If you’re thinking about making the shift to a zero-waste lifestyle, then Plastic Free July gives you a great reason to start saying no to plastic pollution.
Every year since 2011, Plastic Free July has encouraged people to be part of the solution in reducing the use of single-use plastics in our everyday lives. So, whether you are taking the first steps in living a plastic-free life or someone who already avoids plastic as much as possible, there are plenty of sustainable ways to get involved.
We’re sharing our top tips on how to reduce plastic waste and support Plastic Free July – from making minor changes – or setting yourself a bigger plastic-free challenge that extends far beyond the month of July – we’ve got some inspirational tips to help you make the change.
Use a refillable bottle
It’s always wise to carry a bottle of water with you – especially in the summer heat – and in the UK we use a staggering thirty-five million single-use plastic bottles every day. Choose a refillable bottle to cut down on plastic waste – and download the Refill App – which tells you all the places you can top up with water for free.
Take your own container to the butcher
Most butchers will happily package your purchases in a Tupperware or container you’ve brought with you if you ask them. This saves on plastic packaging, and you can reuse the container again and again. Most deli stores or cold counters in the supermarket will also allow you to take your own sustainable packaging.
Check out these multi-use containers that are made from bioplastic derived from sugar cane for the eco-conscious shopper.
Switch to soap bars in the bathroom
Shower gels and hand-washing liquids are two of the biggest culprits when it comes to single-use plastic in the bathroom.
By swapping liquids and gels for soap bars, you’ll be cutting down on the amount of plastic you consume – and still smell sweet and fresh!
For handwashing, try this antibacterial and herbal soap from Lush, which will maintain your hygienic handwashing routine without any plastic packaging.
Say no to plastic cutlery and straws
The UK government is already taking steps to ban single-use plastic cutlery as it seeks to reduce the amount of plastic polluting our planet. According to ministers, the average person uses 37 single-use spoons, knives and forks every year – and the easiest way to reduce this figure is to purchase an eco-friendly reusable travel cutlery set.
This easy-to-clean set includes a stainless steel knife, fork, spoon, straws, a cleaning brush, and chopsticks – all packaged in a handy travel case.
Start shopping at refill stores
Zero-waste and refill stores are becoming more common across the UK, giving shoppers the option to use less plastic packaging in their weekly grocery shop.
Many independent refill shops are popping up on high streets, while the big supermarkets are starting to meet the growing demand for refillable produce. The Refill App will help you to find your nearest zero-waste store to get you started.
Use plastic free products for cleaning your home
Bleach, floor cleaners and sprays are all packaged in plastic. But it is often cheaper and more sustainable to make your own cleaning products that are just as effective as the shop-bought alternatives.
For a simple kitchen and bathroom cleaner, mix one-part vinegar to three-parts water, and store in a reusable spray bottle to keep your home sparkling.
Baking powder is another natural product that can replace cream cleaners when removing stubborn stains or grease.
Use a local milk delivery service
Milk delivery services are becoming increasingly popular again as people try to use less plastic. What could be better than fresh milk delivered to your doorstep in time for your morning cuppa?
Check out The Modern Milkman, which delivers farm-fresh milk, eggs, butter and juice in plastic-free packaging and returnable glass bottles – and they even collect the empties!
Avoid ‘plastic clothing’
So many modern materials contain plastic, such as synthetic fabric like polyester, acrylic, lycra, and nylon. Not only are these materials bad for the environment, but they are also uncomfortable to wear.
Avoid plastic clothing by purchasing garments made from natural cotton, hemp, or linen – they will last much longer than throwaway ‘fast fashion’ and stretch your clothing budget further in the long run. Take a look at the clothing collection at the Thought website, for fashion inspiration for the whole family that doesn’t cost the earth!
Buy plastic-free makeup
Lots of cosmetic brands use single-use plastic in their products – but there are alternatives that promote a better way to look beautiful!
Brands such as Glow Organic stock a range of makeup that’s packaged in either bamboo, glass, or aluminium – all of which can be recycled or refilled.
Explore beeswax-coated food packaging
Make the switch from cling film when wrapping your sandwiches and try a beeswax roll that will do the job just as well – without consuming plastic.
Beeswax food wraps are designed to be washed and reused and have a lifespan of up to 12 months – that’s a whole year’s worth of packed lunches that can be wrapped up, saving on multiple purchases of single use cling film or sandwich bags.
Find out more about Plastic Free July
Plastic Free July is an annual initiative created by the Plastic Free Foundation and has been designed to help with the move towards a world free of plastic waste. There are plenty of resources and details of fun community events on the Plastic Free July website, where you can also sign up for the Plastic Free challenge and join over 100 million participants worldwide.