Have you heard about Plastic Free July?
What started as a small movement in Australia in 2011 has since expanded to over 150 cities with millions of participants worldwide. The goal of Plastic Free July is to challenge people to not use any single-use plastics during the month in hopes to help them form more sustainable habits beyond just July.
If you want to still live your best life while also avoiding single-use plastics, the key is being prepared.
Here are some helpful tools and tips to help you stay plastic free this July.
BYOC (Bring Your Own Cup)
July is HOT. And there’s nothing quite like a cool iced coffee in the morning after waking up with your sheets sticking to your sweaty thighs (just me?). To keep your daily coffee shop trip plastic-free, bring along your own reusable cup, thermos or mason jar.
Be bold and kindly request your drink in your own container, and feel free to even throw in “I’m challenging myself to not use any single-use plastics in July!” to spread the word on the movement.
Skip the plastic straw
The average person uses about 1.6 non-recyclable plastic straws per day, plus plastic straws are one of the most common forms of plastic pollution in the ocean.
Adopt the phrase “no straw please” when ordering a drink at a bar or glass of water at a restaurant. Or get yourself a reusable option like a stainless steel, bamboo or silicone straw for sipping your iced coffee.
Shove reusable bags everywhere (get your head out of gutter)
It takes a second to get into the habit of bringing reusable bags with you when shopping, so set yourself up for success by pre-placing bags all over your home, car and in your work or school bag.
Just say “nah” to plastic cling wrap
Try a more sustainable alternative to wrap up leftovers like aluminum foil which is 100% recyclable, or my personal favorite, reusable beeswax wrap.
Buh bye protein bars, hello bulk snacks
A huge source of single-use plastics for many people comes in the form of prepackaged grab-and-go food like a protein or granola bar.
You can get all of the same nutrients and flavor from common items in the bulk food section of Whole Foods or a natural foods store like nuts, dried fruit and granola. Or, reach for a piece of real fruit instead when you’ve got a hankering for a snack.
Or if you’re really feeling up for it, experiment with making your own snack bars using bulk ingredients, or items that come in recyclable packaging.
Test out a plastic-free period
If you have a pretty regular cycle, you bleed once a month (love you mother nature, except for that one part). If that’s you, chances are during July you’ll have a period.
Tampon applicators and most pad and tampon wrappers are single-use plastics. Unless you’re a menstruating person who’s comfortable with free bleeding (go you!) you’ve gotta find a way to keep those fluids in check.
My personal choice is a menstrual cup. It’s a soft silicone cup that’s inserted inside of you in the morning, and only has to be removed once a day to be emptied, rinsed and then reinserted.
There are also reusable, washable pad and panty liner options as well that are great for someone who doesn’t like putting something inside of them
Let July be your month to leap into the wonderful world of alternative period products!
Meet your new BFF, your reusable water bottle
The plastic free tool that’s always got your back – a sturdy reusable water bottle.
Especially in the hot temps of July, staying hydrated is incredibly important. Treat your water bottle as if it’s your third hand and don’t ever leave home without it.
If you’re down for good old tap water, fill it up in the bathroom sink, or if you’re at a bar (as many people are for the majority of July…don’t kid yourself) ask the bartender to fill it up.
If your local tap isn’t the best, or you just prefer filtered water, get yourself a small water filter that can fit inside your bottle.
Switch up your personal care routine
Though many personal care items such as deodorant sticks, plastic razors or fash wash in a plastic tube aren’t technically “single-use” plastics, many of them are non-recyclable in traditional municipal recycling.
Use Plastic Free July as your excuse to start exploring some different options like a package free shampoo bar, all stainless steel razor or cream deodorant that comes in a glass jar.
Here are some of my go-to plastic-free personal care items.
Are you ready to take the challenge? My store is also running weekly sales to help make it more affordable to transition to a plastic free life, so make sure to check it out.