Did you know that plastic can be found in most marine and terrestrial habitats, and on the seafloor of almost every ocean and sea? Plastic bags are some of the most common plastic items found in the environment worldwide, along with drink bottles, bottle caps, food wrappers, and cigarette butts (the filters of which contain small plastic fibers). Many of these items are also commonly found in Cincinnati’s watershed. And plastic doesn’t only harm animals, like African penguins, that get entangled in it or try to consume it; from production to disposal, the life cycle of plastics emitted 1.8 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2015 alone, contributing to climate change and thus harming both wildlife and people.
While the situation looks grim, the tides are beginning to turn against plastic. Zero-waste shops are on the rise, and a number of states have enacted legislation to ban or restrict plastic bags. We hope to keep the sustainability momentum going while keeping each other safe – that’s why the Zoo has decided to join the 2020 Plastic Free Ecochallenge, and you’re invited!
This challenge includes a variety of actions you can take once or daily to refuse and replace plastic throughout the month of July. Once you’ve picked your actions, you can visit your dashboard every day to log the actions you’ve completed. The Plastic Free Ecochallenge helps participants to not only form sustainable habits, but also track their progress and see the greater impact we’re having. We have created a team, which you can find and join here. Simply sign up and complete actions throughout July to earn points!
Feel free to also share your struggles and successes with the challenge in the team feed. If you’re already doing a great job of avoiding plastic bags, maybe push yourself a little further by avoiding plastic straws or packaging! For this year’s Plastic Free Ecochallenge, we have selected the following actions to highlight, but you’re welcome to look at all of the available actions on the platform and choose the ones that suit your personal goals best:
- Skip the Straw
- Use Reusable Water Bottles
- Say No to Plastic Bags
- Estimate My Plastic Consumption and Go #PlasticNeutral
- Share My Actions
- Reusable Face Coverings
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out at [email protected]. Together, we can make a huge impact by passing on plastic!