We're a great fan of 'Reduce, Reuse, Recycle', but can we go plastic free for a month? We're taking up the challenge in July and have lined up a few tips & tricks to make it as easy as possible! I'm sure you know the situation is pretty bad but I always find the 'why's' just as important as the 'how's', so:
Did you know Australia sent 1.2 million tonnes of waste into China in 2016-2017? With the recent import ban in China, the Australian government needs to step up its game and figure out a plan to recycle and hopefully reduce! Coming from Europe I was absolutely shocked to find out that you can't bring your plastic (1L +) bottles back to the supermarket to be recycled.
WildlifeEvery year, more than 800 million tonnes of plastic end up in our oceans, it's estimated that by 2050 there will be more plastic, than fish in the sea. It's not only the fish that suffer, I think by now we have all seen images of injured sea turtles or this heartbreaking photo illustrating the big threat to wildlife. It's time to do something, and while a month of #choosetorefuse won't change the world, it will make a lot of people more conscious, and aware that you can say no and pretty much always have an alternative. Here's our top tips:
9 tips for a successful Plastic Free July
1. Cook at home or eat in a restaurant
Meaning, go easy on take away/delivery services. This does not include pizza delivery, as they come cardboard boxes (THANK GOD). We have also found that quite a few healthy/vegan restaurants deliver their food in biodegradable packaging too. You can always give them a call to be sure!
2. Bring a cup
Invest in a little take away cup so you're morning coffee (lid) or juice is an easy one to take off the list. They come in all sizes and colors, and lots of coffee places even sell them at the counter, so no excuses here!
3. Refuse or use reusable straws
A few months ago I have started asking for my order without a straw, but a straw can be pretty useful when you're driving or maybe for your little ones, and let's be honest, it looks pretty cute too. That's why we only have to ban the plastic straws, leaving us with many options like, bamboo straws, paper straws (in endless patterns) and stainless steel straws. We prefer the last ones, as they have the longest lifespan, look pretty chic and are very easy to clean. They come in bend and straight shape and have a little pouch so it's easy to take them with you!
4. Leave the plastic bottles
Go on the hunt for the old school glass bottles. Have you ever tasted the orange Fanta in a glass bottle? I used to drink it as a kid in Sri Lanka and I've been on the hunt for it on every holiday since! Don't like water from the tap? Neither! Buy a big cardboard box at your local supermarket, it's cheaper than bottled water too!
If you want the easy way, you can always stick to bottles of wine for this month. In this case I recommend making a batch of this hangover curing lemonade for the mornings after (other home made lemonades are a great alternative to plastic lemonade bottles too!).
5. Buy in Bulk
In shops like The Source Bulk Foods you can scoop just what you need, and bring your own containers or bags. There is no way you'll be leaving this shop with more plastic than you came in with. We love to use produce bags for these kinda shopping trips. The muslin produce bags made of organic cotton are perfect to store nuts, seeds and grains. Buying fresh food makes it easier to reduce plastic waste, but the little bags at the fruit isle are very tempting to use, these organic cotton mesh bags are great alternative and have plenty of space for your weekly supply of fruits & vegs.
6. Make your own snacks
Addicted to your weekly (or daily, not judging) bar of snickers? Unfortunately those little slices of heaven come in plastic wrappers, but it's pretty ease to make them at home. This snickers recipe by The Minimalist Baker is free of plastic, dairy & palm oil, win win win!
7. Choose natural fabrics
Need to add some items to your wardrobe? Don't go for fabrics such as polyester and nylon, they are literally made of plastic and cause damage to the environment, and are in some cases even poisonous for humans. You can go for natural fabrics like cotton, hemp and linen. Ideally go for the organic option, as no chemicals have been used to make these fabrics and water waste is therefore minimized too. Looking into faux leather, because you're not a big fan of animal cruelty? Great, we're neither, but most faux leathers are also made of plastic, and this will, in the end hurt our planet and animals anyway, so it's best to look out for brands that use plant based leather like Pinatex!
8. Cut plastic out of your beauty routine
I think we can all agree on the fact that a glass bottle of moisturizer looks a lot sexier in your bathroom than a plastic tube. But your beauty product itself can contain plastic too! Say what? Ever used a body scrub or exfoliated your face with those tiny little blue and white beads? They're plastic micro beads and are not as cute as they look. They end up in the ocean after you wash it off your face, so we highly recommend using an eco friendly alternative like this body polish.
9. Use biodegradable rubbish bags
Needles to say without using plastic, you're gonna experience a lot less waste in your household. But since not everyone is into composting food scraps (maybe you don't even have a garden, or just can't be bothered), we recommend looking into biodegradable rubbish bags. Bio Bag even has biodegradable dog waste bags!
We hope you feel encouraged to smash this plastic free July challenge! Did we miss any tips? Please let us know in the comments, and if you want to get some more information, sign up for the challenge or spread the word; you can visit the Plastic Free July website.