Poster describing the Plastic Free Challenge

New year, no plastic!

It’s no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic caused an increase in plastic pollution in 2020, which is why we have some big plans underway for 2021. To kickstart this work, we organized our first ever New Year Plastic Free Challenge!

From January 15th to 29th, challenge participants were asked to BOSS plastic out of their life:

B – Bring your own bag(s) and refuse every single plastic bag

O – Opt for a reusable face mask

S – Skip plastic straws

S – Stop using plastic cling film and start using reusable containers instead

Daily challenges inspired those looking to take their plastic free pledge a step further. These included conducting a plastic audit of your life, cooking a plastic free lunch, or making a DIY all purpose cleaning spray

How did the challenge go?

One of our participants put it perfectly:

“The pandemic has set us back in our plastic-free mission in so many ways, but it has slowed life down and afforded individuals the opportunity to evaluate their consumption habits and spend the time learning new ways to live more sustainably.”

Charlene, another participant, shared this picture of her zero waste lunch.

“Our “zero waste” journey began in late 2018, and one of the biggest changes we made was to start shopping in bulk. In 2019 Bulk Barn let us bring in our own containers to shop for our dry goods. I LOVED it! It was cheaper, brought less garbage into the house, I could buy that 1 tbsp of random spice that I needed for that one random recipe, and loved the way my pantry and fridge looked with all those glass containers.”

Routine’s like Charlene’s changed once the pandemic hit. Charlene continued to shop through curbside pickup at Bulk Barn, but received their goods in plastic bags. Instead, she collected all the clean plastic bags into one size about the baseball and put that in the blue bin for recycling. While the pandemic has disrupted many of our plastic free practices, it’s important not to be discouraged! Doing what we can is still better than doing nothing at all. 

Overall, our amazing participants also raised $1,100 to further the work of plastic waste reduction. 

Thank you

A huge thank you to everyone who participated in, donated to, or shared our challenge! Your support will go a long way towards fueling our waste reduction work. Thank you also to all our generous sponsors:

Without Co. & Little Plastic Footprint, two fantastic stores located right here in Calgary that offer all the essentials for zero waste living.

Nikki Collette, a super talented wedding and portrait photographer based in central Alberta. 

Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, has a robust sustainability program and has taken significant action to reduce plastic consumption.

  • In 2018, Fairmont hotels eliminated plastic straws from all restaurants. Compostable straws are now available upon request.
  • In 2019, Jasper Park Lodge eliminated plastic water bottles from all guest rooms. Guests are encouraged to drink the fresh tap water sourced straight from Lac Beauvert and purified at the hotel’s on site water treatment plant – making it some of the cleanest water in the world!
  • At the end of 2020, Fairmont & AccorHotels replaced all single use plastic cups with reusable or compostable options.
  • AccorHotels has pledged to remove 100% of single-use plastics from all 5000+ hotels worldwide by 2022.

~Mackenzie & Andrea