By the Bronxville Green Committee
July 19, 2023: Plastic Free July® is a global movement that helps millions of people take part in a solution to plastic pollution.
Plastic was a life changing invention; however, it has infiltrated everyday life in many unnecessary ways, specifically as single-use plastic. As we all know, the huge amount of plastic we use once and throw away is harming the environment and can negatively affect our health.
Unfortunately, we can’t recycle our way out of the situation. Our only option is to REDUCE our plastic use. The Plastic Free July® movement creates an awareness and a challenge to switch from everyday plastic items to non-plastic alternatives and to reusable products. Once you get started, you’ll see it’s not that difficult, and fortunately businesses are providing solutions that make it easier.
Here are a few ways to REDUCE your use of everyday plastic. You may already be doing some or all of these. If not, pick a few to get started this summer – small changes make a big difference and doing it together will have an even greater impact.
-Set up a water beverage station with water dispensers at your next summer get together! This small investment will quickly save you time and money by eliminating the need to buy individual water bottles. You can infuse the water with fruit or veggies for a nice touch – who doesn’t love cucumber water?!
-Use reusable plastic cups or acrylic glasses all summer, year after year.
-If using disposable serve ware, go paper instead of plastic!
-Looking to light your BBQ or citronella candles? Instead of buying plastic lighters that require continuous replacement, switch to a rechargeable lighter. It’s a reusable one-time purchase that’s always ready, plus it’s flameless and windproof!
-We all know to bring reusable shopping bags to stores (in fact it’s NYS law that stores can no longer provide plastic bags), but let’s also bring reusable produce bags. They are sturdier, often with drawstrings, making it easier to use than those thin plastic bags provided by the store. They can also be easily washed as needed.
-Compare items and choose plastic free packaging as often as you can – for example, put a lettuce head in your reusable produce bag instead of grabbing that big plastic clamshell of lettuce. Chances are the lettuce will last longer plus each purchase will add up to a big reduction in your plastic.
Laundry Detergent: This one small change is a big win! Switch out those big plastic bottles for laundry sheets or dry tablets. Those big containers contain mostly water. Are you using laundry pods with thin plastic film, thinking it’s a better alternative to the plastic bottle? There are growing safety concerns that plastic film does not break down in the waste and can be dangerous. Learn more here.
Making your own cleaning solutions is best, but we get that’s not in the cards for all of us. Instead, consider trying cleaning product solutions that provide “forever” bottles with easy-to-reorder cleaning tablets that come in plastic free wrapping. Just add the dry tablet and water and you’re set!
-Switch from plastic bottles of liquid soap, shampoo and conditioner to bar versions for another big impact. There are many options on the market now that don’t contain the harsh chemicals found in traditional shampoos. Try a few to identify your favorite!
-Almost all personal care items have a non-plastic, reusable alternative – from toothpaste tablets to washable cotton pads. Take a look at the next item you pick up and do a quick search on how to replace it.
Make a Sustainable Go-Bag to leave in your car! The bag should include the following reusable items or whatever you use often when on the go:
*shopping and produce bags
Lastly, a quick refresher on recycling plastics in Westchester:
-Residents can recycle #1-7 plastic (except #4, see next bullet) in our weekly curbside pickup. Rinse items and keep them loose in blue recycling bins.
-Film Plastic (#4 plastics) such as shipping bags from online orders, bread bags, dry cleaning bags, newspaper sleeves, and cling wrap should NOT be put out with your curbside pickup. These need to be recycled at a different facility. Consider starting a separate collection bin next to your other recycling receptables and start to see how much you collect – it’s shocking! You can drop off your collection at Acme here in Bronxville (just outside the exit door) or at any large retail store. See more information here.
For more information and tips, follow us and the Plastic Free July® movement @bxvgreencommittee and @plasticfreejuly.
The Bronxville Green Committee is a volunteer organization that is part of the Village of Bronxville. We work to propose and implement environmentally sustainable programs in our community. Visit our website to learn more!
The Bronxville Green Committee is a volunteer organization under Village government. We work with the Trustees and Village staff on programs that promote clean energy initiatives and sustainable ways of living. Our programs include The Bronxville Giving Garden, a community garden whose produce is donated to local groups; Take Back Day, when we collect items to be recycled; and Pollinator Pathways, which encourages adding native plants to our gardens. We believe everyone can make a difference by adopting simple, sustainable practices in daily life so we can work together to protect what we love -- our families, our homes and our town.