Plastic Free July: 10 Tips for Reducing Your Plastic Use

Happy July! This month is Plastic Free July, a global movement that challenges individuals to reduce their plastic usage. The movement was started by a group in Australia that recognizes the potential that individuals have in the global fight against plastic pollution and seeks to inspire collective individual action. Striving to lead a more low-waste lifestyle is a personal challenge to benefit the global environment and community. So, how can you be a part of Plastic Free July this year?

1. Reusable Water Bottles

Whether you’re a Hydroflask or a Yeti person, bring that sh*t with you everywhere. Stay hydrated while also refusing plastic bottles! This may seem like an obvious one, but I’m still surprised by how many people I see still using plastic bottles.

2. Reuse as many things as possible in your home

  • Peanut butter/jam/sauce jars make great glasses or storage for extra food

  • Ziplock bags can be reused, or invest in silicone ones that will last longer

  • Keep old spray bottles to make your own solutions (hair care, cleaners, saline spray, etc.)

3. BYOB (even during the pandemic)

Many grocery stores have banned reusable bags for sanitary reasons during this pandemic. However, one solution is asking them to put everything back in the cart instead of into plastic or paper bags, and loading up your own bags once you get back to your car. Produce bags can be a little more difficult: if you need something that requires a plastic bag, opt to bring your own compostable bags (which are also excellent for compost bins!)

4. Try to bake & cook your own food that often comes in plastic

Bread, granola, trail mix, and most snacks tend to come in plastic packaging (that often isn’t even recyclable!). This month, make an effort to try making your own. It’s a lot easier and quicker than it sounds!

Here are some great granola recipes:

5. If you run out of shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, deodorant, etc. this month, consider a new option!

Shampoo and conditioner bars are great plastic free options – check out our last post for more details!

6. Try to avoid getting takeout containers this month

Cook more at home, make your own coffee, and bring your own snacks if you are getting out of the house! Opt to support local businesses that provide takeout in compostable containers, have opened up to outdoor dining, and buy coffee beans in bulk from your favorite coffee shop.

7. If you need to buy a gift for yourself or a friend, check out zero waste and package free shops

8. Commit to using no single use plastic this month

Challenge yourself, you might be surprised how easy it is once you get in the habit of swapping out reusable/compostable alternatives! That means no plastic cutlery, straws, takeout containers, bags, cups, etc.

9. Buy in bulk and reimagine your current food storage

Bring in some glass jars for bulk items (your homemade granola or trail mix) – you’ll be saving the planet and your money simultaneously!

10. Check out your local farmers markets

If they are open in your area, farmer’s markets tend to limit plastic use, have produce in compostable containers, and often allow you to bring your own bags!

Here’s some additional resources if you’re interested in more tips:

Bay Area readers: Check out Zero, a zero waste grocery delivery service. They are only delivering in the Bay Area as of now, but have a great selection and pick up your used jars/containers with the next delivery. If you don't live in the Bay Area, encourage family or friends who do to try it!

The Bottom Line: Despite the challenges with making changes to your lifestyle, especially during the COVID pandemic, we encourage you to participate in Plastic Free July with us! By reducing your personal plastic waste, you are contributing to a cleaner and more sustainable world – and your actions translate into an enormous impact. Hopefully these tips can help you develop habits that will last into August and beyond!

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