Plastic Free July Eco-Actions

It’s Plastic Free July, when people all over the world try to reduce their plastic waste for a month. If you’re up for the challenge of reducing your plastic waste for a whole month, we hope you will be motivated to carry on trying to use less single-use plastic every day of the year!

Here are our top tips to help you use less single-use plastic in your daily life:

Refuse – say no to single-use plastic. For example, choose loose fruit and veg over plastic-wrapped products and refuse unnecessary plastic bags and receipts in shops (a lot of receipts actually contain plastic).

Reuse – use what you have. There’s no need to rush and replace all plastic with alternatives; if you have a perfectly functional plastic lunch box for example, keep using it! Bread bags and cereal packet inserts can be used as freezer bags, and food trays are great as plant pot holders or seed trays. See our post Waste Free February for more inspiration!

Make your own – a great way to avoid single-use plastic packaging. Why not have a go at making products that usually come packaged in plastic? Biscuits, bread, yoghurt, even cleaning and beauty products are all easy enough to make at home. NB. We suggest you read Adventures in Yoghurt before embarking on this!

Visit your local refill shop – refilling your own containers when shopping for dried goods, cleaning products, toiletries and more can massively reduce the amount of single-use plastic you bring into your home. For more info see our post A Beginner’s Guide to Zero Waste Shops.

Educate yourself – learn more about the problem of plastic and get practical ideas for how to be part of the solution. Watch The Story of Plastic, read Lucy Siegle’s book, Turning the Tide on Plastic: How Humanity (And You) Can Make Our Globe Clean Again and check out our post There is No “Away”.

Beware of hidden plastics – plastic is everywhere: in our clothes, make up, wet wipes, period products, even in teabags! Choose natural fibres and products, reusable wipes and plastic free teabags or go for loose leaf tea from a refill shop.

Get wise to greenwashing – plenty of companies have jumped on the (green and fully electric!) bandwagon and see events like Plastic Free July as just another opportunity to make money. It is always better to use up what you have than to replace with another new product. Be aware of the difference between “need” and “want”, and resist the temptation to buy new stuff just because it claims to be eco-friendly!

Ditch the disposables – reusable versions of single-use disposable items like shopping bags, face masks, period products, wet wipes, and coffee cups and water bottles are all readily available, so try to make it a habit to carry your reusables with you when you go out and about! For more info see our posts Reusable Period Products and Reducing Waste Part 1.

Yes, some plastic is recyclable and recycling is part of the solution (check out our Recycling section for info on how to recycle things like toothpaste tubes and chocolate bar wrappers). However, recycling alone won’t stop the climate and nature crises. A huge amount of plastic still ends up either in landfill, being incinerated or polluting our environment and oceans. And it’s made out of fossil fuels. Whichever way you look at it, our world’s unsustainable plastic use is bad news for the climate and nature.

When you start to focus on reducing plastic waste, you’ll realise how ubiquitous plastic is – it’s almost everywhere and it’s sometimes unavoidable! It’s not easy (probably impossible) to live entirely plastic free, so don’t beat yourself up if you don’t have the time, money or energy to try to be plastic free all the time. The important thing is to make a start and make little changes that will become habits, not just for Plastic Free July but every day!

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