With Plastic Free July coming up in no time at all it is time to start thinking about little ways in which we can reduce our own plastic use and start living a more sustainable life. From bringing a reusable water bottle to switching to a bamboo toothbrush, there are lots of little things you can do today to start living a plastic-free life.
Are You Ready For A Plastic Free Challenge?
I know it’s not just me.
People everywhere are becoming more and more aware of the need to live a more sustainable life, and what better time than Plastic Free July to challenge yourself to at least try incorporating some plastic free practices into your everyday life.
I am not saying we all have to be like that girl all over FB that fits her entire waste for four years into a single mason jar...I mean good on her and all but that girl clearly doesn't have kids!!
I have some easy tips and tricks here for you to start making baby steps towards a more sustainable, zero-waste, plastic free life.
It won't be hard, I promise.
This one is a doozy.
With most shops getting rid of single use plastic bags, or at least charging 10 cents for them, most of us will be using our own bags anyway. If not, get on it.
You can buy some super cute bags that be used again and again. I am quite partial to the hessian style bags, but for around a dollar you can usually grab some at the store itself.
Just remember to grab them when you head into the shop. There is nothing worse than getting to the end of the line and realizing you left them all behind. I tend to have some of those little fold up versions in my handbag at all times just in case. You can grab some super cute versions like this one.
Reusable Produce Bags
Same goes for the produce bags. I just keep a pack of 10 in my handbag and use them at the store instead of the single-use plastic bags for my fruit and veg.
They have been popping up everywhere lately, and I have even noticed them for sale at the local farmers market which is great. I have these and they are great because they come with their own little pouch to keep everything neat and tidy in my handbag.
If you don't want to buy some you can improvise:
- Old lingerie cleaning bags;
- Previously used plastic bags from the store;
- Just let some veggies go loose: things like onions don't even need to go into a bag, just pop them straight into the shopping cart;
- Brown paper bags work just as well.
Buy At Green Grocers/Farmers Markets
Buy your fruit and veg from local greengrocers or farmers markets as they are much less likely to wrap their products in lots of plastic. The food is also more likely to be local, meaning fewer kilometers traveled and less of an environmental footprint.
Switch Out The Straws
Switch to metal straws and when out ask for your drink without a straw.
These have been popping up everywhere as well, but if you haven't seen any around you can always grab some here. These ones are great because they come with their own little wooden container so you can keep it in your bag without it getting dirty!
Bring Your Own Water Bottle
Bring a reusable water bottle with you wherever you go.
Refill your bottle whenever you have the opportunity, to stay hydrated throughout the day. You’ll spend no money, and send no plastic to landfill.
Stop single-use plastic bottles. Yes, these are recyclable but the plastic breaks down each time it is recycled and eventually just becomes waste. Ultimately the final resting place of all plastic, recyclable or not, is landfill, or in the worst case, the ocean.
Recycling just adds pitstops along the journey.
Bring your own coffee cup
Get yourself a reusable coffee cup. Buy one new, grab one second-hand from your local charity shop. Bringing your own vessel to the cafe for your takeaway coffee is a simple way to avoid that waste. Bonus: some cafes even offer a discount for bringing your own cup.
Or if you are feeling like treating yourself why don't you go all out and get a ceramic reusable cup. Not only are they reducing on even more plastic use but they are also absolutely gorgeous little works of art! I have this one and love it.
If you don't have the cash for a new coffee cup right now then bring a mason jar instead!!
Want To Step Up The Plastic Free Challenge A Notch?
You may have been living a relatively plastic-free life for a while now.
You have a handbag full of reusable bags, reusable produce bags and you wouldn't dream of leaving the house without your reusable coffee cup.
Fantastic. Let's kick it up a notch!
- Make the switch to a Bamboo toothbrush. They are inexpensive and a great way to stop using plastic toothbrushes.
- Start using Soap Bars instead of shower gel pumps in plastic bottles
- Start buying second-hand clothes and toys instead of always opting for new. Especially for kids, they grow out of things so quickly!!
- Use Beeswax wrap for sandwiches etc (PS this is super easy to make yourself too!)
- Bring your own glass jars or paper bags and shop at the bulk store for things like rice, cereal, flour etc
- Not only should you be recycling the normal stuff like plastic bottles but there are bins at supermarkets like Coles and Woolies that also recycle single-use plastic bags such as those that popcorn packets come in etc
- Skip out on takeaway for lunch and pack your own lunch. You can pack this in a lunchbox or even make up a salad in a mason jar!
Don't make it a stressful experience. Take it slow, switch one thing at a time and use it as a lesson in examining your habits and learning new skills.
If you know of any companies that are doing really well in reducing their waste, or at least making the effort to do so then leave a note in the comments telling us who they are so we can all go out and support them!
Ooh And There Is An Official Plastic Free Challenge If You Want To Sign Up and Be Counted!
If you’d like to be registered for this year’s challenge, you can do so via the official Plastic Free July website.
This is a free challenge running for the whole month of July that encourages us to refuse single-use plastic, and be a part of a movement that is not only raising awareness but also taking action and sharing solutions!
Want to keep the conversation going? Check out this post for tips on how to reduce food waste in your home!