It’s Plastic Free July and I’m inviting you to join the challenge.
The challenge is simple… refuse single-use plastic in July.
It may seem daunting, but there are lots of little steps that you can take to reduce your use of single use plastic. Here’s 17 ideas to get you started:
1. Say no to teabags. Did you know that most teabags have plastic in them to stop the bag ripping when it’s dunked in hot water? Go with looseleaf tea instead. As a bonus, you’ll get a better cuppa. Loose leaf tea uses better quality leaves than the powdery stuff that gets shoved into tea bags.
2. Choose reusable coffee cups. Take your cup with you when you get a takeaway. You can do this with takeaway containers, too. Getting noodles for dinner? Take your own container rather than getting a throwaway plastic one.
3. Skip the packaging at the fruit and veggie shop. Instead of buying bags of prepacked apples, buy them loose and reuse produce bags. If you’re the handy type, you could make your own produce bags. If you’re not, check out Onya’s reusable produce bags.
4. Buy in bulk and freeze. I love chickpeas and I buy them in bulk. I do a batch in the pressure cooker then freeze them in portion sizes in old jam jars. I make soup and freeze them in jam jars or mason jars. I even make and freeze stock in jam jars. Even though I work full time, I still make time to do this kind of stuff. In the end, it saves time because I shop less, and I can grab stuff from the freezer when I need it.
5. Skip the straw. Each year, Australians discard millions of plastic straws. As The Last Straw suggests, sip, don’t suck. If you must suck, try a reusable glass straw or stainless steel straw instead.
6. Take a water bottle with you! My kids know that I hate buying water. Hate it so much that I make them go into the toilets and drink out of a tap (not the toilet!) instead of buying bottled water. We’ve got water bottles floating around everywhere at our place – bedside tables (so the cat doesn’t knock over water glasses in the night), in the car, in schoolbags.
7. Use a wooden comb. I’ve had a bamboo one for years. It’s lightweight, and easy to carry, plus it’s gentle on my hair.
8. Aim for no waste lunches. Use stainless steel containers, glass containers, even reusable safe plastic lunchboxes. That may not sound like Plastic Free July, but the idea is to refuse single use plastic (because we get that kids are kids!). And reusable plastic is so much better than plastic baggies or glad wrap.
9. Say no to snacks. Individually wrapped ones, at least. Why not learn to make some of the snacks that you buy individually wrapped? Think muesli bars and mini cupcakes. Send kids to school with yoghurt that you’ve bought in bulk and put into reusable containers. Say no to individually wrapped cheese portions and cut them squares off a bigger block. Buy potato chips in big bags and pop them into a smaller container for kids. You’ll save money by buying in bulk, too!
10. Don’t buy juice! Rather than buying popper style juices, get them a refillable bottle instead. Or squeeze your own juice. Or even better, go with water instead. Or you could even try infused fruit waters, which taste great but don’t have all the sugar of juices. And before you scoff, and tell me that your kids would never go for that, let me tell you that I serve fruit water at kids parties and they’re always a huge hit!
11. Take a bag. Grab some reusable bags to go shopping with (preferably not the ‘green bag’ style ones that you get in the supermarkets as these are actually made with plastic). Try something like the Envirosax, which I’ve had for years and still use and love.
12. Use a razor with disposable blades, rather than a disposable razor.
13. If you surf, think about using a bamboo surf wax comb. When you lose your plastic one, it immediately becomes part of the ocean’s plastic waste problem, but if you lose a bamboo one – no impact, dude.
15. Think about using cloth nappies and training pants, even if only part time. Nappies, even eco disposables, contain plastic and there’s not yet a fully biodegradable nappy.
16. Buy cleaning products in boxes, not bottles. Using a laundry powder, you can choose ones that come in a cardboard box, that is more easily recycled. Whereas if you use liquid, it comes in a bottle.
17. You can also think about buying cleaning products in bulk and refilling containers you already have. Or choose cleaning products that have concentrated versions that use less packaging. Check out Melbourne brand, Resparkle, with their unique refill pod system.
What are your ideas on how to go plastic free? Comment below and share your best tips with me!