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Welcome to the Plastic-Free Challenge!

The Plastic-Free Challenge is a month-long effort to reduce plastic consumption, especially single-use plastics, in ways that fit best in your lifestyle and have the most impact on reducing your footprint.

The challenge will help you notice the plastic you use in everyday life, connect you with resources to help you reduce it, and provide support and motivation along the way.

Explore the Actions

The Problem with Plastics

Although plastic is a versatile material with many uses, it is also concerning because it presents health risks, contributes to litter and pollution, and is challenging to dispose of.

Worldwide, plastic production has skyrocketed since the 1970s, and a lot of the growth has come in the form of packaging and single-use plastics. Most plastics are made from oil and gas – fossil fuels that contribute to climate change. About 4% to 8% of the world's oil production is for plastics, and most plastics are thrown away after a single use.

Since packaging and single-use plastics are used for a short period of time and then discarded, they contribute significantly to the increasing amounts of plastic waste and litter. Although recycling can be a good option for managing certain plastic items, only a small percentage of plastic products are recycled, and many types of plastic are hard to recycle.

Unlike items made from natural materials like plants that can be composted and returned to the soil, plastics don’t go away. Instead, they break down into smaller pieces of plastic. These microplastic pieces are now found almost everywhere, including in our air, water, soil, and bodies. Plastics in the environment pollute our water, harm wildlife, and have largely unknown health impacts for us.

Be part of the solution to reduce waste, protect water and wildlife, address climate change, and look after the health of ourselves and future generations by taking action to help create a plastic-free world.

The many ways we’re reducing plastic

Hennepin, Ramsey, and Washington counties work in multiple ways to reduce plastic waste. In addition to supporting residents to take action, we offer grants, technical assistance, and free resources to businesses, schools, and multifamily properties to help them improve recycling and reduce waste. Many local businesses and organizations use these funds to switch from single-use plastics to reusable materials.

We also recognize businesses for their efforts and promote them to consumers so they can support businesses that are taking action. In addition, we are working in partnership on legislation to require brand owners and packaging producers to take more responsibility for the packaging on Minnesota shelves.

The Plastic-Free Challenge is our offering for residents, empowering you to reduce plastics in your own life and advocate for the changes you want to see in your community.

Join the Plastic-Free Challenge

The Plastic-Free Challenge is open to everyone who lives or works in Hennepin, Rasmey, and Washington counties! Sign up, invite your family, friends and coworkers to join you, and get ready to reduce your plastic waste. You can join an existing team, start your own, or be a part of the community team.

Join the Challenge!