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Plastic Free Ecochallenge 2021: Collective Impact

“It is really quite amazing. I will never look at plastic the same again!”

— Terry

presented by and Columbus Zoo & Aquarium


Total Participants


across 53 countries and 55 states/regions

with 69% as first-time participants


Total Teams


with 17 competitions

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Total Actions Completed



Total Posts Shared


with 4,857 reflections

and 5,880 high-fives

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Top Impactful Actions

Use Reusable Containers

Minimize Packaging

Use Reusable Utensils

Keep My Community Clean

Cook a Zero-Plastic Waste Meal

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Participant Engagement

Average # of daily check-ins: 8.6

One-time action success rate: 40%

Daily action success rate: 28%



Offered in partnership between and Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, Plastic Free Ecochallenge is a month-long challenge to care for our wildlife and our environment by going plastic-free.

Ecochallengers committed to plastic-free actions from July 1 – 31, 2021. We refused single-use plastics, repurposed plastics in creative ways, cleaned up our local spaces, and transformed our habits. Through Plastic Free Ecochallenge, we put our plastic-free intentions into action and created huge collective impact.

"I was kind of reflecting on all I have learned this month during the plastics challenge. It is really quite amazing. I will never look at plastic the same again! I certainly had never been aware of how huge the problem is. I feel like I have already changed so much of my lifestyle, and I am really happy to be doing it with knowledge."

— Terry

"Participating in this challenge was great. I have recycled for many years but learned so much because of the Learn More tabs."

— Eunice

"I have really enjoyed the challenge to reduce single use plastics. It has sparked lively family discussion!"

— Kim-Marie

"I am much more thoughtful about trash, composting and recycling than I was before I signed up for this Ecochallenge. Thank you Gracie for making me much more aware of my personal trash!!"

— Trinh

"I walk with my friends, follow teachers, once or twice a week. Today I chose to pick up trash 🗑 while walking 🚶‍♀️. I wouldn't have thought to do this if it wasn't for this challenge, so thanks. I bet we picked up 75 pieces of trash!"

— Tesa

"It is really hard to find plastic-free packaging, so I am thinking of this as 'harm reduction' approach - every time I can make a switch, I will. I brought my own water bottle for a movie at a theater today. I avoided using plastic wrap on food in the fridge and found it held up just fine with a plate over it or under it. I asked for a paper product instead of plastic when I ordered at a food truck (I was prepared to walk away from the sale if they couldn't switch). I have asked our supplier at work to switch from plastic containers for lunches, and I asked our planning committee for a big conference next year if we could reduce waste as we plan the meeting. It feels better and better to be speaking up about it. I usually preface it with, 'I am doing an Ecochallenge to reduce plastic...' and it helps get people interested and invested! "

— Mollie

"Have learned so much, changed habits and became active with friends and family. Has to be a good thing! And there’s so much more to do…😮"

— Judith

"I think the best part of this challenge is being able to track your progress and see the impact you are making!"

— Will

"I would just like to commend each and every participant not only for joining this challenge but especially for your encouraging, supportive, and dare I say loving, 😘 comments!"

— Sunny

"I feel like I've made so many changes - small and large. I'm looking forward to continuing my changes beyond just this month. I'm really proud of cutting out so many plastic containers in my daily life and I'm looking forward to cutting out more!"

— Marissa

"My Plastic Free Echochallenge is going waaayyyy better than I imagined! I'm making homemade snacks, having people interested and excited to attend my watch party, and just having a fun time making a tiny difference in the world."

— Audrey

"My favorite part of the Plastic Free Ecochallenge is being inspired by my fabulous coworkers and fellow challenge participants. Keep up the good work!"

— Mary

"We love our home! This ecochallenge is a way to support our planet, learn more ways to lessen our negative impact, and have fun working with others to do real things."

— Tadā

"I'm so excited to make time to research fast fashion and how plastics affect my community! I joined this challenge to learn more ways to become plastic-free every day."

— Clara

our amazing collective impact added up

keep learning. keep taking action.
keep creating a better shared future with us.

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