What’s the deal, plastic free July?
I posted on my insta story a couple of days back that I’m doing ‘Plastic Free July’; a global movement encouraging people to try and avoid plastic throughout the month. The goal is to change habits and help people really notice how much single use plastic has infiltrated our lives. This ultimately this leads to reduced plastic waste globally.
I’ve been trying to reduce my plastic use a lot since I came back from Asia – and you know what, it’s really hard. As mentioned in last week’s blog, the programme “War on Plastic” on the BBC highlighted how difficult and expensive it is to shop for unwrapped fruit and veg in supermarkets, and also that our councils aren’t even being honest with us when they say they’re recycling. We were shown that wet wipes are made of plastic, McDonald’s happy meal toys are ending up in landfill (why am I not surprised) andthat we’re evenbreathing plastic particles in the air.
So many issues, but the main frustration is that there aren’t any real answers to all of this. We as consumers have to show large corporates that we want change, and governments need to be more supportive not destructive.
What I’ve noticed is tricky, is getting in and out of habits that can help manage plastic consumption. For example, always grabbing a refillable water bottle and a coffee cup before you go out. Getting into the habit of this can drastically reduce consumption from two massive parts of a modern consumer lifestyle (bottled water and coffee on the go). This is the perfect chance to buy yourself something nice AND make a difference.
Things you can switch
Here’s 10 little changes and purchases I’ve made or I’m currently making this month to help manage my single use plastic consumption. They’re probably ones you’ve heard about everywhere but knowing what to look for and getting into the habit is key to success and change:
- Water bottle – it’s reaaaally not that hard to take one out with you. Most places will refill it with tap water for you, and if they won’t you’re within your right to question why!
- Coffee cup – when in London I challenged myself to always have mine with me otherwise I wasn’t allowed to have a coffee on the go. This encouraged me to remember the cup, or forcedmeto take time to sit for coffee at a cafe instead. I’ve now got a really handy squashy cup that folds down for smaller storage in my bag.
- Bamboo cutlery – a more recent purchase of mine, which I’ve not had much chance to use as I always get lunch at work. Don’t pick up those plastic forks, keep your own in your bag.
- Bamboo toothbrush – did you know that every plastic toothbrush ever made still exists somewhere on the planet?! I’ll openly admit I’m still using my electric toothbrush which does have plastic heads. I haven’t run out of them yet and I do love that fresh feeling from it. However for travelling around I’ve invested in a bamboo brush, the bristles are still plastic (I think) but at least the handle won’t be around forever.
- Compostable make up wipes – picked up some Beauty Kitchen wipes up in Holland and Barratt for my travels. They’ll add value to your compost heap or just biodegrade in your waste.
- Mooncup – this week’s purchase is a Mooncup – a reusable sanitary cup. This has definitely grown in popularity over the past few years and I’m excited to give it a go. Save money (no period tax here) and the environment – win win.
- Shopping bags – I’ve been collecting any bags I have paid for, or receive, to use for my food shops. Bring them back and use them time and time again. Or why not just take a rucksack or a tote bag with you (the latter of course folds up pretty small).
- Greetings cards – I LOVE Paperchase cards but they always come in that annoying cellophone. I’ve got a lot of friends birthdays this month so I’m going to actively look for “naked” cards to send. They really don’t need a plastic jacket on do they?
- Shampoo / conditioner bars – gave the shampoo a go whilst I was away and didn’t have to buy anything in a bottle during my whole four months away. Looking to invest in conditioner now too! Find them in local sustainable shops, via websites like http://turtley-eco.com/ and of course, Lush.
- Shopping for fruit and veg locally – this is really hard as supermarkets have taken over food shopping and are PACKED with plastic. If possible, have a look into finding a local green grocer or looking for unpackaged goods at your local shop. Great to see Waitrose and Morrisons making changes here but it’s still not accessible to all. Keep trying everyone
Will you give it a go?
I could go on and on about single use plastic, but I think that’s enough for today. I’ll report back at the end of the month on how I did, where I slipped up and where I found any new items that are helpful in this eco-journey.
In the meantime I’d love to hear from anyone who is also taking on the Plastic Free July challenge, any tips you have or just that you’re giving it a go! Sign up here, and comment below to keep in touch. Good luck!