12 Ways To Still Do Plastic Free July
It always comes round really quickly. Plastic Free July is back. This year you can pledge to avoid all single use packaging for a day, week or a month, just avoid the Big Four (Bag, bottle, cup and straw) or go completely plastic free.
Over 250 million people have taken part in plastic free pledges over the last few years during Plastic Free July. The month long plastic free challenge started in Australia back in 2011 but now stretches to millions of participants in over 200 countries.
There’s plenty of help and advice whether you’re a plastic free beginner, or if you’re an old hand needing some new inspiration.
Recognising that going plastic free isn’t as simple as it was last year, and with restrictions around reusable cups and bottles and so on in place for many of us, we’ve come up with 12 ways you can STILL go plastic free to some extent at home, from simple swaps to campaigns you can take part in.
Our mission of #EverydayActivism is about celebrating what you can do at home - rather than giving up on a global issue that feels overwhelming.
Let us know in the comments below how you’re doing Plastic Free July and how many of our suggestions you’re doing!
12 Ways To Still Do Plastic Free July
1. Get rid of the plastic in your period
According to City To Sea, around 2.5 million tampons, 1.4 million pads and 700,000 panty liners are flushed every single day here in the UK!
This is a single use plastic issue you can tackle every month at home. There are a huge number of plastic free (and organic) tampon brands like TOTM or use Plastic Free July to give you the push to try reusable periodwear like Wuka or invest in a menstrual cup, which are made of silicone.
It’s thought that a menstrual cup is estimated to create 0.4% of the plastic waste compared to tampons and pads over a span of 10 years.
2. Don't send flowers wrapped in plastic
This year has been tough for everyone and sometimes you want to surprise loved ones with something to make them smile. It doesn’t mean you have to accept single use plastic.
Arena Flowers have been awarded the title of ‘UK's most ethical florist’ for the past six years. They removed all single-use plastics from their products back in 2017, plant a tree every time they receive an order and consequently have become a 100% carbon-neutral workforce. Arena Flowers' packaging is made from their growers’ waste making it organic, recyclable and compostable, meaning they are the world's first closed-loop waste system for flowers.
They offer a range of fresh, seasonal, ethically sourced and utterly stunning hand-tied bouquets, plants and subscription flowers and have kindly given us a 25% off code – just use code PEBBLE25 at checkout.
3. Stop buying single use handwash
Sick of slimy soap? Milly & Sissy have put their hands up to help make our handwashing routine more eco-friendly. This plastic free brand reduce the need to transport water to make handwash by sending out dried powder in compostable pouches and a gorgeous reusable amber glass bottle for you to mix up your own scented handwash at home. Their ingredients are 99% natural and they only work with ethical suppliers.
Anything with a plastic pump is difficult to recycle so will either end up being burnt or sent to landfill, so reuse them if you have one already and just buy the sachets or ensure you’re investing in a reusable option.
4. Swap to solid, plastic free shampoo
Did you know that over her lifetime the average woman will use between 420 – 500 plastic bottles of shampoo and conditioner?
Who wants to be average … we don’t and we’re sure you don’t either.
The discovery that shampoo is 80% water led KIND2 founder Sue Campbell to leave her corporate career and create a range of high performing, plastic free, solid shampoo and conditioner bars that perform as well as regular shampoo.
Made in the UK and packaged in a compostable cardboard box, all of KIND2’s unisex products are vegan and free from plastic, soap, sulphates, silicones and parabens. Each shampoo bar or conditioner bar lasts as long as 2 – 3 bottles.
5. Take Marine Conservation Society's #plasticchallenge
The Marine Conservation Society have unveiled their four week #plasticchallenge and this year, you can set your own challenge at home. Think of a way you can tackle what single use plastic you use and pledge to reduce or eliminate it over July.
Some pledges could be:
- Pledge to avoid buying pre-bagged fruit and vegetables
- Swap disposable plastic razors for reusable metal
- Take water out with you in a reusable bottle
- Make your own cleaning products and re-use old bottles
Getting involved and started couldn’t be easier. Pledge to set yourself a Plastic Challenge, share your #plasticchallenge on social media and receive helpful hints, tips, guidance and inspiration from experts with weekly emails from the charity to help keep your Challenge going throughout July.
6. Say no to single use sachets
As if you needed another reason to love Rubies In The Rubble, who make delicious condiments from surplus fruit and veg, they’ve launched the #ImNoTosser campaign.
Did you know 11 BILLION single use condiment sachets are manufactured every year? Madness isn’t it?
In order to stop you needing sachets, Rubies In The Rubble will send you a free bottle of ketchup to keep you all stocked up.
Just take a picture of your meal that needs their ketchup-y help, tag it with @rubiesintherubble and #ImNoTosser and they’ll send you a glass bottle. No plastic needed.
7. Look at your shopping habits
The lockdown has meant for many of us, our shopping habits have changed. Single use plastic is harder to avoid in some areas but there are some changes that could lighten your plastic load, even after the lockdown has lifted. Jo Hand, from Giki, suggests “Try a switch to glass bottles for your milk, this means no more waste from plastic milk cartons, and if you have a local milkman, it comes straight to your door.”
Are there local shops you can use for fruit and veg or local produce?
Can you join a veg box scheme to reduce the amount of plastic coated veg from the supermarket?
Even if you’re supporting a nearby bar who are selling local craft beer or wine, that’s going to reduce plastic in the supply chain and air miles.
8. Think about you plastic free style
It’s not just the obvious plastic bottle swaps that we need to look at. It’s eliminating it across industries where we don’t even think about it.
If you’re looking for new jewellery, Seekd’s platform has a whole range of designers working with upcycled materials or ethically sourced metals, so you can feel good about the jewellery you’re wearing. We particularly like DOA, who use reclaimed metal and glass and are based in London.
9. Get a handle on just how much plastic you use at home
Join one of the excellent Everyday Plastic surveys and go on a four week assessment and course where you work just how much plastic you throw away in one week, what it is and how to change it.
It’s not shameful or finger pointing, it’s empowering to know where your weak spots are (biscuits) and how you can mitigate these to use less plastic (bake rather than buy more biscuits). Click the link below to find out what happened when I took the survey back in May.
10. Have a plastic free picnic
From single use plastic hummus pots or sandwich wrappers to the endless plastic bottles of soft drink, an impromptu picnic can cause havoc on the plastic waste front. But it doesn't have to be this way. With a bit of planning and investing in some reusable options like pasta straws, beeswax wraps and resusable cups, you can make sure your perfect picnic isn't adding to the plastic problem.
11. Put the kettle on for a plastic free cuppa
Tea. The UK is fuelled on the stuff, especially this year, but not all tea is the same and it's not all plastic free either. Sadly plastic is used to glue teabags together and also in the individual sachets many herbal teas come in.
12. When you do travel, don't resort to single use plastic
Going plastic free at home is hard but do-able, travelling and being plastic free can be more challenging. But it doesn't have to be.
With a bit of planning, especially if you're not flying. Taking your own (plastic free) toiletries or reusing old bottles, packing the reusable water bottle and cup (even if you only use them while camping or glamping), making sure you've got endless tote bags, beeswax wraps, silicone ziplock bags and other essentials and you'll be set for a plastic free holiday. Remember to pack lots of snacks so you don't have to buy convienence food covered in plastic and your eco halo will be shining.
What do you think? What other plastic free tips or swaps are you undertaking this month? Share what's working for you in the comments below!