Plastic Free July Report: Greenwashing & Recycling Lies

The Ecology Center of Berkeley hosted Plastic Free July, which consisted of four events throughout the month. These events were aimed at increasing awareness of the detrimental effects plastic has on our environment and helping the community in reducing our climate impact.

FIRST: Chasing Arrows: The Truth About Recycling
The first event was a virtual gathering to watch the informative short film: “Chasing Arrows: The Truth About Recycling” that explained the recycling process. It also exposes the recycling industry for the greenwashing and lies it has marketed for years. According to the film, the real problem with plastic waste is not the consumers buying and using too much plastic, it is the companies producing so much of it that there isn’t a way to recycle all of this gross plastic waste.

“Reduce, reuse, then recycle: this was where recycling was intended to fit within the circular economy. Instead, the petrochemical and packaging industries have exploited this fundamental premise and used recycling as a cover to increase plastic production exponentially. The truth is: The onus for solving our plastic pollution crisis isn’t on recyclers; it’s on plastic producers. They are simply making too much plastic, most of which cannot be recycled.” –From the film Chasing Arrows

SECOND: Plastic Free Popup: Recycling 101.
The next event was a popup booth at the South Berkeley Farmers Market. The booth was staffed by members of the Ecology Center, who were available to answer your questions and provide information on basic recycle sorting.

THIRD: Road to Refill: A Walking Tour
Ecology CenterBuying in bulk and using reusable containers is becoming more widespread. Refill stations and stores have opened up around Berkeley. Community members are able to bring in their own reusable containers to these stores and fill them up with household products, such as laundry detergent, for a fraction of the price it would usually cost to buy a new bottle. One local company, The Re-up Refill Shop, visited the Ecology Center to demonstrate for the third event of Plastic Free July. The Ecology Center, itself, has set up a refill station for some basic products.

FOURTH: Neighborhood Clean Up
The final event was an organized neighborhood plastic litter clean up in Berkeley. Many community members gathered to help in the collection. Afterwards, the trash was sorted and data about which companies produced the plastic litter found in our neighborhoods, environment, and watersheds was collected.

Learn more about the Ecology Center HERE


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