What is Plastic-Free July?
Plastic-Free July is an annual global challenge organised by The Plastic Free Foundation, a non-profit that was established in 2017. The challenge was first launched in 2011. Now a global operation, Plastic-Free July encourages people to give up single-use plastics for one month. Throughout the 31 days, you’ll refuse plastic bags and turn down disposable bottles. You’ll avoid plastic-packaged foods and opt for recyclable containers such as glass, metal, and paper.
The challenge aims to raise awareness about plastic pollution by making you understand just how dependent you are on single-use plastics. The foundation believes that one month without plastic is enough to help you build everyday habits that benefit the environment.
Get ready for plastic-free July
If you’ve already signed up to the Plastic Free July EcoChallenge, give yourself a pat on the back! The next step is getting prepared. You’ll find this challenge much easier if you start adapting to a zero-waste lifestyle before July 1st comes around. Here are some tips to help you deal with the most common plastic problems.
Buy a reusable water bottle
Get used to carrying an eco-friendly stainless-steel water bottle in your bag wherever you go and make a note of places where you can refill for free while out and about. The FLASKE thermos bottle comes in four sizes so you can stay hydrated no matter the size of your bag.
Start bringing your own bags
If you don’t already have a reusable cotton tote, then now is the time to get one. Tuck it into your bag or jacket pocket so that you can refuse plastic bags on your next trip to the store. A couple of mesh bags are also useful for when you’re buying unpackaged vegetables from the grocery store.
Make your toiletries and cleaning supplies
Many toiletries and cleaning products can be made at home with everyday kitchen supplies like baking soda, vinegar, and coconut oil.
Use reusable sanitary products
There are now many inexpensive zero-waste alternatives to tampons and pads such as menstrual cups, washable pads and washable period underwear.
Limit online shopping
When you buy something online, the product is often packaged in plastic. During Plastic-Free July, and beyond, check the company packaging policy before purchasing a product. To keep it simple, only shop from eco-friendly online stores that package their products in recyclable materials.
Eat homemade meals
Reduce your plastic consumption and eat healthier by cooking your meals at home. You can store the leftovers in reusable food containers and take them to work the next day.
Prepare your drinks at home
Instead of getting a takeaway coffee on your way out, make your tea, coffee, and other beverages at home and take them with you. You can start with these four fruity iced tea recipes. Alternatively, remember to bring a travel coffee mug or tumbler cup when you stop into your favourite coffee shop.
Check your trash
Looking in your bin will teach you a lot about your wasteful plastic habits. If you find that your bin is mostly filled with disposable food containers, then think about buying a reusable food pot. If it’s mostly food packaging, try shopping at a zero-waste store or buying in bulk instead. If takeaway coffee cups and water bottles are taking up a lot of space, maybe you need a travel coffee mug or a reusable water bottle.