Join me in marking plastic free July this year by introducing some more sustainable swaps into your lifestyle. Plastic Free July is a global movement that aims to reduce plastic pollution. Plastic clogs up our streets, landfills and oceans. Join the movement by choosing to refuse single-use plastics. Here are some of the ways that you can reduce your use of plastic.
REUSABLE COFFEE CUPS AND WATER BOTTLES
Don’t get caught out when your out and about. If you’re drinking in a coffee shop, you are usually provided with cups in the store which are washed and reused over and over. But if you’re taking your drink away with you, this isn’t possible. Invest in a reusable coffee cup so that you can avoid single use coffee cups. Plus, most stores will offer you a discount for bringing your own flask or cup.
Additionally, a reusable water bottle will prevent you from needing to buy bottled water. Again saving you money and helping to reduce your use of single use plastic.
AT THE SUPERMARKET
When picking loose items such as potatoes, onions and peppers it can be tempting to use the little plastic bags that the supermarket provide. You can avoid these completely by putting your products into a reusable fabric bag.
Many supermarkets now offer a paper bag alternative – if yours doesn’t why not suggest it to their customer service team?
The availability of zero waste shops is also increasing. These shops have removed all forms of unnecessary waste. Meaning that the products don’t come individually wrapped — there’s just a variety of package free loose products.
PREPARE LUNCH IN ADVANCE
Plan your meals ahead and store your packed lunches in reusable tupperware. This will help you to save money and reduce the amount of food packaging you consume.
Cook double the potion size for your evening meal and enjoy it warmed up on your lunch break. Encourage those around you to do the same. Plan ‘bring your own lunch’ team meetings.
PLASTIC FREE PERIOD
People who menstruate will have, on average, 450 periods over their lifetime! Lots of plastic tampon applicators end up in landfills and on beaches around the world.
This year I started using WUKA Period Pants. Period pants are leakproof knickers, that take away the need to wear a pad, tampon or menstrual cup. After use, you wash them like you would with your usual underwear. Each pair of period pants can replace up to 3 tampons per cycle.
BUY AND SELL SECOND-HAND
Sell your old unwanted clothes and buy second-hand. Buying and selling second-hand clothes and furniture will save your bank balance and reduce the consumption of plastic.
MAKE EVERY PARTY OR EVENT PLASTIC FREE
Refuse balloons and other single-use plastic party decorations. Switch to plastic free alternatives, such as:
- Swap glitter for confetti made out of dried leaves.
- Choose paper goody bags by sourcing treats from the bulk food store, or make gifts of seeds, plants, second hand books, and homemade candles.
- Replace disposable cups / plates / cutlery with reusable items borrowed from neighbours or friends.
- Refuse single-use plastic water bottles by filling a water jug or dispenser from the tap.
- Opt for paper straws or reusable ones made from metal, glass, or bamboo.
RECYCLE OR UPCYCLE
If an item is beyond use – recycle where possible. Have a dedicated recycling bin in your home. You could also encourage your workplace to instal recycling bins. For larger items find your local recycling centre.
MORE SUSTAINABILITY TIPS
Here are some of the articles I’ve already published on the topic of sustainable living.
Ways to Live a More Sustainable Life
5 Effortless Ways to Raise Money for Good Causes
Reduce Your Carbon Footprint at Home
UK Bloggers Share Their Top Sustainability Tips
To move closer to achieving plastic free living, your first priority should be reviewing your own use of plastic. Then you should aim to educate and support those around you to live more sustainably. And then it’s up to all us to encourage more powerful systems such as local, national and international powers through petitions and campaigns.