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July is Plastic-Free Month. Here is some information for action from your CSS Lutherans Restoring Creation Mission Table to help you and your congregational members move to plastic-free. (Thank you to Laura Raedeke of Lutheran Church of the Cross in Nisswa, MN, for this information.)

1. In just over 50 years, items in a U.S. grocery store went from very little plastic

(and almost no single-use disposable plastic products) to more than 300 million tons of plastic items each year - bottles of water, straws, single-use utensils, takeout containers, coffee cups and lids, and food coverings, most of which get thrown away.

The plastics industry puts a recycling logo on the bottom of nearly every product, but in reality, only 8 percent of all plastic in the U.S. is being recycled, with more than 90 percent being buried in the ground, burned or washed out to sea. More than 600 organizations and communities are working together to force state, city and county bans on plastic bags, as well as restricting plastic production, curbing singleuse plastic items, and holding plastic manufacturers accountable for their waste, pollution, and harm to communities.

2. Even though 95 percent of microplastics (pieces of plastic smaller than a grain of rice) are filtered out at the 15,000 wastewater treatment plants in the U.S., a study done by The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) showed that each facility releases more than 4 million

microplastic particles on average into our waterways every day.