Going zero waste is easier said than done. Unfortunately, single-use plastic seems to be everywhere we look. From utensils to take-out boxes, our trash can pile up if we aren’t careful! That is why the Plastic Free Foundation has created Plastic Free July. This movement helps millions around the globe become conscious about their waste habits by committing to go plastic-free for one month. After 30 days of trying one’s best to intentional choices, lifelong habits have the potential to form. In 2020, 326 million individuals around the world pledged to
- reduce household waste by 28kg per person each year
- contribute to the global saving of 940 million kg of plastic each year
- 85% of the total participants adopt the sustainable habits learned from the challenge.
2021 is going to be an even bigger and better year with your help! The best way to have a successful plastic-free July is to prepare, prepare, prepare! Our team has put together some tips and tricks to get ready for the month ahead.
Stock up on reusables
How many times have you found yourself feeling guilty as you check out at the grocery store because you spaced on bringing reusable bags with you? It’s easy to turn to single-use items when you aren’t prepared! Keep helpful reusable tools in your car, at work, and in your bag so you are always ready to say no to plastics. Here’s how you can get started
- Take cutlery with you in case you are hungry on the go. Either use a bamboo cutlery kit or take a fork, knife, and spoon with you in a sanitized pencil box or pouch. Make your you bring your reusable straw too!
- Keep reusable grocery bags in a car, or keep a folded bag on a clip on your keychain. Buy them in a set and give extras to your friends as a sustainable gift idea.
- If you go out to eat, bring Tupperware with you if you want to bring home leftovers!
- Keep a reusable water bottle and coffee thermos with you on the go and another at work!
Sure packing up and remembering these items takes a bit more work on your end, but even one plastic item saved is a step in the right direction.
Healthy body, healthy planet
Not only are processed foods bad for your body, but they hurt the earth too! According to the International Business Times, a bag of chips can take 80 years to decompose! You can make several lifestyle shifts to reduce your contribution to the landfill while feeling healthy on the inside.
- Opt for unwrapped fruits and veggies for snacks instead of turning to processed foods. An apple core only takes one month to break down! Shop in the outside aisles of the grocery store for fresh foods instead of in the middle where processed snacks live.
- Make homemade treats instead of snacks held in single-use plastics. This zero-waste granola bar is both healthy and filling!
- Bring your own bags and Tupperware for deli and bakery items. Bakers and butchers in grocery stores tend to wrap goods in plastics. Ask them if they can use your reusables instead! Butchers should be able to tare the scale when weighing your meat or seafood with your Tupperware.
Adopt new bathroom habits
We might not think of our everyday personal care rituals as harmful to the environment. Unfortunately, the products we have been using for years may be hurting the planet. Try out these simple swaps as more sustainable options.
- Opt for bars over plastics for soaps, shampoos, and conditioners. Not only does it take plastic bottles 70-450 years to break down, but bar soaps are typically cheaper to purchase as well.
- If bar shampoos and conditioners don’t do well with your hair type, head to a bulk refill center! Bring old bottles and refill them with liquid shampoos, conditioners, soaps, and more! Find a refill center near you here.
- Stray away from basic plastic toothbrushes and look for ones made of bamboo instead!
Create a community of like-minded people to inspire others to join a low-waste lifestyle. With social media, its easier now more than ever to find your eco-tribe. Here’s what you can do:
- Schedule a beach or nature clean-up in your community! Organize an event on Facebook and invite everyone! You can make a game out of the day where whoever picks up the most trash gets an eco-friendly prize!
- Communication is key when it comes to loved ones. Let them know the impact of excess plastic has on the earth and what it means to you emotionally. You can then provide suggestions for replacing their plastics. GreenMatters does a great job in explaining how to talk to your loved ones about going zero-waste.
- Suggest wholesome activities when you get together with friends that don’t involve waste. Enjoy a day in nature, watch a documentary about sustainability, or have an upcycling crafting day!
With all of these tips in mind, it’s best to remember that the best way to have a plastic-free July is to adopt a less-is-more lifestyle. Say no to mindless purchases and say yes to enjoying life without an excess of material items.