By Megan Stouffer, New England Botanic Garden Staff
July 2023

As July rolls around, the phrase ‘Plastic Free July’ may once again surface as a popular topic across news outlets, social media, and social circles. Plastic Free July—a month when individuals and organizations challenge themselves to reduce plastic use—attempts to make limiting reliance on plastics fun and enjoyable while, hopefully, creating habits that remove plastics from everyday use altogether. 

Millions around the world get involved in the challenge by swapping their disposable coffee cups for travel mugs, bringing reusable utensils instead of using disposable ones, and taking their own bags to grocery stores, forgoing the plastic ones. While the campaign, spearheaded by the Plastic Free Foundation, originated in 2011, the problem of plastic use has been discussed for decades. Each year, the world produces over 400 million tons of plastic waste. Of that waste,