It’s Plastic Free July: Small Actions Spark Big Changes

TTF Admin
Jul 2, 2020

blue plastic garbage

This blog has been adapted from the Academy of Natural Sciences website.

July 2020: Reduce Plastic Use

crushed plastic bottles

40 Ways to Reduce Your Plastic

It’s Plastic Free July, and millions of people around the world are starting the month long challenge to reduce their use of plastics. Plastic Free July is a global movement begun in 2011 in Australia. It’s grown to be one of the most influential environmental campaigns in the world, and this month 250 million people in 177 countries are expected to participate.

We created plastic 150 years ago; we love it and depend on it. But plastic waste has become a global plague, one that industries and nations need to solve on a planetary scale. Individual acts alone can’t fix global ills, but the Academy believes small actions on a global scale CAN make a difference and that allows more energy to go into the search for solutions.

Consider taking the Plastic Free July challenge today. To get started, pick a couple tips that fit your lifestyle from the list below. Then share your tips or social and in the comments section at the end.

reduce plastic button

What are you doing to reduce your use of plastics?


Which plastic containers can be recycled in Philadelphia?

The majority of household plastic containers are recyclable in Philadelphia’s single-stream curbside recycling bin. This list of recyclable plastics is from our partners at Green Philly.

#1 – PET (Polyethylene): Soda and water bottles, condiment and peanut butter jars, etc.
#2 – HDPE (High Density Polyethylene): Milk, water and juice jugs, detergents, shampoo bottles, dairy product containers, flower pots, some household cleaners
#3 – PVC – (Polyvinyl Chloride): Rigid plastic containers and juice bottles, Charcoal lighter, mineral water, cooking oil bottles, etc.
#4 – LDPE – (Low Density Polyethylene): Plastic tubs and lids from butter, margarine or similar products, Fabric softener bottles, lotion & sunscreen containers, etc
#5 – PP (Polypropylene): Yogurt containers and deli trays
#6 – PS (Polystyrene): Plastic cups, plates and to-go containers (clear, rigid #6 only, NOT Styrofoam* products)
#7 – (Other plastic): Many mixed plastic containers and plastic products like ketchup squeeze bottles, syrup bottles, microwave containers

You can also download the Plastics Recycling Fact Sheet for more info.

DIY Powdered Laundry Soap

homemade detergent ingredients

Katie Marquardt, Manager of Membership and Appeals, makes her own powdered laundry soap for her family of two adults and one child. This recipe lasts her about three months.

Ingredients measured as dry cups

  • Scant 2 cups Arm & Hammer Washing Soda
  • 3 cups Borax
  • 2 cups baking soda
  • ½ cup LA’s Totally Awesome Oxygen Base Cleaner
  • 4 oz bar of Kirk’s Gentle Castile Soap, grated

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Add the finished product to a container with a tight-fitting lid.

We’re Walking the Walk

When we asked the Academy staff for tips to pass along to our readers, we were flooded with ideas. This one came from Carol Collier, the Academy’s senior advisor, watershed management and policy.

Check out, and We buy products from Loop. They come in reusable (not recyclable but reusable) containers. When we have finished using a bottle of laundry detergent, hand soap, Clorox wipes, etc. we send the bottles back in a shipping box they provide and say whether we want a refill of a certain product or not. It is the next big step past recycling. The company is in Trenton, N.J. and also started TerraCycle ( where you can recycle things like snack bags, the bag inside cereal boxes, toothpaste tubes, etc. There are pick up areas at the Weavers Way Co-ops.

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