10 easy ways to participate in Plastic Free July
Okay, going plastic free seems intimidating. It was to me, when I first saw the #PlasticFreeJuly hashtag last year. I mean, eliminating all plastic? Once you realize just how much plastic there is on everything you use, it’s hard to imagine going without it.
I’ll be the first to tell you that no one is perfect. I bought a pack of gum today which was wrapped in plastic – and didn’t even think about it until I was unwrapping it at my desk at work. We do our best, but there are always things which fall through, and that’s ok! It’s not about doing it perfectly – it’s about making small changes.
So that’s why I’m putting together these 10 easy ways to participate in #PlasticFreeJuly ! Who knows – maybe these small changes will become habits!
1. Choose produce without plastic
Not everyone has an easily accessible bulk store nearby, but you CAN choose produce that’s not wrapped in plastic. There are plenty of fruits & veggies with less plastic, and if you actively choose those ones, it’s an easier and more gradual way to get used to plastic-free life. Even better? Don’t use the plastic bags for your fruit and veggies. Pop ’em right in the basket or cart, and give them a nice wash when you’re home. No need to spend money on fancy produce bags.
2. Choose glass jars
Have to buy peanut butter or something else in a jar? Choose glass! They’re awesome to re-use for other veggies or cooking ingredients or snacks once you’re finished with them. I just take mine into Bulk Barn and get them to weigh the containers before I fill up. They’re giving a 20% discount for anyone who uses reusable containers in July! If you don’t want to tote around a bunch of glass, fill up with a small bag and pour into the jar when you’re home.
3. Grab utensils from your drawer & throw ’em in your bag
Again, no need to spend money! You’ve got utensils, just bring ’em with you! I also have a scrap rag with them, so I can wipe them clean afterwards if I’m not near a kitchen. I used my old paintbrush holder as a wrap, so this cost a total of $0!
4. Try bulk snacks, or baking
Snacks can be SO over-packaged – so why not try something new? If you like cookies, see if you can find a quick & easy recipe that hits your craving. My holy grail of recipes is this oatmeal chocolate chip cookie, which I just use regular flour for, and add hemp hearts, coconut flakes, and chia seeds to. Yum! If you’re not into baking, filling some fabric bags or old jars with snacks like nuts or pretzels from Bulk Barn is another great solution!
5. Beeswax wrap
This was intimidating to think about at first. Would it really work? Would I run out? Would it last? Well, I’m happy to tell you mine has lasted a year so far, and it works even BETTER than regular plastic wrap. My bread, and a sliced apple, stayed fresh in the fridge wrapped in this stuff for weeks! If you’re unsure, get a combo pack to try – it’s honestly the best change I’ve made.
6. Re-use your old plastic containers, jars, and bags
Yup, you heard right. It’s OKAY to use plastic still. Giving it a longer life is the best thing to do! So if you’re struggling to figure out how to tote your snacks around? Pop ’em in an old re-used cream cheese container! If you need to freeze some veggies? Re-use that plastic bag! The longer they can be kept out of landfill, the better!
7. Use a bamboo toothbrush
Most health food or natural markets have these now, and they’re just as good as the regular thing! My dentist couldn’t tell that I was brushing and flossing with biodegradable gear. You can either get fully compostable brushes, or compostable brushes with synthetic bristles. The latter lasts longer, and you simply snap off the head and throw it out before composting the brush handle.
8. If you use tampons, try cardboard applicators or period underwear
Not everyone is totally ready to try a menstrual cup (I get it, it’s a big step! I failed miserably my first 3 cycles…) So if you’re not ready yet, try making the switch gradually by choosing tampons with cardboard applicators, or no applicator! There’s also period underwear, which eliminates the need for pantiliners.
My pick for all-natural tampons & pads: NatraCare > find them at Well.ca
My pick for menstrual cups: Saalt > find them here!
Take the quiz here > at putacupinit to see which cup is right for you!
My pick for period-proof underwear: knixwear > shop here!
9. Use a to-go drink cup
As soon as I allowed myself to carry a slightly larger bag to work every day, I was able to always keep a to-go cup on me. And I tell ya – there’s no better feeling than drinking from your own mug! I used to think carrying it would be annoying, but with the right bag, I don’t even notice it’s there.
At first, I used a 16oz mason jar (an old candle jar!) with straw attachment, but needed something that could work for both hot and cold drinks. I hate the taste of metal, so I splurged on a glass and silicone to-go mug by Joco, which was designed with baristas and ergonomics in mind. I’ve never had a more perfect cup – it is just a freaking pleasure to use, and so light!
10. Do one thing at a time
Okay, so it’s not a 10th thing you can do to reduce plastic, but it’s a tip on how to make it really last. It’s so hard to make an entire life switch – and impossible to do in one month. So pick what’s easiest to start with, and try that first! Once you’re used to it, try the next thing! That’ll be a sure-fire way to make your sustainability choices, well… more sustainable.
Want some more tips on going low-waste?
- Read about going zero waste in the kitchen here!
- Check out my “0 waste tips” Instagram story highlight here!
Happy #PlasticFreeJuly !