Go plastic free
July is a great time to try reducing your use of single-use plastic with the timing of Plastic Free July: a month-long challenge to reduce the amount of single-use plastic we consume, with the long-term aim of changing habits permanently and reducing plastic use even further.
Plastic-free is a bit of a tricky idea, because the more you look, the more plastic you will see. It can be helpful to focus on just single-use plastic, or particular types of products to start with. Focus on reducing those before eliminating them.
Everyday Plastic advocate a “less-plastic” approach overall and so do we. Both at home and at work.
Join the Plastic Free July challenge!
Here are some fabulous tips compiled and shared by our member Tracey for #PlasticFreeJuly.
What does the challenge mean to you? Are you going to avoid all single-use plastic in July or just certain things (like bottles, coffee cups, wet wipes etc)? Know what success looks like for you personally so you have something to aim for each day.
It will be difficult. No one is perfect and if you don’t achieve a completely plastic-free day then it’s ok! Be honest with yourself, recognise what went wrong and try again. It will get easier the more you do it.
Forward plan. I think this is key to avoiding single-use plastic. For example, think about meal planning so you know what you need to get for each day, or the week, then think about where you can buy it packaging free. Do you need to avoid online shopping and instead plan a trip to the supermarket or local market stall to get loose fruit and veg, visit a zero-waste shop for dried foods & cleaning product refills and is there a butchers (or supermarket counter) near you where you can take your own containers?
Stop and think. If you pop into a shop while you’re out, it’s easy to ‘grab & go’, but try to stop and look at all the options available for what you are about to buy and choose the one with no (or the least amount) of plastic. It’s amazing how much more plastic you ‘see’ when you look at packaging properly.
Prepare! Get your containers, reusable coffee cup, water bottle and loose veg bags ready and keep them with you, in the car or easily accessible by the front door so you can grab them on the way to the shops. Don’t forget your reusable shopping bags too!
Don’t create waste. The challenge isn’t about throwing out all the single-use plastic already in your home. It is less wasteful to continue to use items you already have until they are finished and then replace them with a zero-waste option. So, for example, if you run out of toothpaste in July, think about what alternatives you can replace it with rather than just buying a new tube. Don’t forget you can reuse many plastic bottles and containers at zero waste shops to refill toiletries and cleaning products.
Finally, remember that some plastic is going to be unavoidable such as with medicines etc so, in these cases, think about how you are disposing of the waste.
Putting it into practice
Everyday Plastic has a brilliant blog article with eight easy tips, that if a quarter of the population strictly followed, would stop 3.4 billion pieces of plastic from entering the waste system or environment!
The ideas are broken down into reducing a few key items by 100%, 75%, 50%, 25% or even as little as 10%. The positive impact you can have is huge and you don’t need to make really big changes.
These are swaps and changes everyone will be able to do; no matter where you are, what your budget is or how much time you have. Have a look at how they suggest tackling the most common products used at home or on-the-go.
Going plastic-free and saving money on a day out
Even more ideas and tips in this great video from a boy who loves a day out. He was inspired to cut out some plastic to enjoy even more days out with the money saved.