
Congratulations to everyone who participated!