THE WEEK — June 13: Menu: plastic ocean soup

On the menu: plastic ocean soup, Get your Stigma-screen out and naked bikers flash city

About 40 per cent of all plastics created end up as single-use packaging that quickly meets the landfill.

On the menu: plastic ocean soup

Katrina Prescott can’t look around her small apartment kitchen without seeing plastic everywhere.

Five plastic bags, a plastic salad spinner, food-saving containers, even headphones clutter her counter with plastic — it’s in everything, and it’s part of the reason Prescott started the Canadian chapter of Zero Plastic Week.

“People should have an awareness of how much garbage they are creating, and how much plastic is part of that garbage,” says Prescott, the Canadian director of the event which started as a global movement out of Amsterdam last year. “Where does that garbage go? It doesn’t just disappear — a lot of it goes into our oceans.”

From June 10 until midnight on June 16, thousands of people worldwide will choose to become “Zero Plastic Heros” by halting the purchase of anything and everything plastic for one week. Over 1,500 people participated in the 2012 event and, this year, the challenge has spread across Europe, Africa, the U.S. and Canada. But while it seems like an easy effort at first, Prescott points out that everything from drinks out to food at a grocery store can involve plastic. While heros are permitted to reuse plastic they already have, Prescott says it forces you to become more creative with your shopping.

“We always hear about the three R’s, but more people jump to recycle and skip reducing and reusing — two of the most effective and important ways of changing our impact,” she says. “If you have that awareness, you can ask yourself ‘How can I buy something and not use plastic in any way? Why don’t I take a bag I already have and put my rice in that?”

The challenge is an eye opening experience, even for Prescott herself, she says, as dependence on vast amounts of unnecessary plastics is revealed — finding alternatives for everyday products from plastic wrapped groceries, to cosmetics and toothpaste is not always simple.

“A short experiment like this confronts people with the enormous amount of plastic that we buy and throw away every week and of how many readily available alternatives there are to live plastic free,” says Ries Mentink, creator of the event.

Every year, it’s estimated that more than 250 million tonnes of plastic is produced globally, with 40 per cent of that ending up as single-use packaging that quickly meets the landfill.

“There are parts of the ocean which contain more plastic particles than plankton, turning the ocean into a plastic soup,” says Mentink.

Sign up for the cause yourself or learn more at ZeroPlasticWeek.org.

Get your Stigma-screen out

It’s a beautiful season to lather on the stigma-screen and bask in the warm rays of acceptance.

The Bipolar Disorder Society Bipolar Babe Project is hosting its second-annual Stigma Stomp Day on Fri., June 14, from 12-3pm at Centennial Square. The day will be filled with music, support tables from non-profit community partners, inspiring speeches, face painting and a chance to grab the first 200 stigma stomp t-shirts for free.

Naked bikers flash city  

Shirts off to those who dared to bare all for this year’s World Naked Bike Ride in Victoria on June 9. For peddlers who missed the sparsely publicized event, hop a ferry to flash Vancouver’s sister ride on Sat., June 15, noon-5pm at Sunset Beach. Photo by Peter Heinen. M

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