Excited, daunted, overwhelmed, happy to learn, willing to give it a go? Going single-use plastic free for a whole month is like a disposable detox or a plastic purge. Like all detoxes, it’s not going to be easy. It could get emotional (just imagine missing your morning coffee to save on single-use plastic because you've forgotten your keep cup! Ugly, right?) But, ultimately we know, that if we all accept the plastic free July challenge we'll come out cleaner, lighter and having made realistic and achievable changes that can last beyond July.
What’s it all about?
The Plastic Free July campaign started in 2011 out of Western Australia to raise awareness of plastic pollution and get people thinking about the scale of their single-use plastic use. Now a global movement, it challenges everyone to decrease their single-use plastic use by making a commitment that suits their lifestyle. That could be to live without single-use plastic for a day, a week or the whole month.
Where to start?
Register at https://www.plasticfreejuly.org/take-the-challenge/ and evaluate what’s achievable for you.
For us our single-use plastic free journey started a while back. We’ve made some easy swaps that mean a recycled foldable tote, keep cup and water bottle are part of our daily arsenal of reusables. But, for this month, we’re making more changes to that to see if we can bring different habits into the rotation of our plastic light existence. That said, we’re approaching the month with a healthy dose of realism. For us, that means that as part of two busy families with five children between us, we’re going to be doing what we can, where we can to be single-use plastic free and to generally live more plastic light.
Rewind. How did you get started?
By breaking it down into three categories: kitchen, bathroom, and out-and-about. Honing in on an area has, so far, made it easier to see where we can make changes to our single-use plastic consumption, to become plastic lighter and to hone our reusing habits.
Easy kitchen switches we've made:
- Avoiding plastic wrapped fruit and vegetables
- Recycling soft plastics (from bread bags or chip packets)
- Swapping pre-made lunch-box snacks for home-made
- Using beeswax food wraps
- Swapping zip lock bags for Stasher silicone reusable bags for snack storage
- Transporting snacks and lunches in metal lunch and snack boxes - our favourite? Planetbox
- Using spray and wipe kitchen cleaners and bamboo cleaning cloths instead of cleaning wipes. We love Koala Eco
- Swapping from scourers to wooden scrubbing brushes.
- Swapping shampoo for shampoo bars. We’re loving Ethique
- Switching to bamboo toothbrushes
- Using soap instead of hand wash
- Swapping to Oh Crap toilet rolls and tissues.
- Creating reusing habits by never leaving home without a recycled foldable tote bag, reusable water bottle and keep-cup.
- Taking lunches and snacks in reusable containers.
Where can we improve?
There’s so much more we can, and will, be trying to do. Like avoiding pre packed meat and fish. Buying fresh bread rather than plastic wrapped sliced. Buying milk in glass bottles rather than plastic. And, finding an alternative to chips and chip packets for kids lunch boxes. Any ideas?
The Plastic Free July website is full of suggestions we’ll be working our way through in the coming days.
It’s unrealistic of us to say that we’re heading towards being zero waste and living single-use plastic free, yet. We’re far from it. With the demands of feeding, clothing and entertaining our families we’re on the receiving end of daily doses of packaging, soft plastics and waste that we don’t want, and that makes our heart sink. Many day-to-day buys haven’t quite caught up with our desires for less single-use waste. But we are trying!
As a conscious consumers we’ve made positive changes where possible. Concentrating on reusing where possible and developing habits that we hope are making a difference leading to less single-use plastic, creating less waste and more reusing. Good luck for Plastic Free July. Successful reusing starts here. And let us know how you get on.
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