What is Plastic Free July?
Plastic Free July is a 31-day, global challenge to reduce and refuse single-use plastics. It’s a great way to take action on creating plastic-free habits. The environmental impact of plastic is significant, so reducing our reliance on single-use plastic is a win for wildlife!
What is EcoChallenge?
The Maryland Zoo is collaborating with other accredited zoos and aquariums across North America to make a positive impact on the planet! To do this, we are utilizing a platform called EcoChallenge. Through EcoChallenge, you get to build your own challenge, make your own rules, earn points and see how you stack up against other plastic-free warriors. Pledge to take as many or as little plastic-free actions as you want, and see our collective impact add up, in real time.
Last year Maryland Zoo staff and volunteers participated in a Plastic Free July EcoChallenge competition against other Zoo and aquarium employees across the country and took home first place! This year, the competition is open to our Zoo community too and we need your help to defend our title while conserving the environment.
How do you sign up?
Join us in this international movement this July!
Once you’ve signed up, take a look around the site and start choosing which actions you plan to take throughout the month.
Tell Me More!
The Bad News:
- An estimated one million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals and sea turtles die from plastics in their environment.
- Recent research also suggests that terrestrial species are negatively affected as more microplastics make their way into their ecosystems.
- Some of the animals you visit at the Maryland Zoo whose wild cousins are negatively impacted by plastic pollution are penguins, polar bears, pelicans, and river otters.
The Good News:
- Over 181 million people visit AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums each year – that’s more attendance than major professional sporting events combined – so our community has the opportunity to make a big impact!
- Did you know that common wisdom says it takes three weeks to change a habit? If you can stick with a new behavior for 21 days in a row, you’re a lot more likely to keep it up forever. After reducing your reliance on single-use plastic for a month, you may very well be a plastic-free warrior for life.
- Last year, by changing our habits during the Plastic Free July EcoChallenge, Zoo staff and volunteers kept 3110 pieces of plastic cutlery out of the landfill, picked up 3879 pieces of litter, signed 157 petitions and more!
The Nitty Gritty:
- Get down to business, read FAQs about EcoChallnge
- Take a look at how the point system for EcoChallnge works
- Add the Plastic Free July EcoChallenge to your phone or tablet as an app! Follow the easy-to-follow instructions provided here.