Welcome to the New Year! First and foremost, we’d like to thank every one of our volunteers and sponsors who helped make 2018 amazing. We tackled some pretty hard hitting issues, and we are so proud of the changes made. Let’s take a look back at what we accomplished. In June, Victoria was the first city in BC to ban plastic bags – well done! We signed up over 35 businesses with the Straws Suck campaign; we launched two new programs: the Nurdle Project and Plastic Free Schools, and we installed four interpretive surf etiquette signs at Jordan River. Last but not least, we cleaned up over 7000 lbs of garbage on beaches around the island, and drew in over 1000 volunteers. Let’s bring this incredible initiative and enthusiasm to 2019 and create even bigger waves in the plastic revolution.

We kicked off the month of January with our monthly chapter meeting. The Coastline Surf and Sport Shop was filled with around 30 amazing volunteers and members. We were so happy to bring in a guest speaker for this meeting to inform us all about compostable plastics. Noah Snell, from the University of Victoria, presented his research on compostable and biodegradable plastics and suffice to say, shocked us all with the findings.

Did you know that there is a difference between biodegradable and compostable plastics? Did you know that these plastics will not breakdown in home compost bins? And did you know that there’s only one facility on Vancouver Island that has the ability to break down compostable and biodegradable plastics properly? It’s okay – neither did we. But thankfully Noah brought all this to our attention. In the coming weeks, he will continue working on his research, and share his findings. And with the help of another UVIC student and Surfrider Vancouver Island Chapter members, we hope to combat, and inform everyone, about single-use plastics and the misconception of compostables. Stayed tuned for updates.

We want to thank everyone who showed up to the chapter meeting for being so engaged in discussion, making thought-provoking comments and asking hard to answer questions about the future of single-use plastics, and the alternatives to compostable plastics. Moving forward, we’d love to see a complete ban on all single-use plastics, but we’ll need your support! It’s time to start the refill revolution. And it’s time to change our ripe-old idea of the three R’s. Recycling isn’t enough. Remember: Refuse, Reduce, and Reuse.

See you all at our next chapter meeting on February 12, at the Coastline Surf and Sport Shop. Be sure to follow our Facebook page for all of our event updates and for your daily dose of plastic awareness, and #OceanOptimism.

Action of the month: Bring your own mug! An oldie but a goodie – think about all those single-use coffee cups being tossed away. It’s simple: bring a mason jar for that latte to go. Give it a rinse before you leave the house. You can get fancy and purchase a stainless steel mug from any local outdoors company, and if you’re the creative type, try knitting a cozy sleeve to keep your coffee nice and warm on those rainy days we all know so well.