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Nothing trashy about it, individuals can make a change for a better world

In a world with increasingly dire environmental outlooks, it can be hard for individuals to feel as though they can do anything to make a change. 

However, there are ways for individuals to have a positive impact on the environment, just by making little changes and inspiring others to do the same.

Lea Luciano, a second-year journalism student at SAIT, volunteers her time as part of Plastic-Free YYC, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting a plastic-free lifestyle. They also raise awareness about the effects of plastic pollution at the local and global levels.

The group started with two members, but has grown to 14 in a year.

Plastic-Free YYC also focuses on reducing littering, since cigarette butts, plastic bags, and other littered items end up in waterways.

“I wish people were more conscious about their actions, more considerate that we only have one planet to live on,” Luciano said.

She described herself as fairly new to the plastic-free lifestyle, but has made small changes in her life to reduce her plastic usage, such as bringing lunch from home and using reusable shopping bags, which also helps save money. 

“I stay away from products wrapped in plastic, I bring my own coffee container – just small things, but it’s a start,” she said.

Plastic-Free YYC heard from author Bea Johnson, an advocate of a zero-waste lifestyle, at an event on Oct. 27.

“We heard her story on how she started this zero-waste lifestyle, and ten years later, she has inspired thousands of people to do the same,” said Luciano.

It’s in this way that individuals can become forces for change: by starting small in their own lives, and inspiring and encouraging others to do the same. Many restaurants stopped using plastic drinking straws after people signed petitions and called for bans on single-use plastics. 

“I personally think that change starts from someone, and the rest will just follow,” said Luciano.  

Some ways that people can reduce their own plastic use are using a reusable water bottle, making lunch and coffee at home, buying in bulk and using glass jars for storage, and using reusable shopping bags, among other things.

When people think that one person cannot change anything, it is important to remember that one vote can change the tide of an election. One rock can become an avalanche. 

“You don’t have to live plastic-free right away – take your time and learn what works for you!”

For more information about the plastic-free lifestyle, visit

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