Plastic is responsible for 80% of marine debris, affecting species via entanglement, ingestion and habitat destruction, and it raises alarms for human health with microplastics found in drinking water, food and our bodies, according to Ocean Wise.
Those numbers are reflected by the Canadian government's plan to ban six single-use plastic items like checkout bags, cutlery, hard-to-recycle food containers, ring carriers, stir sticks and straws. It is expected to eliminate more than 1.3 million tonnes of hard-to-recycle plastic waste and 22,000 tonnes of plastic pollution.
Save-On-Foods and Ocean Wise are doing their part by celebrating Plastic Free July and raising awareness around plastic pollution with the #PlasticChallenge.
“It is critical that we all do our part to protect our environment,” said Darrell Jones, president, Save-On-Foods, which has been working to reduce plastic pollution for more than 30 years. “The choices we make can play a critical role in what ends up in our ocean.”
The duo is encouraging Canadians to take the Ocean Wise Plastic Challenge to learn about plastic waste at home and how to reduce it in four steps:
- Audit waste by sorting through trash and tracking items on the Ocean Wise Plastic Challenge data card.
- Share findings by submitting data online and using the hashtag #PlasticChallenge to tell people what you found and learn ways to reduce waste.
- Reduce waste by learning how to lessen your plastic footprint.
- Check progress by continuing to audit your trash to see where you’ve improved and what work still needs to be done.
The challenge runs all year and is the focus of a national social-media campaign throughout July. “[It] is one of the easiest tools you can use to determine what your household’s plastic footprint is,” said Lasse Gustavsson, president and CEO of Ocean Wise.