Plastic-Free July Month Targets Higher Awareness of Single-Use Plastic Harm

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A month-long series of public awareness activities, all aimed at highlighting the damage caused by single-use disposable plastics and making positive change toward plastic-free living, began on July 1 on St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The month, known here and globally as Plastic-Free July, culminates with a three-day Summit on St. John gathering at the end of the month.

Throughout July, residents, visitors, merchants, hospitality employees, property owners and local organizations are encouraged to learn more about ways they can individually curb harmful single-use plastic in both their daily personal life and business life. Any and all steps toward doing so will help protect and preserve our precious island environment, coastlines, sea life and, ultimately ourselves.

Awareness during July is intended to build on the many positive actions already taken by individuals and local business owners to reduce their disposable-plastic use on island. For example, eliminating unnecessary plastic drinking straws and greater focus on the negative effects of single-use plastic is becoming common among St. John restaurants (like cutlery and to-go packaging) and retailers (single-use bags).

To build these actions during July and beyond, a “No Straw, Please” Video Competition, featuring valuable prizes, is already under way. Other awareness activities, learning and actions will continue throughout the month.

About the Summit on St. John:

From Thursday, July 27 to Saturday, July 29, a special series of events, gatherings and activities is planned. The first ever “Summit on St. John” will take place around the island during those days, including locations in Cruz Bay, The Westin, Cinnamon Bay Resort & Campground and in Coral Bay.

Summit events and topics include current best practices to reduce unnecessary plastic here and elsewhere in the Caribbean and globally; knowledge and facts about bio-plastics, compostables and other plastic alternative products; ways to reduce the plastic impacts of on-island events, and student curriculum sharing. Film sessions, art talks and other public forums also will be featured.

Special guests and subject matter experts attending hail from California, Hawaii and the Bahamas, among other locales. Everywhere is welcome to attend. For the full agenda and updates, visit http://www.plasticfreestjohn.com/.

The Summit on St. John is produced and hosted by Plastic-Free Island: St. John, an all volunteer collaboration project aimed at public awareness and targeting the elimination of immediate and long-term damage caused by disposable plastics. Locally, the Island Green Living Association and Coral Bay Community Council are among those involved in supporting the Summit and related July activities. For more about the Summit, watch for updates.

Plastic-Free Island: St. John is an Innovation Project launched on St. John in mid-2016 under the Plastic-Free Island concept founded by Dianna Cohen (Plastic Pollution Coalition) and Pam Longobardi (Drifters Project).