Plastic Free July is a few days away! We want to encourage as many people to join us as it's a great way to change your lifestyle and see just how much plastic we consume daily.
If you’re thinking about doing it - join our Facebook support group where we encourage each other and share tips and tricks.
As I prepare for the upcoming month, I wanted to share some preparation tips so that you can join me and we can go on this journey together.
I committed to Plastic Free July wholeheartedly last year, and I was completely shocked about how much plastic was hidden in everyday items.
Everything from toilet paper, shampoos, toothpaste, tea bags, and more - all contain some sort of plastic!
And even though I failed, I can honestly say that it changed my life and I am much more conscious with my behaviour as a result.
The main thing that I learned last year is that preparation is key. You can see below that this year I am excited!
But before we go into how to prepare, let’s take a quick look at the history of Plastic Free July and why it’s so important.
Plastic Free July began in Australia in 2011 by Rebecca Prince-Ruiz. The aim was to raise awareness around how much single-use plastic we use in our daily lives. Last year over 150 million people committed to Plastic Free July (we hope you join us this year)
You already know the catastrophic impact that wasteful plastic has on our environment… but let’s just refresh our memory...
The world is currently producing nearly 300 million tons of plastic each year - a significant amount of which will end up in the oceans.
The less we use = the less demand, the less production, and the cleaner our world.
The only solution to combat this problem is for each individual to reject needless plastic.
SO LET’S TACKLE PLASTIC FREE JULY TOGETHER AND MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN OUR WORLD!
Click here to join our Facebook Group and introduce yourself. You will be welcomed with open arms.
If you are worried that it will be impossible… remember perfection is not the goal. It’s about creating consistent habits.
Even if you make one small change a day, you’re still reducing your plastic and every change makes a difference.
Here are 11 tips that I learned from last year to help you prepare…
1. Tell your friends and family that you’re doing Plastic Free July. If your friends know you’re doing it, it might encourage them to do it, too. As well as the obvious environmental benefit, it makes it easier to say no to plastic as you won’t want to let-down your promise.
2. Make sure you’ve got your reusable items ready. If you’re a coffee / tea addict like me, you’ll need a reusable coffee cup. And you might need to keep a set of reusable utensils in your bag just in case you find yourself in a cafe that only has plastic.
3. Stock up on plastic-free tea and coffee! Tea bags contain plastic in the seal and coffee often contains plastic in the packaging too. For tea, I’d recommend going loose leaf and for coffee, you can buy beans from bulk stores and grind them at home.
4. Make your own nut milk. This is one that takes a bit more preparation because I bought a milk-machine for this. As a non-dairy drinker, I drink a lot of almond milk but this often comes packaged in plastic. You can easily make our own nut milk (and its tastier and fresher too) by mixing almonds with water in a special blender.
5. I also make my own homemade nut butter to save on the packaging which comes when you buy it in shops.
6. Always keep your reusable bag with you at all times! I know it can be difficult to remember so here are a few tips that I do:
- Attach a clip to one or two bags and fasten to my handbag
- Hang on a shelf or hook near the front door, so I always see them on my way out!
- Have a permanent note stuck on my dashboard or steering wheel that says 'GOTCHYA BAGS?'
- Use a reusable bag to put my keys, water bottle wallet and list in, so I can't forget them!
7. Try a reusable menstrual cup over disposable pads or plastic-packaged tampons. This one might take some time to get used to, but so many of my friends seem to agree with me when I rave about how great it makes me feel.
8. Shop fruit & veggies at the farmers market rather than grocery store. This will allow you to pick your own produce and pack in your own produce bags and reduce the amount of plastic packaged food you buy.
9. Try planting some fruits, veggies and herbs at home!
10. Shop at bulk stores. This might sound a little bit intimidating to start with, but you take your own containers and it will help to reduce a huge amount of packaging. For a list of all the bulk shops near you, check this list here.
11. And join our Facebook group! We’ve just launched a private “Zero Waste Cartel - Plastic-Free July” Facebook group to help you throughout Plastic Free July. We’ll share tips and support our members throughout the month so you never feel like giving up. So click here to join and together we will reduce the amount of plastic we use.
I hope these tips have been useful - if you have any tips of your own, I’d love to hear them!
And if you’ve got any plastic items that you’re struggling to give up, let me know and I’ll see if I have any suggested alternatives which you can use.
I hope you’re as excited as I am!
Remember to come join us in our group - click here to join!
Co-Founder of Zero Waste Cartel & surfer of very small waves.
I am so excited to find a group of like-minded people participating in Plastic Free July! I used this opportunity to start a passion project – a YouTube channel called Frugal Fani. It’s my home for all things Litter Bug, Sustainable, Plastic Free, Progress not Perfection, and all other avenues for Saving the World. Thank you for all you do to keep us hopeful and not helpless.
I’m going to try my best! i’m trying hard to mindful lately. I’ve worked at Jamba for a little over a year now, and it disgusts me how much plastic we use and waste. we also don’t have access to a recycling dumpster other than for cardboard, so all of the recyclable plastic can’t even be recycled. i try my best whenever i get a smoothie to use a reusable cup, and my nifty metal straw, and to rinse out and reuse the greek yogurt containers for oatmeal or smoothie bowls when i get those as well. but do you have any tips for this? and my coworkers notice and just say stuff like “wow you’re cool” but they never follow my example. it’s really not hard. anyway, thanks for these tips!! i’ll try my best!! i’ve switched to a menstrual cup too last winter and it makes me feel so happy to not be using plastic and yucky tampons, not to mention it’s better and more convenient for YOU! anyway, thanks again! i’ll be trying!!
On June 7, I decided to go plastic-free on my one-time use plastics for an entire year. I really appreciate your article and support group. I’ll be honest. The first week was pretty stressful, but once I figured out alternatives for lots of my “necessities”, life got a lot easier.
Keep up the great work. It’s wonderful to know I’m not alone in any of this!
I have an alternative suggestion for number 8 for people who like pads over tampons! I use period panties (I use Thinx brand personally, but I’m sure they’re all good by now since the concept has been around for several years!)
The only downside is that the panties come in plastic :( If you order some, email customer service to request better packaging! If enough of us request it, maybe it’ll make an impact! At least the panties are good over and over like any normal pair, and just go in the washing machine, so it powers the plastic impact even if it doesn’t eliminate it.
Good luck everyone!
Could you fix the link for finding bulk stores? Thanks!