Did you know that only 9% of the 6.3 billion tons of plastic waste we have created has been recycled? 12% has been incinerated and the rest has ended up in landfills or more commonly, our natural environments. That’s why this is such a great challenge to be a part of. Reducing our plastic usage, especially single-use plastics, must be part of the solution too.
Plastic has become an issue in the last 70 years. In the last half of the 20th century, over one billion tons of plastic was produced. In the 19 years of the 21st century, that figure has doubled. Plastic photodegrades, which means it breaks down smaller and smaller, but never truly goes away. Plastic is collecting in our oceans and being consumed by animals, where it clogs their stomachs, leading to malnutrition and starvation, but it also poisons the animals by leaching chemicals.
Inspired by the Australian-founded initiative and co-hosted by Calgary Zoo and the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, Plastic Free July is a 31-day challenge to reduce and refuse single-use plastics, such as disposable cups, straws, bottled water or pop, etc. The Akron Zoo staff is taking the challenge - will you join us?
It may not seem like refusing a single plastic straw or pick up one piece of litter is going to change the world. But when everyone joins together and begins to do these small actions, it makes a big impact on our environment.
Choose the "Akron Zoo - Our Community" team. After you join, pick whatever challenges you want to take on for the month of July. There are six different categories to pick daily or one-time challenges from and an option to create your own plastic-free challenge. Choose challenges like skipping the straw, planting a garden, trying a bamboo toothbrush, or making your own household cleansers and earn points for each challenge you do. Those are just a few examples of the 60+ challenges to pick from. So, take on as much as you’d like and remember to have fun with it!