And just like that – it’s July! One month closer to summer.
The month of July (whether you choose to accept or not) is internationally recognised as Plastic Free July. This is a personal challenge where you reduce the amount of single use plastics you are using in your day to day life. Much the same as Dry July, but you’re giving up plastic instead of alcohol. I am not going to harp on about how terrible single use plastics are for the environment, we all know this by now. I will however encourage you to make some small changes to your lifestyle for a week or even the whole month of July and register to Plastic Free July. We all love a challenge so why not challenge yourself to something new and see where it takes you.
I personally find giving up plastic a near impossible task, so I really do appreciate how challenging this can be. I have opted to give up all plastic for the month (she says, optimistically), but you can give up as many or as few as one plastic item you’ve been using for the challenge. To make things a little easier I have compiled a list of my “go to” plastic substitutes.
Reusable Coffee Cups
If you happen to follow me on Instagram, you may have seen my reusable coffee cup feature quite a few times. I love mine and it comes everywhere with me. A lot of cafes these days will have reusable cups for sale at the counter. There is a huge selection online and in supermarkets, homeware stores and knick knack stores all sell reusable coffee cups. If you decide for Plastic Free July to give up disposable coffee cups, I highly recommend getting yourself one of these. Not only are you saving the amount of plastic going into landfill, you often get a discount for using your own cup and you can take pretty pictures of your reusable cup for the ‘gram as well (if you’re that way inclined).
Reusable Drink Bottle
I have a number of reusable drink bottles. I rarely leave the house these days without one of my bottles filled and stowed in my handbag. I was shocking for being out and about and getting thirsty. Almost every time I left the house I would be buying another bottle of water. I cannot tell you when I last bought bottled water now. Its a thing of the past for me and I find I no longer even need to remember to bring a bottle with me, its become such a normal part of my routine I don’t even think about it anymore. Literally everywhere sells reusable drink bottles now, some are cheap as chips and others are more expensive. So a bottle for all budgets. If you have a reusable bottle already and find you’re not using it, try to grab it as you walk out the door. Leave it next to your car keys so you remember it, leave it next to your bag or put a reminder on your phone. Once you’re in the habit of bringing it, it will become second nature. I’ve also found I’ve been drinking a lot more water.
Reusable Shopping Bags
This one is quite common and as the supermarkets are starting to phase out plastic bags, what better reason to start getting into the habit of bringing them. Similar to my drink bottles, bringing my reusable shopping bags has become the norm for me. There is still the odd occasion where I am out and about and then realised I have no bags in the car. Sometimes I will end up buying a new reusable bag, sometimes I will try and carry it all to the car and then there are times when I’ll end up accepting a plastic bag. A good trick I’ve found with these bags is to always keep a couple of extra bags in the car in case of emergencies.
Not Using Plastic Bags For Fresh Produce
This is something I just started doing when food shopping. I made a rule, if I was getting five or less of the same fruit or vegetable it didn’t need to be in a bag. I just lay them in the bottom of the trolly and load them in groups for the checkout. I have since bought reusable produce bags which I use if I am buying smaller loose items, like green beans or brussel sprouts. Or if I am getting a large quantity of the same thing.
Refuse the Straw
When I stopped using straws, I thought about how many straws I was using on a night out. As one person I was using at least seven straws. I then thought about how many straws other people might be using. I did some rough math and decided no more straws for me. So I started saying no to straws. If you don’t like cold and or sugary liquids touching your teeth (like me), try a reusable straw. I carry a reusable straw in my handbag and I use it often. If you forget to say no to a straw the first time round, reuse the straw from that drink for the rest of the night.
I could go on all day about ways to reduce your single use plastic waste. But these are where I started and I found them the easiest to transition into. Give one or two a try and see how you get on.
I am no expert by any means, just a normal person trying my best to do my bit for the planet. And if you’ve already registered for Plastic Free July, I would love to hear what you’re giving up.
If you’re wanting to have a look online for some zero waste products I recommend The Natural Co. Rebecca sends her orders out quickly, stocks a fantastic range or zero waste products and is really nice and friendly to deal with. Rebecca has also given me a 15% discount code for my readers to use. Happy shopping and use the code PLASTICFREE at checkout*
Until Next time,