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Julie McGrath's avatar

Julie McGrath

SF Teaching Zoo Zero Wasters

"Working to make a difference one piece of plastic at a time. "

Points Total

  • 0 Today
  • 0 This Week
  • 1,896 Total

Participant Impact

  • up to
    1
    community events
    hosted or attended
  • up to
    2
    documentaries
    watched
  • up to
    2
    conversations
    with people
  • up to
    240
    minutes
    spent learning
  • up to
    3
    plastic bottles
    not sent to the landfill
  • up to
    141
    plastic containers
    not sent to the landfill
  • up to
    150
    pieces of plastic cutlery
    not sent to the landfill
  • up to
    65
    plastic straws
    not sent to the landfill
  • up to
    1
    waste audits
    conducted
  • up to
    56
    zero-waste meals
    consumed

Julie's Actions

Family

Swap the Snacks

I will swap out 2 prepackaged snacks a day for fresh fruits or veggies.

COMPLETED 31
DAILY ACTIONS

Food

Buy Unpackaged Produce

I will purchase produce items without plastic packaging, making sure to wash them well before using them.

COMPLETED 31
DAILY ACTIONS

Lifestyle

Support a Sharing Economy

I will create or support a sharing economy with family, friends, and neighbors.

COMPLETED 31
DAILY ACTIONS

Food

Cook a Zero-Plastic Waste Meal

I will prepare 1 meal(s) at home each day without using any items packaged in single-use plastic.

COMPLETED 31
DAILY ACTIONS

Food

Start Composting

I will start a compost collection at home, work, or school.

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.

Completed
One-Time Action

Family

Use Reusable Baby Wipes

I will make better choices for the environment and my baby's bum by using reusable baby wipes most or all of the time.

COMPLETED 31
DAILY ACTIONS

Food

Use Reusable Utensils

I will keep 7 plastic cutlery out of the landfill per day by using my own reusable cutlery.

COMPLETED 31
DAILY ACTIONS

Food

Use Reusable Containers

I will only use reusable containers instead of single-use plastic storage items (such as plastic wrap, single-use sandwich bags).

COMPLETED 31
DAILY ACTIONS

Community

Learn about the Harms of Plastic Production

Plastic production, not just disposal, pollutes communities and harms people. I will learn about the impacts of plastic production on humans, animals, communities, and the environment.

Completed
One-Time Action

Community

Tour A Waste Management Facility

I will spend at least 20 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.

Completed
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.

Completed
One-Time Action

Community

Host a Watch Party

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

Completed
One-Time Action

Community

Share My Actions

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

Completed
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

Family

Glass Bottle Baby

I will replace 1 plastic bottles with glass or stainless steel alternatives.

Completed
One-Time Action

Family

Learn about Environmental Injustice

Using the action resource links below, my family will spend 20 minutes learning about environmental justice, causes of environmental injustice, and how plastic waste disproportionately impacts already vulnerable communities.

Completed
One-Time Action

Family

Discover Together

I will spend 20 minutes educating my family on the basics of living a reduced/no-plastic lifestyle.

Completed
One-Time Action

Lifestyle

Proper Bioplastic Disposal

I will spend at least 30 minutes researching how to properly dispose of bioplastics in my city and share this information with 2 friends, family, and/or colleagues.

Completed
One-Time Action

Lifestyle

Watch a Documentary

I will watch a documentary film about waste with family and friends and talk about what we learned.

Completed
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.

Completed
One-Time Action

Food

Say No to Plastic Bags

If at all possible, I will not accept any disposable bags when making purchases, including produce bags.

COMPLETED 31
DAILY ACTIONS

Food

Skip the Straw

I will keep 2 plastic straw(s) out of the landfill per day by refusing straws or using my own glass/metal straw.

COMPLETED 31
DAILY ACTIONS

Lifestyle

Travel Toiletries

If traveling, I will reuse my old travel tubes to refill with my soaps or only bring bar soaps with me in a TSA-approved reusable quart-sized bag.

Completed
One-Time Action

Lifestyle

Travel Eating

If traveling, I will bring my own snacks and meals in my own containers to avoid the waste of take-out containers.

Completed
One-Time Action

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

Personal Care

Say No to "Flushable Wipes"

Wipes don't break down in sewer systems, but combine with fat to create massive clogs. I will find alternatives to using disposable wipes.

COMPLETED 31
DAILY ACTIONS

Personal Care

Practice Sustainable Fashion

I will spend 15 minutes learning about the costs of fast fashion and begin trying to practice sustainable fashion in my own life.

Completed
One-Time Action

Personal Care

Fresh as a Daisy

I will use deodorant either from a bar or a jar or I will make my own.

Completed
One-Time Action

Family

Get Rid of Glitter

I will teach my little ones about microplastics while we do a craft project together using glitter alternatives.

Completed
One-Time Action

Feed


  • Julie McGrath's avatar
    Julie McGrath 7/31/2021 6:38 PM
    Don't get discouraged in your plastic-free challenge.  It takes an adjustment and it is a process.  I have been taking this challenge for a few years now and have become more aware of my actions and families actions.  Each year I participate, I become more active and aware than I previously had been. We often will slip out of practice after a few weeks or months of completing the challenge, so it is a good reminder when we participate again the following year.  Through our repetitious practice and interactions with others, we will continue to make a difference, even if just 1 straw at a time.  

  • Julie McGrath's avatar
    Julie McGrath 7/31/2021 6:23 PM
    K-Cups: have a stock of disposable K-Cups that you don't want to throw away (or a co-worker who uses them)?  There are plenty of uses available on the internet. A few of my favorites are: 
    • Crafts: paint them for decorations; cover the hole at the bottom and kids can use for paint; cut vertically from the top about 1/2" and fold over to create a "flower" look, this can be used to "paint" with, or can be painted (and look like a lion or flower).
    • Gardening: They can be used to start seedlings for plants. Some have recyclable filters that can be repotted. (Also, I have read that used tea and coffee can be used as a fertilizer).
    • Educational: Number/alphabetize the outside for small kids to use-place in order; learn math +-=; sorting cereal colors (Fruit Loops, Trix).
    I purchased a reusable K-Cup at Bed, Bath & Beyond.  I can use my own coffee at the strength that I prefer, and only have the used coffee grounds to dispose of. These can actually be incorporated into gardening/composting as well, so no waste!  Using honey in tea and coffee as a natural sweetener instead of sugar is also an alternative that is supportive of the environment. 
  • Reflection Question
    Lifestyle Watch a Documentary
    Which documentary did you choose to watch? What did you learn?

    Julie McGrath's avatar
    Julie McGrath 7/31/2021 6:17 PM
    I watched "More Than Honey", which presented the death of bees at an alarming rate, which is due to industrialization, crop pesticides, and agricultural practices.  I learned the importance that bees play in our world, such as local honey is best to ingest to help fight off allergies, because the local honey is made from local flowers (pollen) which is what triggers allergies. 
  • Reflection Question
    Lifestyle Proper Bioplastic Disposal
    What concerns you the most about how we are affecting the planet? Consider both local and global actions.

    Julie McGrath's avatar
    Julie McGrath 7/31/2021 6:15 PM
    The plastic that gets into the ocean, is a huge concern.  Animals are eating the plastic, we are eating the contaminated animals, animals are dying which is reducing the population for food consumption.  Then we also have global warming.  Just the past few months of natural situations: extremely high record breaking temps out west/"cooking" the fish in the PNW ocean, earthquakes, floods, weeks on weeks of rain (Florida), and melting giant icebergs are just a few examples.  We need more people to be aware, step up and take action before it is too late for our later generations. 
  • Reflection Question
    Lifestyle Complete a Waste Audit
    What did you learn about the waste you create? Where can you reduce the most?

    Julie McGrath's avatar
    Julie McGrath 7/31/2021 6:12 PM
    It is eye opening to see how much waste is created.  I wish I could convince my family to get on the same page and help with minimizing the waste we create.  Our most frequent waste that we collect is from to-go food.  Often restaurants use plastic containers for to-go orders, and don't combine multiple orders of the same item into 1 container. (Such as 2 people order the same type of salad, use 1 container for both instead of 2 containers).  If we actually ate at the restaurant or cooked at home, this would immensely help minimize to-go packaging.  In addition, if we order smaller amounts (to share meals), then we would have lest packaging as well. 
  • Reflection Question
    Food Use Reusable Utensils
    How can you be an advocate for using reusables instead of disposables for the rest of your community? Where are they currently dependent on disposable food packaging or eating utensils, and how can you convince them of the need for change?

    Julie McGrath's avatar
    Julie McGrath 7/31/2021 6:08 PM
    Even when take out orders include disposable utensils, I hide them from my family to encourage them to use our home utensils.  At the office, I have a set of utensils, drink ware, bowl and plate. Whenever I eat lunch, I use my reusable dishes.  When we have work luncheons, everyone sees me using my reusable dishes.  I have hopes that it will encourage their own investing instead of using one-time resources.  I choose to take the to-go utensil packets and donate, such as to a friend who hosts parties throughout the year, or to where I teach for students to use.  This minimizes the purchasing of additional utensils, and instead of us just throwing them away at home, they are at least being used.  We often aren't able to stop the restaurants from putting them in our to-go bags until we get home and see them. 
  • Reflection Question
    Food Start Composting
    Do an inventory of how much food waste you would save from going to the landfill if you start composting all of the time. What are the added benefits of having compost that is readily accessible?

    Julie McGrath's avatar
    Julie McGrath 7/31/2021 6:03 PM
    We eat out frequently, and some members of my household don't like eating leftovers very often.  Therefore, there are times we discard a decent amount of leftover food from our fridge.  I could only imagine how quickly this would add up for composting.  I'm not a very "earthy" person-don't spend much time outside or with plants/flowers, nor is anyone in my household, so a compost at my home is not realistic.  I believe having compost easily accessible at home would be great for someone who would be able to use it.  I do however, bring fruit I am discarding to a co-worker who does have a compost that she can add to her pile.
  • Reflection Question
    Family Learn about Environmental Injustice
    What did you and your family learn about environmental justice? What questions came up for you? What feelings?

    Julie McGrath's avatar
    Julie McGrath 7/31/2021 5:57 PM
    We learned that there are companies out there who support and encourage environmental justice, by not testing on animals, planting trees when other natural resources have been used, and using natural products that are healthy and safe for people and animals.  Some are even edible (not that they would taste good), but wouldn't be harmful if swallowed by a person or animal.  

    Questions we thought about were why so many other businesses don't take this approach?  Is it too costly?  What is the cost of doing good for the environment and for humankind?

    Feelings:  a bit unsettled.  Obviously not happy, but more confused and concerned why so few companies participate and are actively concerned about the environment.  
  • Reflection Question
    Community Host a Watch Party
    How does hosting a watch party help you to get to know your guests, connect them to the cause you are focusing on, and build your community?

    Julie McGrath's avatar
    Julie McGrath 7/31/2021 5:48 PM
    Hosting a watch party encouraged the conversation to start.  It introduces a support system of comrades and are people you can go to with questions, for guidance or to additionally support. 

  • Julie McGrath's avatar
    Julie McGrath 7/30/2021 6:12 PM
    Looking for great environmentally safe and all natural body products?  Beauty Counter is where I purchase my facial and body care items.  As my current make-up supply runs out, I have been replacing them with their products.  They have a "never list", which means they will never use the harmful list of chemicals in their products that are damaging to the person or the environment.  In addition, they have partnered with recycling programs to help the consumer on how to properly dispose after finishing a product.  And it is run by strong women!   https://www.beautycounter.com/faqs.  Here is the link to a great rep and to shop on the website:  https://www.beautycounter.com/lindseybrownsberger/contact. When you sign up, you get 20% off your first purchase!    Code: CLEANUPHLXP7.  If you have trouble with getting your discount, reach out directly to the rep and mention my name.