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September 17, 2021
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Plastic Free July in Sonoma County The Zero Waste Movement

By: Brenna Stevens
July 16, 2021

This year, a partnership between Recology Sonoma Marin and Zero Waste Sonoma is providing a number of ways for the community to get involved with the Plastic Free July movement.

Plastic Free July, which is an initiative of the Plastic Free Foundation, is a campaign aimed at working towards a world without plastic waste. The initiative was started in Western Australia in 2011 by Rebecca Prince-Ruiz and a small group in local government. The movement has since grown into a global effort that incorporates millions of individuals working towards a common goal. 

Zero Waste movements go further than just recycling and composting and aim to create as little trash as possible to begin with. Beyond reducing garbage, Zero Waste entails promoting an efficient use of materials, encouraging sustainable consumption, and conserving and preserving resources. Landfills are a significant source of methane, so reducing waste also reduces greenhouse gasses. 

Zero waste campaigns, like Plastic Free July, are targeted at motivating individuals to reduce their personal waste. The majority of waste in the United States is industrial, not municipal. Within a system that readily utilizes plastics, consumers encounter copious amounts of the material in their everyday lives from shopping bags to beverage bottles. 

In order to set goals for reducing trash, Zero Waste Sonoma, along with other stakeholders, created a Zero Waste Resolution that aims to reduce the garbage going into landfills in Sonoma County by 2030. The Sonoma County Waste Management Agency Board of Directors signed onto the resolution in September of 2018. Since then, eight of the ten jurisdictions in Sonoma County have adopted the resolution including the Cities of Cotati and Sebastopol. The City of Rohnert Park, as well as Sonoma County as a whole, is expected to sign on this year. 

This July, Recology and Zero Waste Sonoma are offering four ways for the community to get involved in the Plastic Free July movement as an outreach campaign for waste reduction.

The first way to take part is to make a personal pledge online. At plasticfreejuly.org, participants can fill out a short online form to set their own goals for reducing their plastic use in July and sign up for emails that offer tips and tricks for staying motivated.

The second way the community is invited to participate is by planning a beach or river clean-up with family and friends. The goal is to remove plastic waste from local wildlife habitats. To win a prize, the clean-ups can be logged on the Clean Swell app or participants can take a picture of their event.

Zero Waste Sonoma and Recology are also offering an online webinar on July 19th from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. where six zero waste experts will educate attendees and discuss effective ways to phase out plastics. 

The month will come to a close with a zero-waste event held at Sonoma Mountain Village Courtyard in Rohnert Park on the evening of July 30. Doors will open at 7:30 p.m. for networking between the community, businesses, and organizations that support zero-waste initiatives. Afterward, the film, “Story of Plastic” will be screened outdoors at 8:20 p.m. Attendees should bring blankets and lawn chairs. 

More information about the campaign and the events can be found at

ZeroWasteSonoma.gov/PFJ.