Sign the pledge! How you can join local eco-friendly businesses in the plastic-free July movement

Sign the pledge! How you can join local eco-friendly businesses in the plastic-free July movement
Copyright 2019 CNN
More than 180 nations, not including the U.S., agree to reduce plastic waste trade.

If you’ve been looking for ways to get involved in the zero-waste movement, now is the time. For the entire month of July,120 million people around the world are taking part in Plastic Free July.

The cause isn’t as intimidating as it sounds.On Plastic Free July’s website, people can take a pledge to participate in a variety of ways. You can pledge to observe the challenge for just one day, one week, the entirety of July or for July and beyond.

So what does this mean? You can pledge to reduce your plastic in a few different ways: you can avoid single-use packaging, you can avoid the “big four” (plastic bags, water bottles, straws, and coffee cups), or you can aim to go completely plastic-free.

You can pledge to make these changes on a personal level, at your work, at your school, at an upcoming event, in your community, or anywhere else you are involved.

Lauren Montelbano is bringing the movement to her business, Fitchburg’s Surya Cafe. But for Montelbano, it’s not a one-month movement. She tries to not use any plastic products year-round. That means drinking out of metal straws, packaging leftovers in biodegradable to-go containers, and encouraging people to bring their own containers

“We are just all connected, and the decisions I make in my personal life and my business can really impact the rest of the planet,” said Montelbano.

“I think running a business without plastic is more of a mentality. It definitely impacts your bottom line as a business owner, but then you need to lower food costs or raise the prices.” For example, Montelbano said her business uses to-go containers anyway; she just switches what they’re made out of.

“We can’t continue using Styrofoam and things that don’t biodegrade because we’re ruining our planet,” she explained.

“It’s always been something in my periphery. I couldn’t not do it. It didn’t make sense for me to see the number of containers we go through, the number of straws we go through, I couldn’t be okay with putting it in a landfill and knowing it’s going to stay there for hundreds or thousands of years.”

You can learn more about Montelbano and her Surya Cafe here.

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