The average person living in North America consumes about 220 pounds of plastic each year, mostly in the form of packaging. It is not too often that we stop and think about the amount of plastic we use every single day. Whether it be water bottles, shopping bags, or food packaging- we are constantly using and throwing away single use plastic. This waste spreads to our communities and beaches, harming wildlife and deteriorating our ecosystems. Plastic Free July is helping to bring awareness to this plastic crisis while providing solutions and outlets for positive change.
What is Plastic Free July?
Plastic Free July is a global movement that helps millions of people be part of the solution to plastic pollution—so we can have cleaner streets, oceans, and beautiful communities. Participants are encouraged to refuse single-use plastics for the month of July, hopefully instilling habits that will last after the month is over. Plastic Free July has inspired over 250 million participants in 177 countries since its creation in 2011. This month is all about educating with a positive attitude, encouraging communities to create new and sustainable habits, while bringing awareness to our own personal plastic footprints.
At the local level, check out The Big Green Initiative and everything they have to offer. Owner, Cora Good, started her plastic free journey when she participated in Plastic Free July for the first time in 2018. After successfully completing the challenge and realizing how much plastic was apart of her every day life...it was "incredibly overwhelming" says Cora.
"I decided to look at the challenge as my new lifestyle and to start to slowly find alternatives to the plastic that was encasing the products I use on a daily basis. We started with bamboo toothbrushes followed quickly by a shampoo bar and a coconut husk dish brush. This journey has been incredible and we are still learning how to live with less waste every day."
Cora noticed a lack of plastic free alternative products available in our sweet town of St. Augustine and decided to open a pop-up eco-shop to bring her favorite products into more homes to tackle plastic pollution at the source. The Big Green Initiative was born in July of 2019 and has quickly grown into 4 fully stocked "micro-shops" in different sides of town located inside some amazing local businesses, giving our community access to zero waste products 7 days a week.
BGI and WSMS believe that small changes can lead to big impacts and it always starts at the local level and within our own communities. "Making one small plastic free swap at a time, you are raising the bar towards a more sustainable lifestyle. Becoming an eco-warrior is simple. By making these small changes, you are peacefully fighting to better our planet & protect it's precious resources. Thank you for all your efforts, they truly do make a big impact & together we will change the world for the better." (Cora Good, BGI)
What can you do?
Anyone can be a part of Plastic Free July. The movement provides resources and ideas to help you reduce single-use plastic waste everyday. Here are just some of the ways that you can be plastic-free this July:
- use a reusable coffee cup
- use a reusable water bottle
- choose glass options over plastic
- buy fruits and veggies that aren’t packaged in plastic
- bring your own reusable bags when shopping
- refuse plastic straws and use reusable ones
- avoid using household products that are packaged in plastic bottles
- make your own household cleaner and DIY beauty products
- buy bulk or loose food (grow your own)
- store your food in reusable containers and bags
- participate in park or beach clean-ups
- Go thrifting (check out the WSMS Vintage Digs Nook full of second hand clothing)
- UPCYCLE IT
Check out the Plastic Free July mini video series presented by BGI
What is the WSMS Surf Stop doing?
The WSMS Surf Stop is always working towards being as sustainable a business as possible. We offer a large gently used and upcycyled selection in our Vintage Digs Nook, as well as using post consumer recycled paper bags and tags (we also reuse all our tags), also offering a wide array of sustainable products such as our reusable water bottles, coffee tumblers, tote bags, and most of our brands/product offer some sort of eco-friendly or sustainable efforts including Where Salt Meets Soul, Raw Elements, Indosole, Slowtide, Nomadix Towels, Rhythm, Conner Hats, Karma the Label, and more! Have you checked out our boardshort selction? Our Katin and Quiksilver boardies are made with repreve fabrication, constructed out of recycled water bottles. We also have NE. FL based swim brands Label B and Anna Grace swim, small batch swim made with eco-friendly or deadstock fabrics- offering fashion forward suits that don't suck for the planet. Our newest eco-friendly brand is Ocean Grade sunglasses, with frames that are made out of 100% bio-degradable wheat straw material. This material holds the strength and flexibility of plastic, but will degrade in the ocean/soil within 2 years. Colors are created using plant-based inks and dyes making this a super rad plastic frame alternative (only $25). The Stop also hosts monthly beach cleanups and has community clean up buckets available everyday. Stop in, grab a bucket, fill it with trash and return in exchange for a 15% off card for the shop. Clean beach= happy ocean.
WSMS x The Surf Stop 5th of July Beach Clean-Up
On July 5th, the WSMS Surf Stop held a post 4th community beach clean-up. Community cleanup buckets, as well as biodegradable bags and gloves were provided to participants. We could not go out to the beach as a large group like we normally would due to COVID-19, so we encouraged our crew to spread out in small groups along the beach, focusing on firework debris and microplastics. Even though fireworks are technically illegal to have and set off on the beach, that unfortunately didn't stop many folks and our dune lines were trashed with firework debris...which is both heartbreaking and alarming. While this clean-up did look different for us, over 30 community members came together to keep our beaches clean and our crew ran into a few other awesome individuals who were out there on their own doing their part to clean up the forgotten 4th messes. Thank you to everyone who came out to help and who continue to do their part to keep our beaches clean!
Even if you can’t fully commit to a totally plastic-free life, we encourage you to take some baby steps and try just one of the ideas mentioned above! By doing your part, our beaches and communities will be able to thrive without plastic pollution. For more information on Plastic Free July and how you can help, visit www.plasticfreejuly.org.