UM Today UM Today University of Manitoba UM Today UM Today UM Today
News from
UM Today Network

Join in Plastic Free July

Choose to refuse and be part of the solution

July 6, 2021 — 

Join the global movement and be part of the solution to plastic pollution. Making small changes to everyday habits makes a huge difference—on a local and global level. It’s not about tackling everything at once. By choosing one or two single-use plastics to avoid, you’ll quickly discover the other plastics in your life that you can start cutting out. 

Many individuals find that prepping, packing and planning ahead really help to reduce everyday plastic waste and make the reduction process fun and creative. Here are a few ideas:

  • Use what’s already on hand. Many food items (and toiletries) come in glass jars, paper bags and plastics that can easily be reused.
  • Pre-pack a shopping kit. This could include reusable bags, containers, jars, cups, utensils and produce bags. Place the kit in a bag and leave by your front door.
  • Pre-pack a camping kit. Include reusable cutlery, plates, cups, cloths, bowl covers and cooking gear. Make your own ice for the cooler by reusing an ice cream pail or milk jug. Bring a bar of biodegradable soap and consider making your own snacks to reduce plastic waste.


If you are looking for additional ways to reduce your plastic use but don’t know where to start, follow the Office of Sustainability on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter to participate in the 31-day challenge.


Participate in a Plastic Free July Event: UM Researcher Panel


You can also learn more about Plastic Free July by joining the virtual UM Researcher Panel on July 20 from 12 p.m. – 1 p.m., where UM faculty and students will discuss their research in relation to plastic reduction and provide advice on how you can successfully go plastic-free even after the month of July. This panel discussion is open to all UM students, staff and faculty and will provide the opportunity for you to ask questions. If you would like to participate in this event, register today by emailing


Here is a sneak peek of the panelists:


Dr. Mark Hanson’s research focuses on the response of freshwater organisms to various types of stressors, with a special emphasis on aquatic plants and invertebrates. The interactions between organisms and the way in which these can influence the stress response are studied at the laboratory and field-level. This helps in our understanding and ability to predict the risk an exposure to a toxicant or change in water quality can provoke at the ecosystem-level. The use of microcosms, large-scale model freshwater ecosystems, is emphasized along with developing new methodologies to assess changes in water quality in a rapid and effective manner.


Dr. Qiuyan Yuan‘s interests cover a variety of environmental engineering topics, with the primary research area being nutrient removal and recovery. Dr. Yuan is particularly interested in the technological implementation of biological phosphorus removal and chemical phosphorus recovery. Dr. Yuan is also interested in leachate treatment, biomass fermentation and anaerobic digestion. The goal of Dr. Yuan’s research is to develop sustainable technologies for the water and waste treatment processes that will reduce the environmental burden, carbon footprint and greenhouse gas emissions.


Tanvir Hasnine is a Ph.D. student in the Environmental Engineering program at University of Manitoba. Hasnine’s research interests include microplastics, landfill leachate treatment, wastewater treatment, solid waste management and sustainable development.


Dr. David Levin’s research is focused on biotechnologies for sustainability such as biofuels, biodegradable polymers and microbial production of antioxidants. Dr. Levin’s research is multidisciplinary and integrates microbiology, biotechnology and genome sciences with bioprocess and biosystems engineering. Dr. Levin was also the academic lead on a Genome Canada-funded Genome Applications Partnership Program (GAPP) called “Fibre composite and biometric genomics” (FiGoGen), focused on developing biocomposite materials with flax fibres and biodegradable resins derived from biodegradable biopolymers from 2015 to 2019.


Dr. Joe Ackerman’s research is in relation to phosphorus cycling, eutrophic water systems, nutrient capture, anaerobic digestion Soil Science and finding industrial uses for recycled glass and plastic. He is currently working on methods of plastic recycling to reduce contamination. Dr. Ackerman manages the Sustainability in Action Facility (SiAF), a research and education facility that is developing solar energy systems, alternative building materials and innovative food production. This will also include biomass heating, post consumer resource technologies and development of bioplastic from agricultural by-products.


Kedong Zhang is a Ph.D. student with the Department of Environment and Geography at the University of Manitoba. Zhang’s research focuses on marine pollution including energy exploitation offset and microplastics. Zhang is specifically looking into Arctic marine microplastics and the relation to climate change and the development of biosurfactant-based dispersants and associated technologies for offshore oil spill control.


, , , , , , ,

© University of Manitoba • Winnipeg, Manitoba • Canada • R3T 2N2

Emergency: 204-474-9341