Could you go without using plastic for a whole month?

Union County is encouraging residents to "take the challenge" and participate in a Plastic Free July. Those who sign up don't necessarily have to go without plastic completely, but they're asked to at least make significant steps toward reducing their plastic usage.

Riding the momentum of New Jersey's ban on single-use bags, Union County and its Clean Communities group have signed on with the Plastic Free July event started by the Plastic Free Foundation in 2011.

"Finding ways to go plastic free is easier than you think and residents can certainly do a lot on a personal level to help save the environment,” said Rebecca Williams, chair of the Union County Board of County Commissioners.

You don't have to be a Union County resident to participate. You can sign up right here to take the challenge.

Last year, 140 million participated in Plastic Free July, according to the foundation.

Those interested in reducing plastic usage can try these tips:

  • Instead of using disposable plastic utensils at lunchtime, pack a fork, knife, or spoon from home. Just use it to eat your lunch, and remember to pack it back up to bring home and wash at the end of the day.
  • Rather than drinking water from a single-use bottle to stay hydrated, fill up a reusable water bottle to bring with you.
  • When packing up lunch for the day, skip the baggies and plastic wrap and opt for washable and reusable containers that can be used over and over again.
  • Switch to bars for soap, shampoo, and conditioner rather than purchasing liquid forms that come in plastic bottles.
  • Purchase deodorant sold in paper packaging instead of traditional plastic tubes.
  • Swap out your usual disposable K-Cups for a refillable, washable version.

Dino Flammia is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at

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