Plastic-Free Newsletter – Vol. 5 June

June has been another busy month between festivals like Vegfest and Feed the 5000, the Amazing Trash Race, and not to mention our friendly competition with our neighbours in Edmonton – the Last Straw Campaign.

Last Straw Campaign Update

The Last Straw is an initiative to encourage bars and restaurants to go straw-free on July 14, 2018.  It is a movement, born out of the desire to shift perspectives and behaviours, in order to reduce plastic waste produced in the hospitality industry.  In true Albertan fashion, Plastic Free YYC and Waste Free Edmonton have challenged each another to see which team can get the most restaurants and bars in their city to go straw-free to earn the title of Alberta’s 2018 Last Straw Champion!

Both teams have been working hard, reaching out to hospitality industry leaders to join the movement. Our teams are promoting a Straw-On-Request service, asking participating establishments to ensure they have straws (preferably sustainable options) on-hand for those who do need them.

Check out this amazing piece of art, created and designed by the talented team at WAX a design // advertising agency here in Calgary. Thank you!!

Designed and created by the amazing team at WAX (

We have also been collaborating and developing a conversation with groups like the Disability Action Hall to ensure our campaign is inclusive and gives all Albertan’s a voice. Going straw-free (aka Straw-on-Request) is not meant to exclude, it is meant to bring us all together as a community, for the health of our oceans, our food chain and ultimately our own health. We are so glad to have such a diverse voice behind this cause!

As the campaign progresses we have had many questions about plastic straw alternatives. We are pleased to share we have developed a sponsored partnership with Straw Hut Co. a local straw supplier, helping businesses make the eco-friendly switch from plastic single-use straws to more sustainable alternatives such as paper straws, PLA straws, and stainless steel straws. They also have an amazing selection of sustainable and reusable straws (at great prices) for individuals on their website: . During the campaign, when businesses  place an order and mention Plastic-Free YYC, they receive a discount and a portion of the sale will go to our cause!

Learn more about the Last Straw Campaign here.

Our Sponsor: Naked APE Apparel

Naked Ape logo braceletAt the beginning of June, Naked Ape Apparel became our first sponsor, as a portion of their sales will be donated to Plastic-Free YYC. These precious gemstone bracelets are also adorned with lava rock which can absorb your favourite essential oil! Support PFYYC by purchasing yourself or your loved ones these stunning gemstone bracelets.

Naked Ape Apparel began out of a love of gemstone bracelets and wanting to give back to the community, between two friends. The name “APE” came to be as we knew our passions were with Animals, People, and the Environment – it was a perfect fit!

Support PFYYC by purchasing yourself or your loved ones these stunning gemstone bracelets, along can be found on their website here.

Festivals, Events, and Races! 

The Amazing Trash Race was on June 2 to showcase that our beloved city is not immune to litter and waste issues. There were over 40 participants that joined the digital race to clean up their neighbourhoods using the Litterati App. Our amazing racers picked up more that 1300 pieces of trash, most of which were plastic items and cigarette butts. Although picking up trash is rewarding by itself, the racers that collected the most amount didn’t go home empty handed. We had incredible prizes from fantastic local business like Watch Station, Splat and Co., Reworks Upcycle Shop, the Apothecary, and Bow Valley Straws.

The Bow River Basin Council meeting was held on June 13, and our very own Water Research Expert, Nisha, had the chance to present to a group of people ranging from Bow River Basin management, committee members, industry professionals and guests. She joined in a discussion about tracking the amount and types of plastic in the Bow Basin and also gave a presentation on what Plastic-Free YYC is all about, our initiatives and actions we are a part of. The response was positive and we look forward to collaborating in the future with the Bow River Basin Council.

Feed the 5000 was held on June 15, a festival raising awareness about the amount of food waste that is commonplace in our society. 5000 lunches were prepared for Calgarians with the food that would have otherwise ended up in the landfill. Plastic-Free YYC was there to talk about how plastic food packaging plays a role in food waste as we tend to buy more than we need when it’s packaged.

Vegfest was held on June 16, this was Calgary’s 2nd annual vegan lifestyle event. The PFYYC team attended to discuss the harm plastic waste has on animals, our environment and our health. Between plastic ingestion and entanglement, plastic is not animal friendly and simply put is not vegan! Our team also collected hundreds of signatures for our Ban the Bag petition and met so many great Calgarians, despite the rain.

Best Bar None is a volunteer accreditation that recognizes excellence in Alberta’s nightlife. It was hosted by the AGLC on June 19. City of Calgary Councillor, Druh Farrell, opened the evening with a great presentation on the Last Straw Campaign. There is still enough time to join – email for more information.

Team News

We are very excited to introduce three new members to our team.

Katja Lemermeyer as Youth Ambassador Program Manager. Katja is passionate about engaging with youth about sustainability. She will be heading off to McGill to study economics and environmental studies, until then, she is delighted to be in Calgary giving momentum to the environmental cause and meeting like-minded people.

Joining our team from afar, Michelle Cong, LEED Green Associate, LCA (Life Cycle Assessment) Researcher, and Sustainability Consultant. Michelle joins our team remotely from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, sharing her passion and expertise in carbon accounting and environmental life cycle assessment. Her research helps our cause with relevant,  accurate data on plastics in our world.

Janelle Loughlin, CPHR, BBM, brings her expertise in recruitment, talent acquisition, and human resources to our growing team.  She joins our team as our HR Specialist, assisting with team development and talent recruitment.

Plastic-Free YYC is always looking for passionate, talented contributors to join our team. Janelle is here to help find them. For current roles, click here!



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