Choose to refuse discount card gets you a 10 per cent off at participating businesses in Kelowna. (submitted)

Skip the straws this July for Kelowna’s first Plastic Free month

Two Kelowna residents begin an environmentally friendly campaign

Plastic Free July is coming to Kelowna to encourage residents to cut out plastics for the month.

The focus is on the “big four” single-use plastics: bags, bottles, cups and lids and straws, according to PFJK co-founder Kristen Bounds.

“We wanted to start the conversation,” Bounds said in regards to herself and fellow co-founder Kirsty Symmons.

Bounds returned home from an extended trip in the United Kingdom and met Symmons through a mutual friend at the beginning of June. The two got along and began sharing their interest in sustainability and environmentalism. It wasn’t long before Symmons told Bounds about Plastic Free July and how she wanted to bring the Australian best-practice to Kelowna.

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Happy Canada Day 🇨🇦 and first day of @plasticfreejuly! 💚🌎 Last but definitely not least of our partnerships is @farmboundzerowaste. Since Farm Bound’s entire concept is people bringing their own containers to fill in-store, they have offered to give 10% off your purchase when you fill out your @plasticfreejuly_kelowna stamp cards and bring it back to the store. Farm Bound has also been our generous sponsor throughout this initiative, and their support has been paramount in its success! Once you have brought a reusable vessel to any 13 of our in-store partners and collected 10 stamps, you can bring your completed stamp card to Farm Bound to receive 10% off and be entered into a grand zero waste/local prize basket! If you haven’t checked out @farmboundzerowaste on Lawrence St yet, you gotta go during #PlasticFreeJuly for all your plastic free needs. Two weeks ago the store’s windows had rocks thrown through them and broken, so let’s give them some extra love! If you’re unsure what we’re talking about with the stamp cards and what they’re all about, check back this afternoon before all of your #CanadaDay festivities start for more info! Good luck on your @plasticfreejuly & @plasticfreejuly_kelowna journey! #plasticfreejuly #plasticfreejulykelowna #environment #climatechange #plasticpollution #plasticfree #kelowna #britishcolumbia #okanagan #lessplastic #consciousconsumers #noexcuseforsingleuse

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“People are starting to move in this direction,” Bounds said in reference to the timing of the movement: this will be the first (and hopefully) annual PFJK.

The pair sought local businesses to partner with, creating a “choose to refuse single use plastics” discount card that allows customers to get 10 per cent off when they show it at participating businesses.

Bounds said surprisingly, there were many businesses that already offered such deals and were happily willing to participate in the activists’ campaign.

READ MORE: Jaide and Joel to open vegan, gluten-free bakery cafe

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@pulpfictioncoffee is @plasticfreejuly_kelowna’s next partnering business! We’re so excited to announce that Pulp Fiction will be offering a 10% discount for the month of July to anyone who brings their reusable coffee or cold brew cup to the cafe! Thanks for the support @pulpfictioncoffee, and for helping to encourage your customers and the people of Kelowna to ditch single-use plastic! Keep an eye out for these flyers around the area to see which businesses are involved. If you’d like to be a part of #PlasticFreeJuly in any way, shape or form, shoot us an email at #plasticfreejuly #plasticfreejulykelowna #environment #noexcuseforsingleuse #lessplastic #climatechange #kelowna #britishcolumbia #plasticfree

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“(We) ended up getting very positive feedback from the community,” she wrote.

In Kelowna, it’s hard to see the impact our plastics are creating in our environment, she said, but just because we may not always see it in the Okanagan, doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

“You really notice how the ocean regurgitates plastics when you live on the coast,” Bounds said. “It’s horrible what you see wash up.”

READ MORE: RECAP: 10 Canada Day moments and videos you’ll want to see

The pair hope to have the city recognize PFJK as an official event and city initiative in the coming years. The only reason they haven’t approached council yet, is because they had less than one month to pull this inaugural year together.

Plastic Free July was started in Perth, Australia, in 2011 by the Plastic Free Foundation. They envision a world without plastic waste.

READ MORE: Beating drums and maybe records: ‘Kelowna team did great’

Since their inception, PFJ has garnered 120 million participants worldwide.

To find out more information, visit PFJK on Facebook at Plastic Free July – Kelowna, B.C., or on Instagram at @plasticfreejuly_kelowna.

David Venn
Reporter, Kelowna Capital News
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