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Recycling society advocating for Plastic Free July movement

Urges community to eliminate plastics for the month
According to Leanne Koehn, the book program is great, especially since the community can reuse these books for cheap instead of sending them to be recycled. (Priyanka Ketkar photo/THE NEWS)

The Ridge Meadows Recycling Society, which has a variety of plastic recycling programs, is promoting the global Plastic Free July movement.

The Plastic Free July movement was started in 2011 by Rebecca Prince-Ruiz, founder of the Plastic Free Foundation, which is a not-for-profit charity taking on several environmental campaigns all across the world.

Leanne Koehn, who heads community engagement for the recycling society, said the society has been participating in the Plastic Free July movement for several years, with its summer students taking the lead on the program.

“Our summer student Ella is doing the Plastic Free July challenge and will be doing updates on our social media and a wrap-up at the end of the month,” said Koehn, adding that in the past, students did Facebook live-streams about their experiences at the end of the month.

The summer students participate in the Plastic Free July challenge each year, and aim to eliminate plastic from their daily lives, while trying to find alternatives. Any plastic that they are unable to avoid, goes into their “dilemma bag” which they unpack and reflect on during the live-stream.

The live-stream gives community members an opportunity to ask questions to the students and in the past, students have faced questions ranging from what the most challenging part of the challenge was, to how their plastic consumption has reduced in the one month.

Koehn also started a Facebook group for information and accountability, called Ridge Meadows Plastic Free July, which so far has 55 participants.

Since its start, the recycling society has similarly been advocating for better recycling practices through its participation in several global environmental movements. They have a book recycle program, one for textiles, one for coloured and white Styrofoams, and since earlier this year, they have an oil return program as well.

RELATED: All ages invited again to tour recycling depot

”In 2019, just before the pandemic, we did a whole summer campaign on ‘Embrace Zero Waste, Refuse Single Use.’ We were encouraging people to switch out single-use items (bags, cups, straws, etc.) and find reusable alternatives,” Koehn explained.

She is also urging community members to go to the recycling society’s website for information on plastics, from the do’s and the don’t’s, to movie suggestions highlighting the urgent need for plastic elimination. To find out more information on plastics, visit

ALSO READ: Maple Ridge facility recognized for oil return program

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Priyanka Ketkar

About the Author: Priyanka Ketkar

Priyanka Ketkar has been a journalist since 2011 with extensive experience in community-driven news writing, feature writing, and editing.
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