Unity Spiritual Center Albuquerque is guided by a vision of sacredness and inter-connectedness of all. Guided by this principle, we aspire to live lives that reduce our footprint on the Earth. Inspired by the 2022 Plastic-Free EcoChallenge (sponsored by the Coalition of North American Zoos and Aquariums), we are doing a pared-down version of our own for the month of February. Below you will find suggested activities you can take to reduce your use of single-use plastics for the month—or longer if you want. We’d love to hear your experiences with it, especially at the end of the challenge, and whether you are inspired to make any permanent changes in your lives.
SKIP PLASTIC BAGS When possible, I will not use disposable bags when shopping, including produce bags.
SWITCH TO LOOSE LEAF TEA Because many tea bags and most sleeves and sachets contain plastic, I will switch to using loose leaf tea.
COOK A PLASTIC FREE MEAL I will prepare meals at home each day without using any items packaged in single-use plastic.
CHOOSE REUSABLE FOOD STORAGE I will only use reusable containers instead of single-use plastic storage items (such as plastic wrap, single-use sandwich bags).
MINIMIZE PACKAGING I will purchase food items with the least amount of packaging.
FILL A WATER BOTTLE I will use a reusable bottle and stop purchasing bottled water, saving (___) disposable plastic bottle(s) a day.
GO STRAWLESS I will keep (___) plastic straw(s) out of the landfill per day by refusing straws or using my own reusable straw.
USE REUSABLES AT WORK I will use reusable dishes and silverware when eating at work.
SUSTAINABLE SUDS I will replace my soaps, shampoos, conditioners, and lotions with a sustainable, unpackaged, or refillable option
ECO DEODORANT I will switch to a plastic-free deodorant — whether purchased or DIY'd.
A SUSTAINABLE FLOW I will make the switch to sustainable, reusable period products.
GREEN BEAUTY When it's time to buy more, I will replace my beauty products with refillable, sustainable, and/or DIY options.
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.
SEE THE GREEN I will recycle used contact lenses and packaging.
WRITE LETTERS, EMAILS OR SIGN PETITIONS I will write or sign (___) letters, emails or petitions per day to advocate for plastic-free or planet-friendly policies. PICK UP THE PHONE I will make (___) phone call(s) per day to a public official or company to advocate for planet-friendly policies.
SHARE MY ACTIONS I will make my environmental actions visible by posting to my social media networks.
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.
ESTIMATE MY PLASTIC CONSUMPTION I will visit the rePurpose website, (https://repurpose.global) complete the 3-minute plastic consumption calculator, and explore how I can reBalance my annual plastic footprint.
SAY NO TO STYROFOAM Throughout its life cycle, polystyrene (styrofoam) can harm people, communities, and the planet. I will refuse styrofoam whenever I can, making sure to kindly let people know why I'm asking for alternative packaging.
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.
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.
SUPPORT A SHARING ECONOMY I will create or support a sharing economy with family, friends, and neighbors.
NATURAL FIBERS When available, I will purchase clothing made with natural fibers, such as cotton, linen, or wool, rather than synthetic fibers.
HOMEMADE CLEANERS I will make my own cleaning products at home.
DITCH DRYER SHEETS I will use wool dryer balls or another plastic-free alternative to dryer sheets to keep my clothes static-free.
HOMEMADE PET TREATS I will prepare my own pet treats to avoid plastic packaging.
INVEST IN A POOPER-SCOOPER I will swap out my single use plastic bags for a pooper-scooper.
DIY CAT LITTER I will swap out my cat's litter for sawdust, mulch, or dirt with baking soda.
RUBBER GLOVE PET HAIR REMOVAL I will use a rubber glove to remove pet hair from clothes, carpets and furniture.
THRIFTY PETS I will find secondhand sources for my pet's water/food dishes, collars or leashes.
DISCOVER TOGETHER I will spend (___) minutes educating my family on the basics of living a reduced/no-plastic lifestyle.
SWAP THE SNACKS I will swap out (___) prepackaged snacks a day for fresh fruits or veggies.
NATURAL PAINTS I will paint rooms in my home with low/no VOC or natural paints.
GET RID OF GLITTER I will teach my little ones about microplastics while we do a craft project together using glitter alternatives.
For more information see https://plasticfree.ecochallenge.org