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Zero Waste and Recology team up for Plastic Free July

Zero Waste Sonoma and Recology Sonoma-Marin are teaming up to promote a zero-waste lifestyle by encouraging Sonoma County residents to participate in Plastic Free July.

The Plastic Free July campaign was launched in 2011 by the Plastic Free Foundation to promote a lifestyle free from plastic waste.

The main target for the campaign has been single-use and disposable plastics. Plastic film, plastic food packaging and expanded polystyrene foam make up three of the top five most littered items in the U.S., along with cigarette butts and broken glass, according to a press release from Recology and Zero Waste Sonoma.

Recology is one of three waste haulers operating in Sonoma County. Zero Waste Sonoma is a regional government agency whose mission is to address the regional commitment of achieving zero waste by 2030.

“It’s important to participate in Plastic Free July, as so many plastics are manufactured to be single-use and disposable, which is a product design flaw for multiple reasons when striving toward sustainability and zero waste,” said Zero Waste Sonoma Executive Director Leslie Lukacs in the release.

About 326 million people across 177 countries participate in Plastic Free July, according to the two agencies. A 2020 survey done through IPSOS, an international market research firm, showed participants reduced their household waste and recycling by 46 pounds per person per year, 8.5 out of 10 people made their monthly changes permanent, and the combined effort of the movement resulted in 2 trillion pounds of plastic being saved every year.

The two agencies listed four separate ways in which residents can participate in Plastic Free July. The first is to join the movement directly and to take the challenge pledge.

The second is to plan a litter cleanup of a beach, river or neighborhood. Anyone who participates in a litter cleanup is encouraged to use the Clean Swell smartphone app or to take pictures to document their cleanup. Those who participate and document their actions are eligible to receive a prize at the “Story of Plastic” film screening on July 30.

Local experts will also be hosting a “Bye Bye Plastic” webinar from noon to 1 p.m. on July 19 to share their goals and methods to create a zero-waste environment as well as tips on how to eliminate plastic waste.

Plastic Free July will end with a 7 p.m. event at the SOMO Village Courtyard in Rohnert Park on Friday, July 30. The event is free.

Visit PlasticFreeJuly.org to take the pledge or join the webinar.

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