The past month has been about connecting with community and finding “our people”. We have also been busy researching, discussing, planning and preparing an effective strategy to help reduce plastic pollution and our reliance on single-use plastics within our community. We achieved this by attending conferences such as the 2018 Alberta EcoTrust Environmental Gathering to connect with environmental, industry, and non-profit leaders; hosting and attending local events to connect with our community; collaborating with other non-profits to build partnerships; and liaising with municipal leaders to spark the conversation. We are well on our way to implement significant change in our community! Stay tuned! For now, here’s a recap of some of the exciting events our team has enjoyed.


World Water Day

March 22 marked the 25th annual World Water Day. As advocates for clean waterways, it was important for Plastic-Free YYC to take part in the conversation. Plastics are not only killing wildlife in our oceans, but as they break down and deconstruct, they contaminate our drinking water. With new studies being released on the micro-plastics in our rivers and lakes, and our drinking water, it is more important than ever to find ways to protect it. (micro-plastics found in Lake Winnipeg)

Our team attended the CAWST Paint It Blue event hosted by TELUS Spark where we were inspired by the innovative solutions created by the passionate minds of the Wavemakers youth group. This program provides youth with the awareness and tools they need to take action on global and local water and sanitation issues. The youth presented their water projects and sparked inspiration throughout the room! One inspirational project included a rain garden at a local Calgary school where the students created a unique filtering system to keep garbage and contaminants in run-off and rain from entering the watershed. Read more about CAWST’s Wavemakers and their projects here.

We also attended an invigorating presentation hosted at SAIT where Olivier Mills, Director at CAWST and a long-time passionate activist for clean water worldwide, spoke about the importance of having access to clean water. He spoke to his experiences throughout the world, working with different cultures to implement achievable solutions, noting that finding solutions for clean water is rarely about the technology used, that the solution is found with the people: what the can do, what they know about their home and their desire to have clean water for a better quality of life. His efforts have helped many gain access to clean water and by sharing his stories, he is demonstrating how small changes here at home can make a difference too.

To complete our World Water Day celebrations, we hosted our own meetup with a special guest Dr. Ymène Fouli. She shared her perspectives on the global water crisis and the role sustainable soil management plays in the preservation of our limited freshwater supply. She shared the findings of her extensive research on soil and its imperative relationship to water as “nature’s water filter”. .  Thank you to all those who attended our March Zero Waste Meetup, with a special nod to our two new friends from Our Positive Planet, Rachael and Carlene.

To view Ymène’s presentation click here:  The Global Water Crisis – Perspectives
You may contact her with any questions at ymene@enviro-scientist.ca


Tradesies – A Clothing Swap

Green Calgary hosted us for our Tradesies, clothing swap event this past Thursday where guests were able to find new spring outfits while learning about the negative effects of fast fashion from sustainability consultant, speaker and writer Emilie Maine. Emilie enlightened the group on the concepts of creating a circular economy as opposed to the linear one we are currently living in. By participating in a clothing swap, or using a consignment store or buying used clothes online, we begin to create a circular economy. For instance, by giving a shirt a new owner, that shirt doesn’t end up in the landfill. Instead it gets re-used for yet another life cycle. The new owner of that shirt is also able to avoid buying a brand new shirt and the energy used to make it! The action behind reusing clothing is a strong tactic in fighting against fast fashion.  To learn more about fast fashion check out Emilie’s website. Read about her fantastic work and about Fashion Revolution Week, a global movement calling for greater transparency, sustainability and ethics in the fashion industry.

We also have to thank Green Calgary for their space and support to make this event a success. To learn about upcoming events at Green Calgary please visit their website.

We had a lot of interest in our swap and want to host more.
Provide share your opinion in this 1 min survey about options for another Tradesies event, click here.


 Team News & Awards

Plastic-Free YYC is pleased to introduce two new members, Amy and Katelyn.

Amy Woermke joins our Board of Directors, as Director of Innovation & Creativity. She will guide our team on strategy and innovative ways to expand our reach and evoke change. Katelyn Puls brings her spirited, plastic-free passion to our team as our Communications & Marketing Coordinator. She started her plastic-free journey last year and bravely shared her experiences on her blog. We are thankful to have both of these talented ladies join us!

We are grateful and excited to share that Plastic-Free YYC co-founders Briana Loughlin and Isabelle Couture were presented with the Sustainability Award for Staff Leadership at the University of Calgary Sustainability Awards Ceremony earlier in the month. Briana and Isabelle were chosen in part for the work they do with Plastic-Free YYC, but also for their efforts to implement small changes within their offices on campus. These efforts included small, achievable changes like bringing re-useable coffee pods for the Keurig machines or glass food containers to replace single-use plastic bags. This goes to show that all small changes make a difference and are deserving of reward!

For more information about our team click here.

Upcoming Events

Thanks to everyone who attended our March events, as guests, speakers, volunteers or co-hosts! We have some great events coming up in April, including a family and dog-friendly riverside cleanup and our monthly Zero Waste Meetup, potluck picnic style!

Visit our events page for more information and to register, click here.

Plastic in the NEWS

The plastics crisis is more urgent than you know. Recycling bottles won’t fix it  –  UK, The Guardian, Mar 28, 2018

Your lifestyle is making blue box recycling unsustainable Canada, CBC News, Mar 27, 2018

Manitoba rivers feed 400M pieces of microplastic into Lake Winnipeg every year  Canada, CBC News, Feb 20, 2018

For more news click here…

By Briana Loughlin, April 2, 2018