What is Plastic Free July?
Plastic Free July is a movement that was created by Rebecca Prince-Ruiz in Australia. The first Plastic Free July was in 2011, but it became a non-profit foundation in 2017. As the name suggests, it is about reducing your consumption of plastic for a month, in the hopes that it will implement lasting habitats. If you think about how much plastic you use on a daily basis, giving that up for one month is going to be hard. In this post, I am sharing my top tips for having a successful Plastic-Free July.
Why is plastic bad?
Plastic has now been found in human bodies which is very scary to think about. Plastic harms every single thing on the planet, with its toxicity. Plastic pollution harms habitats and a lot of animals mistake it for food. While plastics are very bad for the environment, microplastics are even worse. Microplastics are plastics that have broken down into microscopic pieces that cannot be seen by the human eye.
The saddest thing is that litter has become something that you expect to see at beaches and in parks. We are no longer surprised, and it shouldn’t be this way. Litter isn’t meant to live in nature. It shouldn’t have been created, but since it has it belongs in the bin! If it can be reused or upcycled, recycle it.
Furthermore, plastic is made through the combustion of fossil fuels which is very bad for the planet because it releases greenhouse gases. Through the excessive consumption of plastics, the demand for extracting fossil fuels increases.
How to have a successful Plastic Free July
Don’t try everything at once
As with any new habit, don’t add lots of new things into your routine because you probably won’t be able to stick to it. When you first decide to try living with less plastic, it can be hard to not just give everything up or make lots of switches. But with more changes to your usual routine, you are less likely to stick to it. I have found that the best way is to start with one sustainable swap and build it up over time.
Set achievable targets
There’s no point in setting targets that you won’t be able to achieve. There’s no point going into Plastic Free July thinking that you are going to eliminate all plastic waste because it isn’t feasible. This results in wanting to give up altogether. To set doable goals, think about one or two habits you would like to change to make them sustainable. For example, I switched to Wild deodorant two years ago and I’ve never looked back.
Some more sustainable swap ideas:
- Cling film to beeswax wraps
- Plastic cutlery to metal
- Single-use make-up wipes to reusable rounds
- Bottled soap to a soap bar
Take part with friends & family
One way to be held accountable for our actions is by letting other people know. Maybe you could remind each other to bring your own bags to the supermarket so you don’t have to buy any. Or you could set a challenge together, like going to a refill shop or making your own lunch instead of buying a meal deal.
Be kind to yourself
Don’t be too harsh on yourself. Try not to feel guilty if you slip up, reducing your plastic consumption a bit is better than none! It can be hard to stick to a new habit, but even doing it only a few times helps shift your mindset to become more eco-friendly.
Be smart about your purchases
Being completely plastic-free is really hard to do, especially with the cost of living going up. Unfortunately, sustainability can’t always be the number 1 consideration. However, there are quite a few eco-friendly products that can save you money. A win-win situation!
I swapped plastic washing-up sponges for a compostable sponge that lasts for much longer. Then when you have finished using it, you can compost it so it breaks down naturally. As I mentioned before, reusable make-up remover rounds are another great swap. I bought a pack of 5 for roughly £5 and I’m still using them 3&½ years later. I will admit they aren’t quite as white as they used to be, but they still work perfectly. If you have an old T-shirt or some spare material, you could make your own. Upcycling at its finest.
Try not to get overwhelmed
I have found that when I really look around myself, there is just so much plastic around. It seems a bit silly to say that out loud, but it is a bit ridiculous how much plastic has been created. If you are starting out on your sustainable journey, you’ve got this! Doing something is always better than doing nothing.
I have shared a list of some easy eco-friendly swaps you could make for Plastic Free July.
Are you taking part in Plastic Free July?
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