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Claire Downs's avatar

Claire Downs

Maryland Zoo

"My mission this year is to tighten up old habits that have fallen to the wayside during covid, such as bringing reusable tumblers to get coffee, taking a reusable straw with my anywhere I go, and finding recipes to replace foods I buy in plastic packaging. I also want to try new things I never seem to get around to, like hosting a watch party, setting up composting at my house, and replacing all my cleaning products with plastic free alternatives."

Points Total

  • 0 Today
  • 0 This Week
  • 1,530 Total

Participant Impact

  • up to
    1
    advocacy actions
    completed
  • up to
    20
    disposable cups
    not sent to the landfill
  • up to
    3
    donations
    made
  • up to
    1
    conversations
    with people
  • up to
    95
    minutes
    spent learning
  • up to
    34
    pieces of litter
    picked up
  • up to
    5
    petitions
    signed
  • up to
    12
    plastic straws
    not sent to the landfill
  • up to
    22
    zero-waste meals
    consumed

Claire's Actions

Community

Prevent Recycling Contamination

Contamination prevents what is recyclable from being recycled. I will spend 30 minutes researching which materials are accepted by local haulers or drop stations in my community and recycle only those items.

COMPLETED 0
DAILY ACTIONS

Food

Cook a Zero-Plastic Waste Meal

I will prepare 2 meal(s) at home each day without using any items packaged in single-use plastic.

COMPLETED 15
DAILY ACTIONS

Food

Skip the Straw

I will keep 1 plastic straw(s) out of the landfill per day by refusing straws or using my own glass/metal straw.

COMPLETED 12
DAILY ACTIONS

Community

Host a Watch Party

I will host a watch party with friends and/or colleagues to watch and discuss a movie about plastics.

Uncompleted
One-Time Action

Community

Sign a Petition

I will sign a petition in support of a plastic reduction-related initiative in my state/province.

COMPLETED 5
DAILY ACTIONS

Community

Raise Money For a Nonprofit

I will raise money to support a nonprofit dedicated to plastic pollution reduction.

Uncompleted
One-Time Action

Community

Learn about Local Environmental Justice Concerns

I will spend 60 minutes learning about how plastic pollution affects members of my own community and how organizations in my community are working for change.

Uncompleted
One-Time Action

Food

Make My Own

I will try new recipe(s) or food preparation method(s) each day, such as canning, pickling, making yogurt, or baking granola bars or bread.

COMPLETED 3
DAILY ACTIONS

Food

Use a Reusable Mug / Collapsible Cup

If possible, I will avoid sending 1 disposable cup(s) to the landfill per day by using a reusable mug or bringing my own collapsible cup.

COMPLETED 16
DAILY ACTIONS

Community

Share My Actions

I will make my environmental actions visible by posting to my social media networks.

Completed
One-Time Action

Pets

Homemade Pet Treats

I will prepare my own pet treats to avoid plastic packaging.

COMPLETED 0
DAILY ACTIONS

Lifestyle

Travel Smart

If traveling, I will bring my own plastic free items (water bottle, grocery bags, collapsible food containers, utensils, straws, etc.) with me.

Completed
One-Time Action

Lifestyle

Homemade Cleaners

I will make my own cleaning products at home.

Uncompleted
One-Time Action

Lifestyle

Complete a Waste Audit

I will conduct a waste audit - including recyclables and compost - to understand how much waste I create and where I can reduce the most.

Uncompleted
One-Time Action

Community

Tour A Waste Management Facility

I will spend at least 60 minute(s) touring (virtually or in person) a local dump/transfer station, material recovery facility, and/or landfill to learn about our local waste and waste recovery streams.

Uncompleted
One-Time Action

Community

Give Some Green Gratitude

I will give a shout-out on social media to a local company, coworker, friend or family member for their plastic free or green efforts.

Uncompleted
One-Time Action

Community

Estimate My Plastic Consumption and Go #PlasticNeutral

I will visit the rePurpose website, complete the 3-minute plastic consumption calculator, and explore how I can reBalance my annual plastic footprint.

Completed
One-Time Action

Community

Join a Cleanup Effort

I will host or participate in a beach, highway, river, or other cleanup effort in my community that follows the CDC’s current guidelines for prevention of disease transfer.

Uncompleted
One-Time Action

Community

Keep My Community Clean

I will pick up 5 piece(s) of litter each day.

COMPLETED 11
DAILY ACTIONS

Personal Care

Back in the Bowl

I will purchase refillable beauty products.

Uncompleted
One-Time Action

Personal Care

Pretty oh so Pretty

I will purchase beauty products that are packaged in sustainable packaging.

Uncompleted
One-Time Action

Personal Care

Donate Zero Waste Period Products

I will donate 5 zero waste period kits to young people with periods so that they can reduce their waste and the financial burden of menstruation while continuing their education.

Completed
One-Time Action

Food

Ask My Favorite Restaurant to Reduce Plastic Use

I will talk to the owner or manager of a restaurant I frequent to request that they reduce their use of single-use and disposable plastics.

Completed
One-Time Action

Food

Plant a Garden

I will plant a herb or vegetable garden in my home, workplace, dorm room, or community garden using as little plastic as possible.

Uncompleted
One-Time Action

Food

Advocate For More Food Packaging Options

I will advocate for alternatives to single use packaging at local grocery stores, markets, or work.

Uncompleted
One-Time Action

Feed


  • Claire Downs's avatar
    Claire Downs 7/27/2021 9:20 AM
    We just pulled into first place, good job team!!!! Let's keep it up!!!!!
  • Reflection Question
    Pets Homemade Pet Treats
    How could you reduce your waste even further (i.e. by making pet treats out of kitchen scraps or about-to-go-bad produce)?

    Claire Downs's avatar
    Claire Downs 7/27/2021 5:10 AM
    My friend who is staying with me for the summer has a dog, and the dog loves lots of veggies. They're amazing treats!! I get rid of food scraps like the ends of zucchini and carrots, and she gets a healthy, delicious treat.

    One thing my friend has taught me though is to make sure that a food is safe for dogs before giving it to them. I never knew that garlic and onion was toxic, and even grapes can be.
  • Reflection Question
    Food Advocate For More Food Packaging Options
    Single use plastics have become normalized in our society to the point that most people don't see them as a problem. What would you say to a friend, colleague, or family member who may not understand why these disposables are an issue?

    Claire Downs's avatar
    Claire Downs 7/27/2021 5:08 AM
    I think the best way to connect with people is to ask them what happens to the waste after it goes to the trash. I think lots of people don't know or don't take the time to think about it, so rather than dictate to them, giving them all the information, and likely causing them to shut down, have them go through the thought process themselves. They will be more empowered and more motivated to make a change.

  • Claire Downs's avatar
    Claire Downs 7/26/2021 7:41 PM
    We're only 300 points down team!!!! WE CAN WIN THIS!!! 

    And save the planet too...that's the ultimate win.
  • Reflection Question
    Lifestyle Travel Smart
    How can/did you prepare to be successful in this action? Did you engage in conversation with anyone about your new habit?

    Claire Downs's avatar
    Claire Downs 7/25/2021 6:21 AM
    My grandmother always said, keep your passport up to date and your toiletries packed. I made myself a list of plastic free toiletries I would need, which included mini soaps and shampoo bars, travel size toothpaste tabs, a collapsible water bottle, and coffee tumbler. It is easier to be successful when I have everything thought out, purchased, and packed ahead of time.

    What I wasn't as successful in was packing plastic free snacks. Since I tend to make long drives overnight, I snack to stay awake, and I didn't prepare enough of my own snacks. That is something I will have to work on next year!

  • Claire Downs's avatar
    Claire Downs 7/23/2021 7:26 PM
    Here we go team!!! We've got 1 week to make up 3,000 points and we'll pull ahead. We scored 1,400 points today alone, I know we can do it!!!

  • Claire Downs's avatar
    Claire Downs 7/23/2021 7:25 PM
    One downside of shampoo bars...I put soap on my head when I wasn't paying attention 😅🤦🏼‍♀️
  • Reflection Question
    Food Plant a Garden
    Besides having access to fresh herbs and vegetables, what benefits will you see from growing your own garden?

    Claire Downs's avatar
    Claire Downs 7/23/2021 2:44 PM
    There are too many benefits to count! Obviously a beautiful garden is its own reward, it provides food for pollinators and (perhaps accidentally) rabbits, deer, and groundhogs, and it saves me money. Rather than spend $2 on a bundle of cilantro that I have no hope of using up, I can grab what I need when I need it. Plus, I can make my own dried herbs, so a) I don't have to buy them, and b) I don't have to buy glass/plastic bottles every time I run out of herbs.
  • Reflection Question
    Food Skip the Straw
    Have you noticed a shift in your community as more messaging about reusable straws becomes mainstream? Cite some examples.

    Claire Downs's avatar
    Claire Downs 7/22/2021 2:48 PM
    I find that more place still use plastic straws than I would expect. Sure, paper straws are less pleasant than plastic ones, but they're used for less than an hour. I also haven't found any place that uses metal straws the way they use metal cutlery. Straws are something that, while there has been some progress, are still frustratingly ubiquitous. Hopefully that will change quickly!
  • Reflection Question
    Food Ask My Favorite Restaurant to Reduce Plastic Use
    What was your strategy in talking with your favorite restaurant's management? Did you find it to be effective?

    Claire Downs's avatar
    Claire Downs 7/21/2021 8:09 AM
    One of my best friends owns a restaurant, so breaching the subject was the easy part. However, when I brought it up and framed it within the context of Plastic Free July, her response was, "Actually, there is a [covid related] plastic straw shortage. So making the switch to paper straws will be more economical right now anyway!" 

    It just goes to show how sometimes the hardest part is starting the conversation, and plastic free solutions often solve other problems.

    • Samantha Halter's avatar
      Samantha Halter 7/22/2021 7:14 AM
      Thanks for sharing! Hopefully this will be a permanent change for your friend’s business.