How can we help our communities manage land pollution such as single use plastics?

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Even before the pandemic, single use plastic was a huge problem in our society. From our toothpaste packaging to plastic bags, this wasteful way of life has been ingrained into our economy. Cleaning up the waste and litter this leaves in our communities is a short term solution, and it won’t solve the problem. Instead, in our communities we could invest in long term solutions that are accessible and affordable, that will limit the use of single use plastics.

So what can we do in our communities to make a difference? For my Catalyst project I have researched and made an infographic of how to reduce your individual impact on the environment by using less plastic, and by properly recycling and disposing of the plastic you do use. This infographic can be posted around schools, handed out to neighbours, shown to family members, or anything to spread the knowledge of how we can help our communities manage this kind of waste. 

There are a couple of options when it comes to reducing your plastic waste, and one of these is buying sustainable alternatives to plastic. There are many ways to do this, but an excellent place to start is to cut out plastic waste when it comes to buying food and other household products. On a local level, there are a few bulk stores in Calgary that sell you the product without the packaging, which gives the customer a chance to store it in a reusable container instead of buying a new one each time with the product. A chain Canary Goods has a store open in Kensington Calgary, and while providing household products they also sell the reusable containers in the store so you don’t have to buy them at a separate location. This option not only cuts down your plastic waste, but saves you money on extra and unnecessary plastic packaging. 

Some of the largest culprits of polluting our environment with single use plastics aren’t actually the customers buying them, but the large corporations and companies manufacturing and selling them unsustainably. The demand for items like plastic wrap and plastic containers won’t magically disappear overnight, but we as consumers can buy different and more sustainable products. Sustainable companies such as Totebag Factory make reusable grocery bags made of many different sustainable materials such as canvas, cotton, and burlap. Their bags are as cheap as less that 2 U.S dollars per bag, and considering how many times you would use them this is an excellent price.

Another way to help reduce your plastic waste is to dispose of it correctly. This includes repurposing what you can, and recycling everything that can be recycled. I’ve noticed within my community that there is some confusion as to what can and can’t be recycled, so this is why as part of my Catalyst project I’ve included a short piece on how to properly recycle plastic items. 

The bottom line is, you don’t need to go on beach clean ups and transition your life to completely zero waste overnight to make a difference in your community. Breaking away from the wasteful ways of modern society takes time and patience, and determination to reach your goals.


Sources cited in MLA format:

“What Can’t Go in Your Blue Cart.” The City of Calgary – Home Page, 

“3 Calgary Businesses That Make Sustainability Easy.” The Reflector, 22 Mar. 1970, 

January 09, 2020 Courtney Lindwall. “Single-Use Plastics 101.” NRDC, 10 Feb. 2021, 

Sybil BullockSybil Bullock is a digital organizer at Greenpeace USA. She works to educate, and Sybil Bullock. “Key Facts About Plastic Pollution.” Greenpeace USA, 9 June 2018, 



Here is the pamphlet I have made about reducing the impact of your plastic waste:

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  1. Hi!

    You did a really great job talking about this issue. I was so shocked to read the statistic about ocean plastic vs. fish in 2050! I also think that the shops you shared are a really cool concept. I live really far away so I obviously can’t visit those stores, but I think it’s a great idea for more stores to adopt!

    Great job!

  2. Hi Erin!
    I definitely agree that single use plastic is a huge issue that has risen over the past year due to the pandemic. While it can definitely be hard to limit use of these I really like how you provided us with many options/alternatives! Your project is really well researched and I love your use of the pamphlet/infographic to help spread awareness, great job!

  3. Hello, Erin! Lovely presentation. While it is a bit difficult, my family tries to be sustainable. For example, we regularly recycle, grow some of our own herbs, and reuse glass containers for drinking cups. I love how you provided affordable options for being sustainable!

  4. Hi Erin! I really like the pamphlet you created and the large amounts of the information displayed. I think sustainability is a very big goal for us, and my project had to do with the repurposing of plastic to create bricks for homes. That being said, I wonder what your opinion is towards the recycling/reuse/repurposing of plastic because I know there are downsides but also upsides to these ideas. Great job!

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