Your Guide To Plastic-Free July (And Beyond)

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WHAT IS PLASTIC-FREE JULY? Plastic-free July was started in 2011 by a local government team in Western Australia to show people how much single-use plastic we use. Since then, it has become one of the most influential environmental campaigns in the world! Every year since, it has persuaded millions of people right across the globe to commit to eliminating plastic from their lifestyle from as little as one day, one week, or the entire month of July.

How do you get involved?

You didn’t think you would just read about how we got on; oh no, sign up and take the challenge with us here. It really is an eye-opener. And remember, it is a challenge, not a cast-in-stone commitment. Why are we giving you a “get out of jail free card” on this challenge? Well, you will need to read on a bit more.

Plastic-Free July Challenge (and Beyond)

As you know, plastic is so convenient, quick and easy. Everything is either wrapped, stored or bottled in it because of its light weight and strength. And, as you know, there is just so much of the stuff that large portions can’t be recycled and are dumped in landfills, countryside, oceans, or shipped off to other countries. So by taking part in this challenge, you will help to save a massive amount of plastic from polluting your planet globally. And,
We hope you will not stop at July! Finding which plastic you can quickly ditch now, like single-use water bottles, you can swap over to a reusable water bottle. Or, clingfilm you wrap your sandwiches in, swap over to a reusable lunchbox, or try reusable beeswax wraps for your food, These can save you money and the planet long term.
By the end of this July’s campaign, you will happily continue your plastic-saving ways and look for additional ways to become Plastic-Free. You will then be ready for a flying start to next year’s Plastic-Free July challenge!
And, if you decide to go fully plastic-free for this July challenge, you really are a “Super Eco-Hero”.

Tips on giving plastic the elbow, and you may also find some cost savings in the process.

Fruit and Veg.
Steer clear of the plastic bag versions and buy loose. Supermarkets usually have a fair selection, but most will be in plastic to have the price barcode. Word of warning, some supermarkets provide paper bags to put your loose Fruit and Veg in; they are not that strong. So don’t pack them, or they may split, and you will be chasing apples/potatoes around the supermarket floor. You may find a better selection at your local store or farm shop. You could also save money by buying only what you will use, so there are no waste or travel costs to your supermarket.
Tip: Take your reusable plastic or sustainable tote bags for shopping.
Meat and Fish.
From experience, this seems plastic all the way, supermarket or not. Supermarkets have plastic trays and wrapping for meat cuts and fish on their shelves. If you go to a local butcher or fishmonger, they also tend to use plastic bags. But if you take plastic storage containers and ask them to put your meat/fish in them, we have had a positive response, perhaps with an odd look, but overall, the response has been good.
Tip: Chinese/Indian takeaway sealable containers are great for this.
Ditching disposables.
Single-use plastic has a massive impact on our planet and, in many cases, can easily be avoided, as we explained above regarding water bottles and plastic containers. You can buy spray glass/plastic bottles, which you can refill time and again by inserting a dissolvable sachet or emptying the sachet content in and adding water. These include floor/shower/toilet/kitchen cleaning products and hand/hair/body wash products. Not only would that save a lot of plastic bottles going into your bin, it could also save you some money.
Did you know it has been said that every disposable toothbrush thrown out still exists; what! They claim that 3.5 billion toothbrushes are bought annually, each taking 500 YEARS+ to decompose. And no, we did not do a count; we googled it. Wooden/Bamboo toothbrushes are the way to go, minus the bristles, as they are biodegradable and compostable once you have snapped off the bristle head.
Tip: Write on them and reuse them as plant tags, so you know what you have planted in your garden or seed trays.
And while you are in your bathroom cabinet having a rummage around. I bet you have found much more plastic to consider ditching. All of which can be replaced with non-plastic replacements. If your deodorant is plastic with a plastic roller, replace it with a lovely smelling natural deodorant stick in compostable cardboard. If your toothpaste is in a plastic tube, replace it with toothpaste in a glass bottle. Change your cotton wool buds with Bamboo and organic cotton buds. And replace your face cleaning pads with organic/sustainable ones you can wash in your washing machine and use time and again and store them in a glass jar.

Have an adorable furry family (dogs/cats), who want to join?

Most leads, collars, litter tray/poop bags, feeding bowls, etc., contain plastic. But there are excellent alternatives available. One is Hemp for strong but soft-to-wear collars, perhaps with some Cork fabric for that added touch of class. Totally natural and has NO plastic.
For litter trays. Why not use biodegradable liners or newspaper and wood pellets if you need a tray liner.
Your dog poop bags, are you using plastic nappy sacks? They take ages to break down and then leave micro bits of plastic in the soil. To help envisage the scale of the problem, we got our calculator out. From experience with our furry family, one dog poops twice a day, that’s 730 bags per year, lives ten years, that’s 7300 plastic poop bags. The UK has an estimated dog population of 10+ million! We will stop there, but you get the idea.
If you could use plant-based bags, they will eventually biodegrade, leaving no trace in a municipal landfill. If they go to an incineration plant, they disappear entirely and produce no toxic fumes in the process.
For feeding or water bowls. There are plenty of great, sturdy, long-lasting alternatives to plastic versions like Bamboo, ceramic and aluminium.

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Go for it, GO PLASTIC-FREE FOR JULY!

You feel like you can take on all that plastic-free July throws your way? Brilliant, be it one day, one week or the whole month, you chose your challenge, and you are still awesome.
Or, do you have a few little doubts about an all-in plastic-free July? Don’t; in a perfect world, every one of us would go 100% plastic-free. But perfect it is not, so make a start by ditching something plastic now. Have a good look at all the things you use that are plastic and list a few more you can easily swap for a non-plastic alternative and make more changes in the coming days. Every item of plastic you ditch, no matter how small it seems, counts. Don’t forget to celebrate every time you ditch plastic, (chocolate, a glass of wine, whatever) as a thank you for doing your part to make our planet a safer, more sustainable place to live!

 

Why not have a look at our Lifestyle Eco shop to help you on your way? We are constantly adding new natural, sustainable and environmentally friendly items you will love for all your family and furries.

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A Little More Help.

You know the saying “two’s company”, we really want you to come with us on this so we can help each other. Let us know how you are doing. Are you racing ahead, so we need to pull our socks up and catch up or perhaps you may require a little help and encouragement? Either way, let us know in the comments section below or on our Facebook or Instagram accounts, and we can help each other.
We have also added a useful little leaflet to help you pick some plastic ditching to start with and a short clip on the different practical ways females and males take the change (spoiler, I like the male’s solution to a non-disposable coffee cup), click here.