Ideas to help get you through Plastic Free July.
Plastic Free July is an initiative that first started in Western Australia back in 2011. Over the last ten years it has grown into a global movement that millions of people get involved with each year across over 150 countries.
How to get started:
The wonderful thing about challenging yourself to make a change for one month is that you don't need to go plastic free overnight. It can be as simple as choosing to refuse one single-use plastic item for the whole of July. Or, swapping out one habit for a more sustainable one, such as taking a reusable coffee cup out and about with you.
If it is your first time taking part in Plastic Free July, it is best to start small and manageable. Pick one or two items that you promise to refuse for the month and see how you get on. Many people find that their new plastic-free habits last beyond the end of the challenge, which is fantastic as all the little changes that are happening across the world will add up to make a huge difference to our planet. It is key to not overstretch yourself for one month and then return to single-use plastic as soon as it's over!
Here in this blog I've put together a list of ideas for Plastic Free July, all together you'll find 31 - one for each day of the month! There are three main ways of approaching the challenge, you can:
Swap out something single-use for a reusable alternative
Cut out a plastic item altogether and refuse to buy or use it for the month
Find a more sustainable and plastic free alternative for something that is still disposable
It really is up to you what you choose to do for the planet this month, but I hope that these ideas can provide some inspiration for you to make a change!
Reusable swaps you can make:
There is so much single-use plastic in our society and for most of these items there are easy and reusable alternatives already available. Here are 10 ideas of things you could swap this month.
Carry a reusable water bottle and coffee cup, instead of opting for disposable bottles or takeaway cups.
Take some reusable shopping and produce bags with you.
Carry your own cutlery and/or straw from home for when you're eating on the go.
Washable cotton rounds or a face cloth instead of disposable pads and wet wipes.
Reusable/washable cloths and napkins instead of kitchen paper.
Wax food wraps and silicone or fabric bowl covers instead of cling film.
Use a safety razor instead of disposable plastic ones.
Swap out plastic zip lock bags that tend to break for silicone bags that will last for years.
Cook with reusable silicone baking sheets instead of parchment paper or foil.
If you have a tumble dryer, get some reusable dryer balls instead of using dryer sheets, most dryer balls can last up to 1,000 loads and will help clothes dry 20 - 30% faster.
Plastic that you can completely cut out:
Once you start recognizing it in your shopping and daily habits, you can learn to avoid plastic all together. Here are 10 ways you can cut the plastic from your life:
Eliminate plastic food packaging by buying your fruit and vegetables loose and refilling your dried food with us at Earthian!
Stop chewing gum, its actually made of plastic. You can either cut it out completely, try mints in tins, or try a plastic free gum.
Swap your plastic milk bottles for glass bottles of milk that are delivered or refillable.
Start using toothpaste tablets that come in a refillable tin, instead of toothpaste in a tube.
Try a shampoo and conditioner bar instead of bottles.
You can also try swapping out your bottled body wash and hand soap for bars of soap that are packaging free.
Start buying clothes made from natural fibers rather than synthetics. If you need to go for synthetic fibres, try looking around at second-hand clothing first.
Instead of buying body scrub that might come in a plastic tub, try using your old coffee grounds for a natural and revitalizing exfoliator.
Switch to a natural deodorant in a cardboard tube or refillable tin, you can also get completely naked deodorant bars too.
As we're in summer now, you might want to switch to a plastic free sunscreen for when the sun does shine! We have some SPF 30 and SPF 50 at the shop in a paper tube or tin.
Finding more sustainable disposables:
Plastic is hidden in a lot of items you wouldn't expect to find it and often, they're in items that you don't want to cut out, or can't cut out. Here are 11 things you can change to a more sustainable disposable to help reduce those pesky little bits of plastic.
Cotton buds with bamboo or wooden sticks that are fully compostable.
Use paper tape instead of plastic tape, you can find it in multiple widths for parcels too.
Did you know that many teabags contain plastic fibers? Find a tea brand that is all paper or try loose leaf tea in a stainless steel strainer.
Even if you've cut down your waste, you might not cut it out completely. For more sustainable disposal, try compostable bin liners and bin bags made from plant based plastics or paper.
If reusable sanitary products aren't suitable for you, there are all cotton pads and tampons with cardboard packaging. A few brands to look for are NatraCare and &Sisters.
Kitchen and cleaning equipment can easily be swapped out for compostable alternatives, such as loofah sponges and wooden dish brushes with tampico bristles.
Bamboo toothbrushes use a lot less plastic, but you can also find some that come with plant-based bristles too for a completely biodegradable alternative.
Start buying toilet paper wrapped in paper, the most sustainable and low emissions toilet paper would be recycled and made in the UK, like our Boxroll at the shop.
Dental floss can be swapped for one that's made from natural silk or vegan, compostable corn PLA.
You can also find compostable plasters made from bamboo that will break down in only a few months. They're just as hygienic and effective as plastic plasters.
Last but not least, opt for things in glass bottles and jars instead of plastic when you're out shopping. Condiments, drinks and sauces can often be found in glass so go for this wherever you can as it's more widely recyclable. Also, the glass containers can be repurposed as food storage for your plastic free pantry!
I hope that these ideas have provided you with some inspiration for more sustainable living this month.
If you'd like to get your hands on some goodies for your plastic-free home, head over to our Instragam page tomorrow 1 July and you can enter our giveaway for £50 of sustainable goodies! All that you need to do to secure your entry is like the post that I'll put up in the morning, comment underneath and give us a follow if you haven't already! The competition is open for entry throughout July and will be announced on 1 August.