Chamber Member of the Month-Plastic Free QAC

In 2022, supporting local businesses is more important than ever. The local Chamber of Commerce is a valuable resource for local businesses, and that is why we are highlighting a different member of the chamber every month. The Chamber of Commerce is a regional resource that allows local businesses to reach out and get information in regards to business, community resources, and the law. The Chamber also helps you learn more about businesses in the community and the community as a whole. Whether you’re just starting out or are running a million dollar company, the Chamber can help your business be its best.
    This month’s Chamber member of the month is Plastic Free QAC. Plastic Free QAC is a local non profit who is dedicated to raising awareness about the negative effects of plastic on the environment and the ways in which individuals can make choices to mitigate these effects. I talked to founding member Sara Shelley
to learn a little bit more about the effects of plastic on the environment and what you can do to help.
   Many of the negative effects of plastic are obvious-it is an eyesore, it gets entangled in wildlife-but Sara explained that you may not realize how deep the effects of plastic go.“Lots of people see the litter on our beach, but they don’t realize what happens when it breaks apart. Plastic takes hundreds of years to
decompose,” Sara explained to me. ”Eventually the plastic breaks down into microplastics-small pieces of plastic that are invisible to the eye. Not only are these microplastics ingested by wildlife-but they’re also ingested by humans”
   To help mitigate the effects of plastic on the environment and our bodies, Plastic Free QAC has strived to reduce the amount of plastic people use on a day to to day basis. One way they have done this is handing out reusable bags in front of grocery stores to reduce the amount of single use plastic grocery bags
being used. Going forward the group hopes to achieve a local plastic bag ban. They have also worked with the Parks and Recreation department to install recycling containers near local fishing spots for fishing lines.
   Sara also had some advice for people looking to create less plastic in their lives . “Every little step you can take to reduce consumption helps. Recycling isn’t the be all end all-only 8 percent of plastic is even recycled -you have to make change higher up by choosing alternatives or reusing plastics you already have. Sara recommended checking out the ‘Refill Goodness’ store in Stevensville. Refill Goodness has a variety of sustainable goods- including “refillables.” “Instead of buying a whole new container for your laundry detergent or your shampoo, you can USE one container for EACH and bring them in to refill whenever they’re empty,” Sara explained. To help locals learn how to best reduce plastic and how to live more sustainably they’ve created a 5 part course through the Institute for Adult Learning, beginning this week!
   Sara feels as if the organization has already made a difference in the mind of locals since it was founded just a few years ago “We see a lot more people invested since we started in 2018…we have been giving out reusable bags at the Farmer’s Market, and we see more and more people bringing reusable bags
themselves,” Sara told me. Plastic Free QAC is entirely volunteer driven, and they are also looking for
more volunteers. They currently have a program in which they are tracking plastic bag usage at local grocery stores that could use volunteers. “Even if you can only do a few hours here and there you could make a huge difference,” Sara
told me.
   Plastic Free QAC also does monthly clean ups on Queen Anne’s County roadways and waterways. Their next clean up is on November 12th from 9-11 am along Rt.8 South Island Trail. For more details or to rsvp email If you are interested in learning more about Plastic Free QAC
you can go to their website at and sign up for their monthly newsletter. There, they have educational resources, surveys, petitions and more.