Plastic Free July is a global movement that helps millions of people be part of the solution to plastic pollution.
Whether you have already embarked on a low-waste journey or you're just getting started at reducing your waste, everyone is encouraged to participate. The goal is progress over perfection.
You can start by choosing one single area to focus on, such as no plastic bags. Or you can challenge yourself and focus on a few different areas.
Here are some ideas to show you how easy it is to participate in Plastic Free July, as well as be more eco-conscious overall!
1. Grocery Shopping
- Bring your own reusable grocery bags in lieu of the plastic ones.
- Skip the produce bags or bring your own.
- Shop at bulk food stores and bring your own containers and reusable bags.
- Skip the pre-made/pre-cut if you can make it or do it yourself.
- Buy in family size for more product with less excess packaging.
- Fact: Did you know that plastic bags can take 1000 years to decompose?
2. Drinks + Accessories
- Always carry a full reusable water bottle with you.
- Have a reusable coffee mug on hand wherever you usually grab coffee (in your car, office, backpack, gym bag, etc.)
- Refuse plastic straws; or if you are an avid straw user, purchase a reusable one and carry it with you.
- DIY beverages: instead of purchasing the pre-made variety, make your own sparkling water (SodaStream), mixed drinks, etc.
- Bonus: not only will you save money and waste from purchasing plastic water bottles, but always having water on hand is a great way to ensure you're staying hydrated.
3. Flyers + Mail
- Call your flyer provider and asked to be removed from their delivery list.
- Place a note on your mailbox requesting no unaddressed mail items such as flyers and promotional materials.
- Unsubscribe from the Yellow Pages delivery list online.
- Choose electronic statements instead of paper statements for banking, bills, etc.
4. Soap + Lotion Bars
- Save a ton of excess plastic packaging by switching to bar soaps: hand soap, body soap, facial bars, shampoo and conditioner bars, body lotion bars, dish soap bars; the list goes on!
5. Gifts + Parties
- Gift "experiences" instead of items. This will save packaging, duplicate gifts and items that will likely collect dust or be tossed out down the road.
- For a child's party, consider hosting a "Fiver" party where each guest simply gives $5 and the birthday child can then go and select something special that they've been coveting.
- In lieu of gifts, request a donation to a charity.
- Choose party decorations that can be reused multiple times; or borrow/rent decorations.
In lieu of plastic loot bags full of party favours that will eventually be thrown out, give small items that will actually be enjoyed, such as a book, sidewalk chalk, small gift card, etc. Or simply forgo party favours altogether!
6. Cleaning + Scents
- Create your own cleaner by soaking citrus rinds in white vinegar for 2 weeks and then dilute with equal parts filtered water. Add a few drops of essential oils if you like. Pour into a reusable spray bottle.
- Use Lemon essential oil to remove sticky residue and stubborn stains.
- Diffuse 100% pure essential oils in lieu of candles or plug-ins to reduce waste, chemicals and enjoy the therapeutic benefits.
- If you choose to purchase candles, purchase the pillar type or ones with a glass jar that can be reused.
- Use natural soap berries in lieu of laundry detergent.
- Hang clothing to dry when possible to save energy.
Swap dryer sheets for wool dryer balls to reduce drying time by 30% - 50% and avoid the unnecessary chemicals in dryer sheets.
- Tip: 100% pure essential oils not only provide a lovely aroma, they have countless therapeutic benefits as well.
7. Eating Out
- When ordering take-out, request no cutlery or straws to save on unnecessary waste.
- Ask if the take-out restaurant will allow you to bring your own containers for your food.
- If you are eating out and you know you won't finish your meal, bring your own container and reusable bag for your leftovers.
8. Swap Out Kitchen Items
- Use reusable containers, reusable bags and lunchboxes in lieu of disposable bags.
- Swap plastic wrap for reusable beeswax wraps.
- Make your own popsicles.
- Use a dish soap block and natural bristle brush.
- Bulk food shop to avoid excess packaging.
- Use a tea infuser in lieu of tea bags.
9. Transition to a Low-Waste Bathroom
- Use a bamboo toothbrush and toothpaste tabs.
- Switch to shampoo and conditioner bars.
- Use a safety razor in lieu of plastic disposable razors.
- Make your own shaving oil.
- Swap cotton pads for reusable make-up remover pads.
- Ditch the tampons and pads for a period cup or period-proof underwear.
10. Do Your Best
- Start making changes in one area at a time until it becomes a habit.
- Be gentle with yourself and focus on the positive changes you're making.
- Remember that you are leading by example and your actions will inspire others; but it's not your responsibility to convince others to do the same.
- Have fun with this journey and be proud of yourself!