Oak Park has officially joined Plastic Free July, an international movement that challenges communities to refuse single-use plastics such as straws or disposable lids for an entire month.
Responding to changes in the climate continues to be a major factor in the political landscape, and experts agree that adjustments must be made to conserve the health of the planet. Taking part in the Plastic Free July movement is one small way that Oak Parkers can make a positive impact and potentially modify personal habits for the betterment of the environment.
Oak Park Sustainability Coordinator Mindy Agnew hopes that making Oak Parkers conscientious of how much plastic is used throughout the village every day might enact long-term positive change.
“Plastics have become such an integral part of our lives that many people may not realize that they are doing long-term damage to the environment,” said Agnew. “Each of us has to accept responsibility for our roles in this situation and do something about it. If enough of us can avoid single-use items, perhaps manufacturers will take notice and introduce more products and packaging that is reusable and recyclable.”
Oak Park will have a two-pronged approach to the movement – implore residents to refuse single-use plastics, and get merchants to stop automatically offering them to their customers, according to a news release from the Village.
“The members of the Village’s Environment & Energy Commission who initiated the local Plastic Free July effort know that Oak Parkers avoiding single-use plastic for a single month isn’t likely to change the world,” said Agnew. “But it is a start. If every community would get involved, it will be a movement. And movements can bring change.”
Plastic Free July is a non-profit based out of Australia but operates in cities and communities throughout the world.