Klean Voices: A Successful #PlasticFreeJuly

Klean Kanteen’s non-profit outreach manager, Caroleigh Pierce, just took on the #plasticfreejuly challenge. We asked her to share what her experience was like and give us some tips on how everyone can adopt a plastic-free lifestyle.

Over the past almost seven years that I’ve worked at Klean Kanteen, I’ve learned a lot about the single-use plastic problem and seen first-hand what our trashed oceans and waterways around the globe look like, thanks to our wasteful practices and struggling infrastructure. I’ve also learned that the majority of that waste comes from single-use bags, bottles, straws and fast food packaging.

When I received an email from my friends at The Story of Stuff Project inviting me to participate in the #plasticfreejuly challenge, I was excited to take it on. I already practice a ton of plastic-free tips and tricks in my everyday life, so this was going to be EASY PEASY. Or was it?

On the first day of July, I was ready to go. The #BringYourOwn kit I always carry with me consists of a Klean Kanteen bottle and 10oz stainless steel cup, a To-go Ware silverware set, a stainless steel straw, reusable bags by the buckets and a washable to-go container for my takeout. I’ve also made it a habit to not accept single-use plastic and styrofoam cups and containers. When I don’t have the proper tools for the job I end up in tough situations and potentially hungry or thirsty, so I always come prepared!

Although my plastic free practices are pretty solid, I decided to do a couple things different during this month to challenge myself. The first was to try to refuse any and all plastic packaging, even when shopping for my three teenagers and husband. Talk about a challenge! I found it easiest to shop at farmers markets where I brought my own bags and purchase meat wrapped in compostable paper from the local butcher shop.

The second thing I decided to do was to spread the word about #plasticfreejuly to others. I typically try not to boast about my plastic-free lifestyle, but not this month. “NO straws for the table please,” or “I don’t use plastic or foam containers” and “It’s plastic free July!” The response was amazing! People wanted to listen and learn.

Although it’s now August and the #plasticfreejuly challenge has officially and successfully ended, my single-use plastic-free lifestyle is alive and well. I will continue to improve my practices and share tips and tricks with others. We can only make this world a better place together. It’s the little steps we take that can create big change when we #BringYourOwn and #skipthestraw.