For the month of July, the South Portland Sustainability Office attempted to be plastic free and asked residents to join us. A core reason the South Portland Sustainability Office decided to pursue going plastic free for a month was to acknowledge how difficult it is to be plastic free, find the areas of our life where we could easily (and not so easily) cut out plastics and areas where we rely on it.

Removing all the plastic from our lives was … rough and, at times, unsuccessful. Ordering at a restaurant for dine-in – a seemingly plastic free experience – resulted in mini plastic cups for sauces and plastic straws, organic produce at the grocery store was tightly wrapped in plastic cling wrap and plastic store packaging often seemed unavoidable.

However, this month also came with big wins. We shifted our mindset away from convenient plastics – such as my undying love for an iced coffee on the go – which not only reduced plastic consumption but saved money. We relied on reuse – such as a “Buy Nothing” Facebook group or yard sale purchase – which transferred ownership of items without the overwhelming plastic packaging. Through these experiences, we were able to recognize how to avoid plastic in our day-to-day consumption and form habits that aren’t plastic dependent.

Share your experiences

Did you participate in Plastic Free July with us? We want to know your experience. What did your plastic consumption habits look like pre-July versus mid-July? What hurt to give up and what was easy to ditch? What mindset change, if any, have you undergone? Were there moments that frustrated you? Were there moments that made you laugh out loud?

Share your experience with us for a chance to win a gift card to a South Portland eatery.

If you are already on the Plastic Free July mailing list, an email with a survey asking for your Plastic Free July experience is sitting in your inbox. If not, reach out to Mia at [email protected]

Our Sustainable City is a recurring column in the Sentry intended to provide residents with news and information about sustainability initiatives in South Portland. Follow the Sustainability Office on Instagram and Facebook @soposustainability.

Mia Ambroiggio is a Greater Portland Council of Governments Resilience Corps Fellow serving in the Sustainability Office. She can be reached at [email protected]

Comments are not available on this story.