In Week Two, we’ll tackle one of the biggest challenges to reducing plastic use: shopping, since plastic packaging is so ubiquitous. Scientists estimate that there is around 100 million tons of debris drifting in the oceans, and that most of it is disposable plastic packaging, containers, and plastic bags.

That’s why our Week Two Challenge is to explore how and where to shop plastic-free! Before we get started with the challenge this week, we have a special offer for YOU!
Throughout the month of May, mention you are taking Eco-Cycle's Reduce Your Plastic Use Challenge , and receive 10% off your purchase at Refill Revolution and Simply Bulk Market !
Reducing plastic use can be challenging, but here are two businesses that are cheering you on!
Your one-stop-refill-shop for all of your household cleaning and body care products.
Refill Revolution's goal is to help others reduce their waste by offering bulk refills, reusable products that replace single-use disposable products, and products that are sustainably packaged that will not contribute to the landfills.

Come by Refill Revolution in Boulder during the month of May and receive a 10% discount for taking the challenge.
You pay only for high quality, all-natural or organic products...not single-use packaging.

Bins and barrels greet customers as they walk in the door, containing more than 500 different bulk food items! More than 100 jars of spices, 16 varieties of beans and 18 varieties of rice share shelf space with cereals, nuts, trail mix and all-natural treats .

Visit Simply Bulk Market in Longmont during the month of May and receive a 10% discount for taking the challenge.
You’ll save money, reduce waste, and avoid plastic packaging by buying in bulk! Food, beauty, and cleaning products sold in bulk are typically cheaper than packaged ones (often 30% cheaper) and can be bought in the quantity that you’ll use, helping to reduce waste.

Food packaging accounts for 23%-- or about 39 million tons a year -- of the waste we generate in the United States... and cosmetics packaging makes up the industry’s highest environmental footprint as most beauty products are almost exclusively sold in plastic bottles and containers. This holds true for most cleaning products, too.

Look for specialty bulk stores in your area, or visit a natural food grocery store—most of them have a bulk section (meaning items sold without any packaging, allowing you to reuse your own bags and containers). 
Boulder County Farmers Markets and farm stands are a wonderful way to buy fresh, local produce and support farmers and the local economy. Most vendors at farmers markets skip the tiny stickers on fruits and veggies found at mainstream grocery stores. Bring your own tote, but remember your produce bags, too!

Some produce, like berries and grape tomatoes, are sold in small plastic crates, even at farmers markets. Simply pour these items into your own produce bag, and hand the plastic crate back to the farmer for reuse. They’ll thank you!

If you live near farms, consider a CSA. When you become a member of a CSA (community supported agriculture), you're purchasing a “share” of fresh grown vegetables from a local farm, which is available for weekly pick-up .

To see a list of CSAs in Boulder County, click here. 
In this challenge, try substituting items that typically come in plastic packaging for ones that are packaged in glass and aluminum, which, unlike plastic, are infinitely recyclable…or, look for items that come with no packaging at all!

For example, condiments like ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, and honey often come in plastic bottles, but come in glass jars, too. Beverages like soda, juice, and teas are available in glass bottles or aluminum cans. Canned fruits and vegetables come in containers lined with plastic, so try buying fresh fruits and veggies instead.

You may not be able to eliminate all plastic food packaging, but swapping plastic for more sustainable packaging where you can really adds up.
Some food items are just so hard to find without plastic packaging. Try making your own! Click here for a variety of recipes for common food items that too often are only sold in plastic packaging , including energy bars, granola bars, crackers, bread, and hummus.

P.S. – Have a great plastic-free recipe to share? Join our Reduce Your Plastic Use Challenge Facebook group and share!
Meet up on Facebook!
Want to add an extra level of support and accountability during this challenge? Join the Reduce Your Plastic Use Facebook Group ! Share your progress, ask questions, and interact with others taking on the challenge.

You can also submit questions directly to Eco-Cycle through this form . We'll try to respond within 24 hours!
Week Two Giveaway
To shop plastic-free (or darn close), you'll need a set of produce bags to help you avoid plastic bags and packaging. This week, we’ll be giving away 5 sets of produce bags in a variety of sizes, PLUS a special gift from Boulder County Farmer's Market!

You're automatically entered to win giveaways each week.

If you signed up for the challenge on or before April 30th, you're also entered to win the full Zero Waste on-the-go kit!
Eco-Cy cle is a 501(c)(3) nonp rofit social enterprise. All revenues generated are invested in programs to advance Zero Waste communities in Colorado.
Questions? Contact us!