Plastic Free

As consumers in our modern world, we may like the convenience that plastic offers, but it's important to know that 99% of plastic comes from fossil fuels, making its production one of the biggest contributors to the climate crisis. Single-use plastics like bottles, straws, bags, and utensils stick around long after you use them and break down into an unmanageable amount of microplastics. 

The average person ingests about a credit card's worth of plastic each week! Here are some other disturbing plastic facts:

  • Though we think of it as disposable, plastic takes centuries to break down. That iced coffee in a plastic cup that you had this morning, tossed, and already forgot about— sadly, it's going to be around for hundreds of years.
  • You say, “It's all good, I put it in the recycling bin,” but the unfortunate truth is that less than 30% of plastic is recyclable, and often only 1-3% is actually properly recycled. Most plastic products you see are made from virgin plastic, meaning produced as new, having never been used or processed before.
  • Many of us have heard the infamous expression that by 2050 the amount of plastic in the oceans will outweigh the fish. It's a fact.  Do you really want your plastic shampoo bottle to be floating out there alongside the dolphins?

Join the 350Brooklyn Plastic Free Team to help us create impactful campaigns and advocate for the reduction of plastic production and waste on the legislative level. We were active in the coalition that won the NY Plastic Bag Ban and the NYC Polystyrene Ban, proving we can make these changes through the legislative process. Join us and put your talents to work helping to stop Big Plastic in its tracks!

350BK member Jan in plastic bag skirt at Farmers market, asking supporters to sign the petition for a plastic bag ban.

350BK's Plastic Free Team is actively lobbying and engaging with our legislators on the local, state and federal levels to enact legislation that furthers the goal of plastic waste reduction.  The Plastic Free Team seeks to dramatically reduce the manufacturing of plastics and enable viable alternatives through legislative means. We are also advocates of non-violent campaigns and direct action that promote consumer behavioral change to further reduce plastic waste.

Here is some pending legislation that we actively support:

 

Federal Level 

The Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act (Senate bill #3263 , House bill #5845)

This new bill offers the most comprehensive and effective set of solutions to the growing plastic pollution crisis. This bill is aimed at making producers of plastics more responsible for plastic clean up and reuse, instead of placing that burden on the public. Urge your members of Congress to co-sponsor it!

 

State Level

We Want Reusables Petition (https://www.change.org/wewantreusables)
Member Ben Kogan created this petition to show state-wide businesses that New Yorkers support the transition to reusables for restaurants, entertainment venues, office spaces, parks, and supermarkets.

 

City Level

Plastic Straw Ban (Int 0936-2018)

This City Council bill prohibits single-use plastic beverage straws and beverage stirrers. This bill is critical to help further other city-wide plastic reduction measures. Currently held over in committee, this bill has yet to come to floor for a vote.   

Prohibit Non-Reusable Utensils (Bill 1775-2019)

This City Council bill would require food service establishments to only provide non-reusable utensils upon request for dine in, take out, or delivery. Currently held over in committee, this bill has yet to come to floor for a vote.  

 

Our Campaign Work 

BYOX Campaign

New York City recently passed a law banning the distribution of plastic carryout bags. While this is an important step in reducing our single-use plastic consumption, there is still so much more that can be done. Try making the pivotal habit of remembering to bring your own bottles, reusable bags, utensils, straws, and food and beverage containers whenever you'll need them. 

We created postcards for establishments to distribute reminding customers to bring their own…(fill in the blank!)

Break Free from Plastic - July Pledge 2020

350BK created this campaign for the dual-purpose of promoting consumer behavioral change and providing targeted action to promote manufacturer responsibility and pass meaningful legislation. This campaign promotes coalition building, culminating with an online lobby meeting with your members of congress. 

The campaign also asked supporters to sign up to receive weekly email tips and actions they can take. A Facebook group allows participants to share personal tips and openly discuss the challenges of going plastic free.

Below are resources to help you learn more about the destructiveness of single-use plastic and how you can use less of it in your own life.

 

Support local zero-waste businesses

See our Green Living section for our tips on plastic free shopping.

  • Package Free in Williamsburg is committed to avoiding single-use plastic and disposable products to the best of their ability while offering everyday household and hygiene products. Package Free also has in-store bins for collecting customers non-recyclable items to be disposed of in a responsible manner - learn more about this program here.  
  • IXV Coffee in Boerum Hill is a zero waste coffee shop  where owner, Jenny Cooper, has a small rack of vintage clothing and a mission to change consumer habits.
  • Plaine Products offers shampoos, lotions and other personal care items shipped in containers that are reused. Customers ship back their old containers with a free prepaid shipping label to get refills. 350 Brooklyn receives 20% off.
  • Rain:Living in downtown Brooklyn offers many refillable options for personal care products.
  • Lovewild Design in Williamsburg sells personal care products and household products.
  • CupZero provides reusable cups if you’re planning a large gathering or event.

 

Tips for a plastic free living:

Once you start to consciously remove plastic from your life, you’ll start to notice it’s far-reaching presence everywhere - even in the cell phone in your hands! Swap to an eco-friendly cell phone case.

 

Here are some recipes to make your own products:

 

Helpful links to continue learning:

 

Great books to read:

Sign up below to join the Plastic Free team and stay updated about our meetings or actions. See the Our Work tab for more about the variety of projects we have been focusing on, including legislative lobbying and campaigns promoting going plastic free.

You can reach us at 

 

By 2050 the amount of plastic in the oceans will outweigh the fish