PF People: Andrea

Did you know that Plastic-Free YYC is operated by a group of dedicated and passionate volunteers?!
This team uses their unique, personal talents and their spare time to promote plastic-free living in Calgary! We asked our team to answer some fun questions so you, our audience, can see the real faces of Plastic-Free YYC…

Introducing Andrea!

1.Describe your PF-Superpower used to fight plastic pollution in our city?  In other words, what is your role with PFYYC?

I use the power of outreach and education as the Events & Communications Manager to inspire and empower individuals! You can find me facilitating workshops, writing blogs, and scheming of new and engaging ways to help Calgarians reduce plastic waste.

2. When you aren’t volunteering your super powers to fight plastic pollution, who are you? What are you doing?

I spend most of my free time moving – outside, I like to hike, cycle, and ski, and inside I climb, do yoga, and swim. You might also find me reading a book or practicing my trumpet for a community symphonic band. Working seasonally in environmental education for the past few years has also given me the immense privilege to travel to five continents where I’ve done some wild and wacky things like learn to use a machete at a permaculture farm in Nicaragua, ride a camel in the rain in the Sahara desert, and navigate a number of India’s holy (and polluted) cities. I am thrilled to return to my hometown of Calgary.

3. Being part of the plastic-free movement is important to me because:

I was floored when I heard about ‘plastiglomerate’, a term proposed by some scientists to describe a new type of stone made of molten plastic and natural beach sediment like rock and sand. Not only is plastic an indicator of our cultural values and lifestyle, it is becoming a permanent fixture in Earth’s geology. Being part of the plastic-free movement encourages people to be more mindful of their relationship with our resources on Earth, and we can then decide what the planet will be like in the future.

4. Going plastic-free is a journey. On a scale of 1 to 1,000,000,  1 being: you have heard a rumor that using plastic is so last year. 1,000,000 being: you live on another planet where plastic has never existed & Sea Turtles run the show.
How many steps have you taken? Describe in your own words where are you in your journey.

I’ve worked for years to reduce my waste. For instance, before there was a municipal compost in Calgary, I got a vermicompost (worm compost) to process my own food waste (and I’m happy to report the little wrigglers are still surviving!). In the kitchen, I use reusable packaging like glass containers and beeswax wraps, buy in bulk, and make my own energy bars. I’ve been making my own body lotion for about 7 years, use a shampoo bar, and buy powdered laundry detergent in a tin container. I use a steripen when traveling to purify water instead of buying plastic bottles. Despite these efforts, by no means am I perfect. I wish there were more options in the grocery store to buy plastic-free and I look forward to pressuring companies to make better decisions – in fact, I was recently featured on a CBC Marketplace episode featuring plastic in grocery stores.

5. What has been the hardest part of reducing your plastic waste? What was the easiest?

The biggest challenge is how companies can make packaging so cheaply that there is little incentive to be plastic-free. More companies need to be innovative and offer affordable, low- or no-plastic items. The easiest switch is re-using glass containers to hold dried food because you can see the contents.

6. Do you have an guilty pleasures – plastic items you still use- you want to share?

I always use plastic ziploc bags while camping and traveling because they’re so light.

7. What is your #1 tip or a piece of advice for our followers and fellow Calgarians who want to help reduce the plastic in their lives?

Remember that it is more important that most people try and half-succeed at being plastic-free, than having only a handful of people living 100% plastic free. Your commitment to a little planning to avoid plastic goes a long way.

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I'm a passionate environmentalist at heart. Striving to create a difference in my community and in my home to make the world just a little bit better.