Can you go Plastic-Free for a month?
July is Plastic-Free Month! Yes, it’s something everyone should try to do year ’round. But making a special event of it helps us avoid problem fatigue (where we get so overwhelmed by the enormity of the problem that we just go watch reruns of Big Bang instead of taking action). A month is about the right amount of time. They say it takes 21 days to break an addiction. A month to learn new habits that I can use throughout the year. A month of actively seeking out plastic alternatives.
Observe my plastic addiction – discover where I use plastic in my life and ask myself if I can get what I want without the plastic. Is it possible to shop for the things I love without single-use plastic? The top four things to focus on in Plastic-free July are plastic shopping bags, straws, water bottles and coffee cups. And really, how hard is it to get a non-disposable mug for drinks? I also want to discover and support companies that are proactive in reducing plastic in our lives. Finally, I will try to find new ways to upcycle or repurpose any plastic that I cannot do without.
Alternatives to the Top Four Plastic Items to Avoid
Instead of plastic shopping bags, shop at stores that offer paper bags, or bring your own reusable bags. You can make them super cheap from old t-shirts, and all you need is scissors! This great tutorial from WhatsUpMoms shows you how!
Giving up straws, water bottles, and coffee cups is one of the simplest and most impactful things we can do to reduce our plastic consumption. All you need is an insulated stainless steel bottle or two, and you’re all set. These will keep your water cold, or you coffee hot, and you will cut way back on the amount of plastic you use!
If you really want a straw, you can get even get a water bottle with a built in straw! Your options are endless, and eco-friendly!
Even More Ways to Avoid Plastics
If you’d like to stretch past the “Top Four” in your plastic-free effort, here’s a few more items to consider:
- Shampoo Bars, instead of shampoo in bottles. We use OBIA and love it!
- Dropps Laundry Soap – these pods come in a cardboard box & can be set up on a subscription so you never run out of laundry soap! Dropps was awarded the 2017 EPA Safer Choice Partner of the Year. They work, and they are amazingly eco-friendly. You should try them. Really!
- Got an instant pot? Make your own yogurt & skip the plastic containers. Or buy raw milk, and you can make your own butter & cheese, too! You can find raw milk sellers at https://www.realmilk.com/real-milk-finder/ or by checking with a local food cooperative.
- Shop for fresh vegetables instead of frozen & carry them in reusable produce bags.
- Puchase spices in bulk and use cotton bags to carry and store them.
- Buy toilet paper and paper towels in bulk packaging that doesn’t use plastic. Folding paper towels are not usually packaged in plastic and you can get a folded paper towel holder on Amazon or at local retailers.
- Use Stainless Steel Food Storage Containers instead of plastic containers. The upside is that you will save a ton of money, too because these last a really long time!
While I try to buy local anytime I can to reduce fossil fuel use, I get a lot of these products from Amazon. When you consider that EVERY piece of plastic ever made is still hanging around, it’s worth the fossil fuel expenditure to avoid the plastics.
So, can you do it? Can you accept the Plastic Free Challenge?