Plastic free July is a global movement across 177 countries with over 120 million making the pledge to go plastic free for the month of July. The goal of Plastic Free July is to help towards the growing plastic pollution – so we can have cleaner streets, oceans, and beautiful communities.
Sounds tough? For someone just getting started on their zero waste journey Plastic Free July can definitely seem like a challenge. That’s what makes it even more rewarding by knowing you can make a difference by reducing single-use plastic waste everyday at home, work, school, and even at your local café.
To help you get started we’ve put together the below guide that will get you on your way to a plastic free July and hopefully beyond!
Yes, you can avoid all of them by simply carrying your own reusable alternative, refusing the use of plastic straws when you can simply sip on your drink directly from the cup and by making the additional effort of going to a restaurant with your reusable food container when you get takeaway.
If you have coffee once a day; buy a bottle of water, drink in a plastic cup with a plastic straw and get takeaway twice a week, you will have reduced 30 coffee cups, 8-10 plastic bottles, 8-20 takeaway plastic boxes/cutlery and 8-10 plastic straws/cups in a month!
plastic coffee cups for reusable coffee cups,
plastic straws for reusable straws,
plastic bottles for reusable bottles,
plastic takeaway boxes for reusable food containers,
and plastic cutlery for reusable cutlery.
When you make a switch to a reusable alternative be sure to choose a socially-responsible and environmentally-friendly alternative, such as one made from stainless steel, glass, or safe aluminium.
The challenge however remains remembering to carry all of these reusable alternatives with you everywhere you go. We simply put ours in our tote bag and make sure to carry it every time we leave the house. A good idea is to leave your tote bag close to your door so that you remember to take it along when you leave the house.
Many grocery stores pre-package their fruit and vegetables in plastic, and offer plastic bags for loose items. Meat, fish and deli products are also often sold on polystyrene trays; a type of plastic extremely difficult to recycle. It also contains chemicals that can be harmful to human health.
Say no to plastic packaged groceries. Instead, look out for loose fruit and vegetables in your local grocery store, or head to a farmers market or organic/bulk food store. You can also carry your own lightweight reusable produce bags as a substitute for single use plastic bags to secure individual items. Don’t forget to also take your own grocery shopping bag. If you don’t have one you can purchase one at most supermarkets.
You probably don’t realise this but we use a lot of plastic at home that can be reduced by making the switch to sustainable alternatives.
In the kitchen
Avoid cling wrap to cover your food. Instead you can start storing and packing food in reusable containers. You can also use reusable silicone food covers to cover food in bowls, pots and pans, or even get crafty with reusable cloth cover or wax wraps.
In the bathroom
Avoid plastic bottled body wash, shampoo, hand-wash and other cleaning products. Instead look for products packaged in glass bottles or you can also make the switch to soap bars with minimal paper packaging. You can now also now get shampoo soap bars at selected stores.
Another item you can swap from your bathroom is plastic toothbrushes. Make the switch to bamboo toothbrushes that are environmentally friendly and sustainable.
Say no to any furniture made from plastic unless there is no alternative. Instead look for furniture that is made from sustainable raw materials such as bamboo. You can also choose to reuse by shopping second hand first instead of purchasing new furniture.
You can sign up to take the Plastic Free July challenge at www.plasticfreejuly.org and join millions of others helping make a change. You making a small change will collectively make a massive difference to our communities. You can choose to refuse single-use plastics in July (and beyond!). Best of all, being part of Plastic Free July will help you to find great alternatives that can become new habits forever.
And remember, we don’t need to do this perfectly alone but imperfectly together.