Summertime in Northern Michigan

It’s finally summer in Northern Michigan! Time to hang at the beach, play in the sunshine, and explore all the wonderful local shops. With all of the outdoor activities planned with friends and family throughout the month of July, BARC is here to encourage you to make small changes to support a Plastic Free July.

How Can I Make a Difference?

“The United States throws away $11.4 billion worth of recyclable containers and packaging every year… and throw[s] away 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour – about 42,000 per minute, or about 695 per second.” – Rubicon Blog

There are so many alternative ways to shop, pack for trips, exercise and enjoy your big events while substituting long lasting products for one-time-use plastics. BARC is here to help you make the switch and reduce the amount of waste in our communities.

How We Can Omit One-Time-Use Plastics:

    • Bring reusable bags to the grocery store. Instead of wrapping your fruits and veggies in the plastic produce bags, set them in your reusable bag. Onya‘s website has great options for reusable produce bags and offers “Zero Waste Kits” available with all the reusable supplies you may need to get started with Plastic Free July.
    • Bring refillable water bottles to your trip to the beach or on your run through the park to illuminate plastic waste. If your reusable water bottle is taking up too much space in your bag, try a collapsible water bottle
    • According to, Starbucks cups are not recyclable, leaving 4 BILLION cups in the landfills EACH YEAR. Instead of using a non-recyclable cup for your coffee order each morning, try bringing your thermos from home for the coffee shop to refill! You can still support local businesses while simultaneously reducing the use of plastic cups and lids. Want to try something new? Try a collapsable coffee cup from Stojo!
    • Refuse the plastic straw! While eating out at your favorite local restaurant or grabbing a smoothie to cool down, we don’t think about the amount of waste one-time-use plastic straws can create. Companies such as Life Without Plastic are promoting reusable straws that you can keep in your bag! Instead of refusing straws entirely, these stainless steel straws come with a cleaning and carrying case so your straw can be reused again and again!
    • Ditch the plastic wrap and plastic bags for your produce and leftovers and try Etee’s wraps made with 100% biodegradable and natural materials.

How Can I Begin?

Changing your daily habits isn’t always easy, but some changes are DEFINITELY worth doing. Here’s how you can start living a plastic free lifestyle:

    • If you are a beginner: You can select ONE item to eliminate all month long. This could be plastic straws, grocery bags, or disposable plastic water bottles. Start to make it a habit to use your reusable products.
    • If you are up for a challenge: Commit to subtracting FIVE one-time-use plastic items from your daily routine (grocery bags, produce bags, straws, water bottles, coffee cups, plastic silverware, plastic wrap, plastic cups, etc).
    • If you are an expert: Avoid ALL disposable plastics for the whole month!

Wanting More Info?

Water Docs has a helpful website showing a list of ten plastic products we can eliminate while providing simple solutions to fill their spot.

Plastic Free July’s “What You Can Do” page offers some more tips to get started at work, school, your next event or simply at home. For videos, available products, and more ideas on how to make the switch to a plastic free lifestyle, check out the official Plastic Free July website.