Plastic Free July
What you can do!
Want some tips to find out how you can reduce plastic waste? The good news is, anyone can get involved. You can start out small, or really challenge yourself! Get inspired using the menu options below.
Takeaway Coffee Cups
You can easily avoid takeaway coffee cups by bringing along your own reusable alternative. There are many reusable coffee cups available on the market. Keep it in your bag or on your desk at work; wherever you’ll remember to use it.
Many people choose socially and environmentally-friendly reusables made of ceramic, glass, plastic or stainless steel.
You don’t even need to purchase a special cup. You can bring a mug or jar from home – just be conscious of using items that can heat up or don’t travel well if you’re going far.
If you forget your reusable alternative and don’t have time to dine-in, consider going without. It might not be easy, but will probably mean you never forget again!
More and more people are choosing toothbrushes are made from sustainable, compostable materials, such as bamboo. Be aware though, bristles are usually still made from plastic, so you’ll need to cut them off before composting or reusing your bamboo toothbrush handle.
Purchasing a toothbrush with a replaceable head can eliminate the need to continually purchase a new plastic brush every few months, too.
When it comes to toothpaste, many health and organic stores sell plastic-free alternatives. There are also recipes available online for making your own.
These days, there are many reusable alternatives to single-use sanitary items. This includes the increasingly popular menstrual cups, which are made by numerous brands and can be purchased online and in many health stores and chemists. These cups are inserted like a tampon, and typically need to be emptied and cleaned out a couple of times a day.
Period underwear and washable cotton pads and liners are also reusable alternatives, again with many brands available to choose from. These work more like pads, and can all be washed in the washing machine.
With a little bit of creativity, you can easily plan a party that’s free from balloons and other harmful single-use plastics. Popular decorations that can be reused time and time again, include bunting, tassels, tissue pom poms, lanterns, fresh flowers, and more.
Having a theme for your party can help you to draw inspiration for making your own, borrowing or buying reusable party decorations.
With crafting making a comeback, many people find it easy and fun to make decorations from old fabric and scrap paper, too.
Friends and neighbours are a great source of reusable decorations or materials for that home-made creation. Before buying anything, simply put the word out and see what you can borrow.
Many people use Facebook for finding decorations. Local groups – such as Buy Nothing – often have a bank of decorations available to share amongst the community.
Plastic bottles and containers hide in many corners of the bathroom or in the drawers under your sink, and they are also some of the easiest to eliminate.
More and more people are choosing to make their own beauty and personal care products – it is simpler than you might think. There are numerous online recipes and tutorials for soap, shampoo, shower gel, toothpaste, scrubs and lotions. Using simple, inexpensive ingredients, these products are better for the planet and reduce your use of plastic too.
You may prefer to buy pre-made products, but without the plastic packaging. There are a number of brands that supply soap, shampoo, conditioner, shaving cream and more in bar form, without any packaging or just a simple cardboard box.
A third option is to take an empty plastic bottle and refill it at a bulk goods store.
Making the switch from shower gel to bars of soap is an easy way to reduce consumption of single-use plastics. Bar soaps come in different blends to suit body washing, face wash, shampoo and shaving, so your line-up of bottles may become a line-up of bars.
Some people also go one step further and check the ingredients of the soap to ensure they don’t contain palm oil, which contributes to deforestation.
Bar soap can often be purchased without packaging, especially in bulk food, health, and organic stores. Alternatively, many suppliers use cardboard to package their soap which can be thrown in the compost once used.
Bulk Food Shopping
From produce to cereal, drinks to snacks, the shelves of grocery stores can be filled to the brim with plastic packaging. When beginning your plastic-free journey, this might have become alarmingly apparent to you.
Bulk and loose foods can offer a solution to this. Many people keep a shopping list and visit their bulk food store just once a month, to stock up on items such as flour, nuts, dishwashing liquid and more, in a way that doesn’t use single-use plastic.
Most bulk food stores and many general stores have paper bags that you can fill, or you can bring your own reusable produce bags, containers, and glass jars. You, or the counter assistant, can weigh your container before you fill it, so that you’re only paying for the product, not the weight of your container.
Reusable shopping bags are a fantastic alternative to single-use plastic bags. It’s a great idea to keep a stash of your reusable bags somewhere where you’ll remember them; like in the boot of your car or by your front door. You can also get into the habit of writing a reminder to yourself at the start of each grocery shopping list.
Reusable bags go beyond just grocery shopping – bring them along for all shopping trips! There are even purse/pocket sized reusable bags that you can keep on hand for emergencies.
There are many fantastic alternatives to plastic cling wrap that you can use to reduce plastic pollution. Storing and packing food in reusable containers is a great start. You can also purchase reusable silicone bowl toppers to cover food in bowls, pots and pans, or even get crafty with an upside down plate, reusable cloth cover or wax wrap.
Wax wraps and containers make a great, reusable alternative for wrapping sandwiches. You can also buy reusable washable cloth bags to store and pack food in, as a better option to zip lock bags.
It goes beyond your own home, though; you can make an impact by avoiding food that’s pre-packed in cling wrap and choosing an alternative product instead.
For even more ideas visit plasticfreejuly.org